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Does car insurance cover hitting a deer?

Learn how Root can help you get the protection you need to cover deer damage to your car.

What should you do if you hit a deer?

If you ever find yourself in this situation, making sure you and your passengers are safe should be the number one priority. 

If the vehicle is still safe to drive, carefully move it to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Hazards make other drivers aware of your situation and will help avoid causing another auto incident while you wait for help. 

If the car is not driveable and you are unable to move it from the road any other way, turn on your hazards and call Roadside Assistance. For Root customers, we offer this as a perk with every policy.

Once it’s safe to do so, you should call 911. Especially if the deer is in a location where it could put other drivers at risk. Inform the authorities that you have hit a deer and it could be a danger to other people.

When the police arrive, they will likely have you fill out a report, depending on how severe the damages and or injuries are. Having a police report on file will also be useful if you decide to file a claim with your insurance company.

Before calling your insurance company (if you choose to do so), document the scene of the accident. Take pictures of any damage done to your car, injuries suffered by you or your passengers, and also your general surroundings to be thorough. This will all be helpful information to include in your claim.

Does hitting a deer count as an accident?

Yes, car insurance companies classify hitting a deer as an accident due to the impact. An auto accident is any situation where a vehicle collides with a person, animal, another car, or an object. 

When it comes to deer damage, having Liability insurance alone won’t help. You’ll need Comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive helps pay for damage that results from anything outside of an incident with another vehicle such as car theft or flood damage.

If you swerve to avoid hitting a deer and end up colliding with another vehicle or object, Comprehensive will not cover that. In this case, you would need Collision coverage. Collision protects you when you’re in an accident with another car, or hit an object like a tree or pole. It also covers single-car accidents (just you). 

Root customers who don’t have Comprehensive or Collision can easily add them to their policy anytime via our mobile app.

Is hitting a deer an at-fault accident?

Deer are very unpredictable. In extreme cases, they can even total your car. Deer run out into the road so quickly that it can be difficult to get out of the way in time without endangering yourself and the other drivers around you. 

Because a situation like this is so far out of the driver’s control, car insurance companies generally don’t consider hitting a deer to be an at-fault accident. They would label it as an “unavoidable accident.”

Do you have to pay a deductible if you hit a deer?

If you want to file a claim for the damage, you will typically have to pay a deductible. When adding Comprehensive and Collision coverages to your policy, you have to set a deductible limit. This is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket for your claim before your insurance kicks in to help. 

Let’s say you hit a deer and the damage is going to cost $1,500 to repair. If you have a $1,000 deductible, you would have to pay that before your insurance covered the remaining $500. 

If your car was totalled, your insurance company would pay out the market value of your vehicle after you pay your deductible. Based on a $1,000 deductible, and the market value of your car being $2,500, you would receive $1,500 for your totalled vehicle.  

Accidents can be stressful, so Root makes filing a claim easy. In fact, it only takes our customers about three minutes. Everything can be done through our convenient mobile app.

Does hitting a deer raise your insurance?

Hitting a deer generally doesn’t cause your car insurance rate to increase. Rates typically go up in the event of “chargeable accidents.” A chargeable accident is one where the driver is 50% at fault or higher. It also has to involve damage to someone’s property (such as their car or fence), bodily injury, or death.

A deer accident also won’t go on your driving record. The only way the accident would go on your record is if another driver’s vehicle or personal property was damaged in the process. However, the incident will be added to your claims history. 

Comprehensive claims don’t drastically impact your rate because they are not the result of at-fault accidents. But it’s important to keep in mind that an excessive amount of claims can affect insurance, which could cause your rate to increase. 

Worried about deer damage? 

Don’t stress. Switch to Root—we’ll make sure you’ve got the protection you need. Get a quote today

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