Hitting a deer while driving is startling and nerve-racking. After all, hitting a deer often results in a lot of damage, including expensive repairs to your vehicle. But the most unsettling part of the situation is if you realize your insurance doesn’t cover it all.
At Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, damage to your vehicle resulting from hitting a deer is covered by your auto insurance policy’s other-than-collision—or comprehensive—coverage. An insurance company is there to give you financial protection, but also provide insurance in case something unexpected happens in your life. Hitting a deer is not something anyone wants to do, but in Indiana it often happens. So, before an incident occurs, it is your responsibility to be proactive and ensure you have the appropriate coverage in place.
Learn more about the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage below.
Am I covered under collision or comprehensive coverage?
It is important to understand the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage when it comes to car insurance. Collision insurance coverage is helpful if you hit another car or a standing object such as a telephone pole or road sign. Comprehensive insurance coverage is helpful if an animal or non-stationary object, such as a falling pole or tree branch, hits your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage can also be of assistance if your vehicle is damaged by vandalism, fire or a natural disaster.
So, to answer the question, "If I were to hit a deer, would I be covered under collision or comprehensive coverage?” The answer is comprehensive coverage. The best way to know if your insurance covers a specific type of accident is by contacting your local insurance agent. They can explain what your insurance coverages entail and all that it protects, but also what other kinds of coverage you can add to help protect you and your insurance needs.
Indiana deer accident stats
According to the Indiana State Police, Indiana residents experience several thousands of dollars in damages from car accidents related to deer every year. What happens most of the time is that drivers swerve and lose control of their vehicle to avoid hitting a deer in the roadway. This can result in a severe accident for the driver by either hitting another vehicle or an object on or off the road.
In.gov shares these helpful tips for preventing hitting a deer while driving:
As hard as it may be, try not to panic if a deer runs in front of your vehicle. Sometimes it is safer for you to hit the deer rather than swerve and hit another vehicle or object on or off the road.
If you see a single deer while driving, be alert and pay attention because there may be more deer close by.
If you do hit a deer while driving and it looks injured, don’t touch the deer. Instead, remain in your vehicle and make sure you and your passengers are safe. Then, call the police and report the incident.
Common scenarios that can cause deer accidents
Indiana is known for its vast cornfields and country roads, and don’t forget its immense deer population. Even if you live in an urban area, there are still chances that you may see a deer while driving on the bypass or highway. That’s why it is important to stay alert while driving no matter where you are or what time of day it may be.
Deer are unpredictable. They don’t have the “look both ways before crossing the street” mentality that humans were taught. They will run, walk or leap across the road at any given time of the day. This is why it’s important to always be prepared if the unexpected were to happen.
Here are a few common scenarios that can cause deer accidents:
Hunting season – According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the 2022-2023 deer hunting seasons are spread out. Reduction Zone, which is currently open, started on Sept. 15, 2022, and runs to Jan. 31, 2023. The Youth Season was from Sept. 24-25, 2022. Archery is currently taking place and is from Oct. 1, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2022. Firearm season takes place from Nov. 12-27, 2022, and muzzleloader season is from Dec. 3-18, 2022.
Nighttime means it is all clear, right? – Wrong! When you are cruising down a road, bypass or highway at night you would hope that deer may be less active. Instead, nighttime can be a prime time that deer cross the road. When driving at night make sure to be on alert for deer crossing signs, but also use your high beam headlights for the best visibility while driving on the road.
Cornfields upon cornfields – Another deer crossing opportunity is by cornfields. Deer love spending time in fields snacking on the crop and may venture a path across the roadway. Since you cannot see into the rows of corn, it is difficult to anticipate a visitor onto the road. If you find yourself traveling near a cornfield make sure to drive within the speed limit and don’t be surprised when you see a deer nearby.
5 things to keep in mind if you hit a deer
Whether it is your first time hitting a deer or your fifth, the next few moments can be filled with alarm and uncertainty. That’s why it is important to know what to do next. Here are five things to keep in mind if you hit a deer.
Put your hazard lights on, keep your distance from the deer and wait inside your vehicle.
Call the police and report the incident.
When the police arrive, document the damage by taking photos.
Once everything is reported and documented, check if your vehicle is drivable, if it is not call a towing service, family member or friend to pick you up.
The last thing you need to do is report your claim on your online account to get the claims process started as soon as possible.
After you’re home and you have had time to settle down, the next step will be to file a claim with your insurance company. When you file a claim, you will want to have your policy number, date, location and description of the accident, year, make and model of vehicle involved, description of any injuries and the responding police department and accident report information on hand.
Worried about hitting a deer and not having the right coverage? Time to get insured!
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance has an office in every county of Indiana. We know a little something about Indiana and its large deer population. If you don’t think you have the right coverage or sufficient coverage, call an agent today to get the process started on upgrading your current insurance policy
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it illegal to hit a deer and drive away?
It may not be illegal to hit a deer and then drive off, but reporting the incident is the right thing to do. However, if any person was injured during the accident, then you are legally mandated to report the incident to law enforcement.
Will my insurance premium go up if I had a deer accident?
At Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, if your car is damaged by a deer strike, your premium will not go up as a result. If you have additional questions about premium changes speak with a local insurance agent and they can walk you through those changes.
Indiana is a state full of so many wonderful things, including deer. But sometimes deer, no matter how cute you think they are, can cause chaos when they run across the road as you are driving. Although we hope that you never have to deal with the aftermath of hitting a deer while driving, it is still important to be informed with the knowledge of what you need to do if this event occurs.
For more deer safety tips check out this article to learn more.