Does car insurance cover hitting a deer?
Last updated: July 2023
Comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy typically covers deer accidents. Comprehensive coverage may help pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it's damaged when you hit a deer.
Your vehicle must make physical contact with the deer for the crash to be covered under the comprehensive insurance on your policy. Swerving to miss a deer and crashing into oncoming traffic is considered a collision claim.
Drivers who carry their state's minimum required coverages likely will not be covered for a deer accident. Most states require drivers to carry liability coverage, but comprehensive coverage is not required by any state laws.
Comprehensive coverage Vs. Collision coverage
So, why does comprehensive coverage — not collision coverage — typically apply when your vehicle collides with a deer?
Hitting a tree or another car is different than the random and unpredictable act of a deer dashing across a highway or rural road. And comprehensive coverage helps cover damage to your car from random, unpredictable incidents, such as theft, fire and vandalism — or hitting a deer.
Collision coverage, on the other hand, helps pay to repair your vehicle if you hit another car or object (such as a fence or tree).
Either way, it's important to know that both coverages typically have deductibles and limits.
Do you have to pay a deductible if you hit a deer?
In most cases, you will have to pay a deductible if you file a car insurance claim after hitting a deer with your car.
When you purchase comprehensive or collision coverage, you choose a set deductible. A deductible is the amount you'll pay out of pocket toward a covered claim.
For example, say your car is damaged after hitting a deer. It will cost $2,000 to repair your vehicle. If your comprehensive coverage has a deductible of $500, you'd pay $500 toward your vehicle's repairs, and your insurer would reimburse you for the remaining $1,500.
On the other hand, say your car is totaled after you hit a deer. Your comprehensive coverage's limit would dictate the maximum amount your policy would pay out to help you replace your vehicle.
Will my rates go up if I'm in a car accident with a deer?
If you file a comprehensive claim after hitting a deer, that claim will go on your insurance record. Claim frequency may affect your auto insurance rates, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Risky times for deer crashes
From October through December, drivers' chances of hitting a deer increase, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). In fact, the organization says more deer crashes occur in November because it's the peak of mating season. Additionally, use extra caution if you're driving at dusk or dawn, as the III says these are the highest-risk times for deer crashes.