You’re driving home in the dark on a cool fall night. The wind howls gently. Leaves drift across the road and cut through the glimmer of your headlights. As you make a bend in the road something catches your eye.
Suddenly, a streak of brown and grey leaps directly in front of your vehicle. You slam on the brakes…but you can’t stop in time. Your heart is pounding from adrenaline and shock before you’ve even realized what has happened.
You’ve just hit a deer.
Do you know what to do next?
If you’re unsure – here’s a good course of action:
Safety First – If your vehicle isn’t too damaged to operate, put on your hazard lights and pull over to a safe spot nearby. Avoid getting too close to the animal. If the deer is still alive it is likely in fight-or-flight mode and willing to protect itself against any perceived threat.
Get Help - Do not leave the scene, especially if anyone is injured or there is significant damage done to your vehicle. Call the police and report your accident, they will come to help you sort things out by filling out an accident report - which could be beneficial to you should you choose to file a comprehensive claim. Even if your insurance company doesn’t require an accident report for hitting a deer, some states require a police report if there is an injury or damage above a certain amount.
Then Think About Insurance – Document the damage by taking photos of your vehicle and the rest of the scene. Do this safely, be careful near the road. You should also contact your independent insurance agent and report your accident. Your agent will help you if you decide you’d like to file a claim. If they are unavailable (for instance if the office is closed), your agent may provide 24-hr claims services through their carriers like we do here at Sidle Insurance, or you can submit a claim on our website.
Note that deer claim falls under comprehensive coverage – not collision coverage. You must have comprehensive in order to be covered and receive compensation. If you are uncertain of the difference between “comp” and collision coverages, check out our blog post, The Beginner’s Guide To Car Insurance Coverages.