Question: Is the coverage or claim different if I hit the deer with my car or the deer hit my car, as in running into the side of the car and denting a door and breaking glass? I’m trying to decide what to tell my insurer about how my collision with a deer happened.
Answer: It doesn’t matter to auto insurers if a deer runs into your vehicle or you hit the deer with your car.
In general, a claim for a deer strike is not considered an at-fault accident. If you file against your comprehensive coverage, not your collision policy, your rates should be unaffected. (See “You hit a deer – will insurance cover it?”)
You’re not alone in hitting a deer; insurers are familiar with deer claims and even keep track of how many claims they get in each state. (See “Worst states for deer collision.”) So, the insurance adjusters know what to ask and how to get your comprehensive claim promptly processed.
Don’t make a simple claim into a difficult situation by give erroneous information about how the accident happened. Tell your car insurance company the truth about how the accident with the deer occurred --without embellishing facts or giving inaccurate information that could raise red flags and make the claim take longer to settle.
Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle when you hit an animal of any type -- deer, dog or bird. You would use collision coverage instead if you swerved to miss the deer and hit something else – such as a tree or another vehicle. (See “Save your insurance: Aim for the squirrel.”)
Your comprehensive deductible will be due, even in an incident like this where you’re not held at fault. If your car’s damages cost less to repair than your deductible, then there is no reason to make a claim since your auto insurance benefits only start up after your deductible amount has been met.
If you have rental reimbursement coverage, then you can claim through that to get a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. If not, then you’ll have to rent a vehicle on your own dime until your car is fixed since comprehensive coverage doesn’t pay for you to have a rental car.
Comprehensive claims don’t usually affect your future car insurance rates; however, if it’s not the only claim you’ve made lately, or your insurer does rate you on this one accident, then it might.
If your rates doe rise, simply shop around for cheaper car insurance coverage since not all auto insurance companies rate the same. Comparison shopping will allow you to find the insurer that offers you the best rates for your particular set of rating factors.