These are the most common questions from readers about deer-vehicle collisions and their car insurance policies.
I hit a deer. Am I covered?
To be covered for a run-in with a deer, you need comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy. Although the accident with the deer wasn’t your fault, you still will have to pay your comprehensive deductible amount. Your mandated state car insurance does not include comprehensive coverage.
You might think a deer strike would be covered by collision since this coverage normally covers when your car hits another vehicle or object. However, contact with animals (wild or domestic) is specifically listed as a loss covered by “other than collision,” which means comprehensive coverage applies.
If you have only liability coverage, your insurer won’t pay for damages from hitting a deer. Liability insurance covers the damage you do to others and not your vehicle.
I swerved to miss a deer. Am I covered?
When you hit a deer, your claim is filed under comprehensive insurance. But if you swerve to miss a deer and crash, it is a collision claim.
Although a deer may have started the chain of events that led you to crash the car, it isn’t a comprehensive claim if your vehicle didn’t contact the animal. If you hit another car or an object (such as a guardrail or tree) or roll your vehicle, the damage claim falls under your collision coverage.
Will the state pay for the damage or my deductible?
No. No states will pay for repairs to your vehicle or your deductible if you hit a deer. Yes, your state may have an agency to manage the deer population, but it can’t prevent deer from running into the roadway — especially during mating and migration season.
Do I need to file a police report?
In general, car insurance companies don’t require you to fill out a police report to file a comprehensive claim for hitting a deer, but it’s advisable to contact authorities.
Having a police report to back up your claim will help file this claim under your comprehensive coverage. If the claims adjuster can’t validate your claim that you hit a deer, the claim may end up under your collision coverage instead.
Even if your insurance provider doesn’t require a police report, your state may require a police or crash report for accidents with any injury or property damage above a certain amount.
Will my insurance go up?
Comprehensive claims like one for hitting a deer don’t typically increase your car insurance rates. However, with many companies, your rates can go up if you file a certain number of claims within a specified period. So, if you already have had a few auto insurance claims with your car insurance company in the past few years, then this one could push your premiums higher due to the total amount of claims.
What are the odds of hitting a deer?
It depends on where you live. According to a 2022 State Farm study on the odds of hitting a deer, your odds are 1 in 109 in the United States.
State Farm estimates more than 2 million animal collision insurance claims were filed in the U.S. between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
State Farm Simple Insights. “How likely are you to have an animal collision?” Accessed January 2023.
— Penny Gusner contributed to this story.