Thursday, November 25, 2010

Watch Out For That DEER! If I Hit One, Is It Covered?

Well, it's here. Deer Season. Opening Day for Bow Season was October 1st here in Michigan. With Deer season comes a lot of Deer/Vehicle Accidents. During my time working in the insurance industry I was surprised at how many people didn't know that this was covered under Comprehensive Coverage on your insurance policy.

What is Comprehensive Coverage?

Comprehensive coverage also called "Comp" gives you coverage for some specific things. Some companies will call it "Other than Collision" on your policy too. This type of coverage gives you coverage for things like the following:

  • Fire
  • Theft or Vandalism
  • Glass (like stone chips or cracks in your windshield)
  • Animal Collision (like hitting a deer or other animal)
  • Acts of God (Like hail damage or a tree fallen on your vehicle)

Do I Need A Police Report To File A Claim?

At the company that I worked for the answer to this question was No. You did not need a Police Report, but you should always try to get one. It just proves your claim. Police Reports are Free and it just helps to validate your claim. You do not need to have one to file the claim, but I would recommend you get one anytime there is an accident involving your vehicle or damage done to your car. If the damage was caused by an Act of God like hail damage or storm damage then obviously a police report is not needed. A Police Report also helps the claim to go faster and smoother. A police report is usually time stamped and lists all parties involved if know. Just an all around good thing to have, even if you just hit a deer.

What Do I Need To Do If I Hit A Deer?

First off you should call the police. If it happens in the early morning then just call 911, they will usually send someone out to you. This way you can get a police report done and out of the way. You do not need to get a copy of the police report to file the claim. The Insurance will get this for you. Usually you do not get a copy of it, but if you want one the agent or adjuster can get one for you.

Second, you should call your insurance company. Most of them have 24hr claims service now. Even, if your not sure if you want to enter a claim yet, you should still call them to at least report the incident. Some people might not want to enter the claim right away because of their deductible amount. If you have a $500 or $1,000 deductible, the amount of damage could be less than the deductible thus, you would not want to enter a claim on your policy.

Third, if you think your going to enter a claim, you will want to get an estimate of the damage done. Again, most insurance companies have programs to help you with this. Service First Programs or other things in place where you can go to a specific repair facility that works with the insurance company. At the company I worked for it was a Service First Provider Program. They electronically sent all the pictures, and estimate to the insurance company for you. It speeds up the process and takes you out of doing the extra work.

If I Enter A Claim, Will My Rates Go Up?

Anytime that you enter a claim on your policy you run the risk of your premium increasing. Typically with a "Comp" or Comprehensive Claim, they do not effect your policy as much as a collision claim. You might see an increase but usually it takes more than one to see an increase when it's a Comp claim. My Advice on this is, if your damage is close to your deductible amount then don't enter the claim. Pay it out of pocket. Then you don't have to worry about the premium increasing at all. There are others out there that will say, well that's what I pay for Insurance for, and that's fine.... just don't complain if your rates go up because this is the 3rd claim you have had in a year.

Insurance is there for you when you need it most. Sometimes people use it for the small petty things, when they should be using it for the big stuff. The purpose of insurance is to make you whole again or put you back to where you were before your loss. If you totaled out your 1990 vehicle after you hit a deer, they are not going to buy you a brand new 2010 vehicle. The purpose of Insurance is not to make you Rich, or better off than you were prior to your loss. It's to make you Whole Again.

So, to answer my above question. Yes, if you hit a deer and you carry Comprehensive Coverage on your vehicle then it will be a covered loss, subject to your deductible that you have chosen. I personally tell people to always have a lower comprehensive deductible than an collision deductible. If you have a claim, it's usually because you hit a deer or have a stone chip or crack in your windshield.

Check with your Agent about quoting a lower deductible. Typically there is not much difference in premium to drop from a $500 down to a $100 or even Zero Deductible on Comp. That's what I carry. After, the 3rd deer hit of the season, it's nice to have a $0 deductible!

So Good Luck to all of the Deer Hunters out there this Deer Season! I hope you get rid of them, before the rest of us HIT them!


  1. alwas handy info like this, thanks!

  2. i live in bc, canada and i just KNOW that ICBC will try and screw me if i hit a deer

  3. i havent been so much online lately,,but now I will visit you every day..:)

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