“While we all try our best to avoid deer accidents, the good news is that they are covered by automobile insurance if you have comprehensive coverage and insurers will be there to help you through the claims process,” said Robert Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president of personal lines policy. “Although deer-auto collisions can happen anytime of the year, we generally see a spike in the number of claims during the fall. One moment the road is clear and the next instant you encounter a deer. At best, you avoid a collision and are merely shaken up but when you collide, the accident can be extremely serious causing injuries and sometimes death. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings especially during dawn and dusk hours, when deer tend to be more active.”
Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) research demonstrates that animal strike claims peak in November and then drop off during the winter months. The high number of claims coincide with deer mating season when bucks have the tendency to roam. This spike in accidents makes the fall a good time of the year to make sure you have enough insurance coverage.
“It is important to recognize that collision and comprehensive insurance coverage are both optional and so you should contact your agent or company to make sure you’re adequately covered,” said Passmore. “It’s also a good idea to make sure to replace any expired insurance identification cards in the event you need to prove you have insurance after an accident, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared.”
Be Aware of Deer on the Roads: PCI Tips to Avoid Deer Vehicle Collisions
1.) Buckle up, and drive safely. Seat belts save lives and help prevent injuries. Also, make sure kids are in the proper car or booster seats.
2.) Time of day is critical. Often deer are more active during dawn and dusk hours, so make sure you paying attention to your surroundings and stay alert.
3.) Avoid distracted driving. Remember to put the phone down, and never text while driving. Be careful when eating on the run, as lunch can be just as distracting as a cell phone.
4.) Have a plan for roadside assistance. If an accident occurs, be wary of unscrupulous towing companies. Have the phone number for your insurer or a roadside assistance program ready so you know who to call. Some towing companies take advantage of drivers after an accident and you could find yourself facing excessive fees or complications recovering your car from the tow yard.
5.) Update your proof of insurance. Before hitting the road, make sure to replace any expired insurance identification cards in the event you need to prove you have insurance after an accident. Though it is always the best practice to have a hard copy, don’t panic if you have misplaced yours - 37 states have enacted laws that allow you to show proof of coverage on your smartphone. Call your insurer today to see if they offer this feature.
6.) Watch for the road signs which will often suggest areas that are populated with more deer.
7.) Stay in your lane. If you see a deer, brake firmly but do not cross the center lane into potentially on-coming traffic.