The arrival of autumn means changing leaves and shorter daylight hours. It also means an increased risk of vehicle collisions with deer.
Mating season and migration contribute to an uptick in vehicle-deer crashes during the fall. In fact, November is the peak month for insurance claims related to vehicle collisions with deer. The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds drivers to remain alert for deer when driving on Virginia roadways.
“A deer in the roadway poses a threat to even the most careful driver,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “As fall arrives, contact your insurance agent or company to find out if your automobile policy provides coverage for claims involving a crash with deer or other wildlife.”
If you have liability insurance coverage only, your policy may not cover damage to your auto from a deer crash. Damage to your vehicle caused by colliding with a deer usually falls under an optional coverage called “other-than-collision” or “comprehensive.” In addition to deer strikes, comprehensive coverage often reimburses for damage to your vehicle caused by theft, wind, hail, flood, fire or vandalism.
To help avoid a crash with a deer, lower your speed and stay alert. If a deer runs out in the road, stay in your lane and brake as carefully as possible. Crashes with deer, while startling, are often safer for the driver and vehicle occupants than swerving sharply and putting surrounding vehicles and their occupants at risk.
If you do hit a deer while driving, notify law enforcement and your insurance company as soon as possible. When safe to do so, take photos of the scene of the crash, as well as damage to the vehicle if you plan to file an insurance claim. If you see leaking fluid, tire damage, broken lights or other damage, call a tow truck.
The Bureau of Insurance stands ready to assist Virginians with their questions regarding auto and many other types of insurance. For more information, call the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.