Will Auto Insurance Pay If You Hit A Deer (Or Another Animal) With Your Car?

Last Updated on October 15, 2021

An accident with a deer or another animal has the potential to lead to a significant injury, vehicle damage, and possibly even death. Unfortunately, a collision with a deer also has the potential to cost thousands of dollars if you do not have the proper type of auto insurance.

State Farm reports the average cost of an insurance claim stemming from a collision with a deer, elk, or other large animal is around $4,000. State Farm also reported collisions with animals causes hundreds of driver and passenger deaths every single year.

Collisions with animals are expensive and sometimes dangerous, but will your auto insurance provider cover the expenses resulting from a collision with a deer or another animal? Continue reading below to learn all about the auto insurance coverage you need in order to be covered in the event of an animal collision.

if you hit a deer or another animal, will insurance pay?

Auto Insurance Coverage After Striking an Animal

If you hit an animal while driving your vehicle, the damage to your vehicle will only be covered if you have comprehensive coverage. Those who lack comprehensive auto insurance coverage will not have coverage for damage resulting from an animal strike. Those who have an auto loan or lease their vehicle will likely be required to carry comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is advised for every single driver unless the car in question has minimal value.

What About Collision Coverage?

Collision coverage is typically sold as part of an auto insurance package with comprehensive coverage.  However, collision coverage does not pay for damage resulting from striking an animal with your automobile.  Collision coverage has the potential to apply if the driver swerves to avoid contact with an animal and strikes another object such as a telephone pole or fence.  Sadly, drivers often purchase the bare minimum auto insurance mandated by the state. Some states merely require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage and liability coverage.  There is a common misconception that nothing bad will ever happen on the road yet the truth of the matter is driving is the most dangerous thing we do every single day.

Comprehensive Coverage Is Worth the Money

Comprehensive auto coverage typically tacks on an extra couple hundred dollars to yearly auto insurance premiums yet it is well worth it in the event of a collision with a deer or another large animal.  If cost is your primary concern, you can reduce the annual cost of your auto insurance coverage by selecting a higher deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you are responsible to pay on a claim.  We will delve deeper into deductibles later on.

Liability Coverage in the Context of Striking a Deer

Liability coverage is not applicable if a deer is struck.  It does not matter if the liability coverage is for property damage or bodily injury; it will not kick in after striking a deer or another large animal.  Liability insurance merely applies to the damage you cause as a driver. As an example, if you are involved in an accident you are considered to be at-fault in and inflict damage on another person’s vehicle, the property damage liability coverage will kick in.

The Animal Damage Clause in Comprehensive Coverage

The bottom line is you will not have auto insurance coverage after colliding with a deer unless it is comprehensive coverage.  Comprehensive coverage is meant to provide coverage for costs associated with auto accidents that are not covered through collision.  Some states refer to comprehensive coverage as “other than collision” insurance. The animal damage clause of comprehensive auto insurance is applicable to damage the animal causes to your vehicle.  It does not matter if the animal in question was running in the middle of the road, stationary when struck or if it chewed through your vehicle’s wiring; as long as your comprehensive coverage has an animal damage clause, you will be covered after this unfortunate incident.

Paying a Deductible After a Collision With a Deer

An insurance deductible is the amount the customer must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays any money.  Some types of auto insurance coverage do not mandate a deductible yet collision and comprehensive coverage typically carry a deductible.  If the deductible is high, the premiums are likely to be low. You must pay the deductible prior to the insurance provider’s payment for the cost of repairs.  However, if the accident results in a total loss, comprehensive coverage typically pays the vehicle’s actual cash value.

Will Reporting a Collision With an Animal Hike Your Auto Insurance Premium?

Insurance claims of just about every sort are likely to boost your rates.  After all, the insurance provider must pay for the adjuster to analyze the damage and subsequently pay for the appropriate repairs.  However, filing a claim with your auto insurance provider through the comprehensive coverage of your auto insurance probably won’t increase your auto insurance rates by a significant margin. Comprehensive claims typically hike rates about $100 per year on average. The rate at which a claim increases your auto insurance hinges on the state you live in as well as your unique auto insurance policy and other factors.  Even if you file a claim after an accident with a deer or other animal, your insurance rate will likely return to normal after 3-5 years pass.

Drivers who opt into accident forgiveness through their auto insurer probably won’t face an insurance rate hike.  Accident forgiveness is completely optional. If you elect to enroll in this coverage, you will be required to pay a minor surcharge to guarantee your auto insurance premium does not increase after an accident that is determined to be at fault.  In fact, there is a chance your auto insurer offers accident forgiveness at no cost at all.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
Back to Top