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DIFS Encourages Drivers to Review Auto Insurance Policies to Understand Coverage for Vehicle-Deer Collisions
November 15, 2022
(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding consumers to review their auto insurance coverage to make sure they understand what coverage may be available in the event of damage caused by a vehicle-deer collision. Though these types of crashes occur all year round, the fall deer hunting season, coupled with shorter daylight periods, often increases the number of these crashes, which can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
“Auto insurance may not be at the top of your mind as we head into the colder months, but this is a good time of year to review your policy so you are prepared for unexpected mishaps, like hitting a deer with your car,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Understanding your auto coverage can make the difference between an inconvenience and a major financial problem, given that the cost of repairing damage from a vehicle-deer collision can be $5,000 or even more. In most cases, you will need to buy an optional coverage called comprehensive insurance to cover damage caused by something other than a crash with another vehicle, so it is important to consider your family’s insurance needs and budget before a potential loss.”
According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, each year there are approximately 50,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. About 80% of these crashes occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn, especially during the spring and during fall hunting season. A recent study conducted by AAA reported that Michiganders pay an average of $130 million each year to repair vehicle damage caused by collisions with deer.
To make sure that you are protected against this type of damage, you should discuss your current auto insurance policy with your licensed insurance agent or company. In most cases, you will need to buy a optional comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive pays if your car is stolen, or for repairs if it is damaged by a falling object, fire, flood, vandalism, or collision with an animal.
Here are a few tips on what to do after a deer collision:
- Pull off the road, turn on your emergency flashers, and be cautious of other traffic if you exit your vehicle.
- Report the crash to the nearest police agency and your insurance company or agent.
- Document the incident. If it's safe to do so, take photographs of the roadway, your surroundings, damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you or your passengers sustained. If witnesses stop, take down their account of what occurred, and ask for their contact information.
- Do not approach the deer. Wounded animals can be dangerous, and an animal that appears to be dead may only be stunned.
- Don't assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Double-check that your car is drivable after colliding with a deer. Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won't latch, and other safety hazards. If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a tow.
If you have questions or concerns with your insurance policy or wish to file a complaint, contact DIFS at 833-ASK-DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.