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DIFS Encourages Michiganders to Drive Safely, Understand Insurance Coverage for Deer-Vehicle Collisions
December 01, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2023
(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding consumers to check with their auto insurance agent or company to make sure they understand what coverage may be available if their vehicle is damaged in a collision with a deer. These types of crashes can occur during any season, but they happen more often during the fall, when shorter daylight hours and deer hunting season can cause deer to move frequently and sometimes erratically.
“With earlier sunsets and hunting season causing deer to be more active, fall is a great time of year to review your auto insurance policy to understand your coverage for unexpected mishaps, including hitting a deer,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “The cost of repairing damage from a vehicle-deer collision can be thousands of dollars, and if you do not purchase what is known as automobile comprehensive coverage, you could be left paying those repair bills yourself. It is always important to consider your family’s insurance needs and budget before a potential loss.”
According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, more than 58,000 motor vehicle-deer crashes occurred in 2022, a substantial increase over the normal average of approximately 50,000. Nearly half of the 2022 incidents occurred in the months of October, November, and December. A 2019 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. Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage available for purchase, and 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.
If you are involved in an accident with an animal, here are a few tips on what to do:
- 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 against your agent or company, 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.