Deer Crashes and Your Insurance
Would you be covered? It might be time to check.
DES MOINES, November 8, 2011 – Deer crashes are in the news again, as they are every year about this time. The harvest and natural cycles have hordes of them on the move at this time of year, making November a good time to be aware of the potential for finding one or more of them in the roadway in front of you.
It’s also a good time to review your auto insurance. For the most part, a deer coming into contact with your vehicle is likely to require the kind of protection known as Comprehensive Coverage. Not everyone has Comprehensive Coverage. Those who don’t are unlikely to get any payment from their insurer when they file a claim for a crash involving their car and a deer.
"Some consumers don’t realize that Collision insurance does not cover damages when a car hits a deer," said Susan Voss, Iowa’s Insurance Commissioner. "Automobile owners should check the declarations page of their policy to see if they have purchased the appropriate 'Comprehensive Coverage', sometimes referred to as ‘Other Than Collision’ Coverage." That kind of coverage provides coverage for damage to a vehicle caused by hitting a deer, as well as damage from hail, theft or falling objects. It is optional and a deductible applies.
With the busy time for deer movement upon us, the Iowa Insurance Division (IID) offers the following tips to Iowans:
- Be extra attentive at dawn and dusk, the time of day when deer tend to travel.
- Scan the sides of the road. If one deer is present, more are likely to be nearby.
- If deer are sighted, flash headlights and honk the horn to scare them away from the road.
- If deer are in the road, avoid taking an evasive action such as hard braking or swerving. It is better to hit the deer than to cross the centerline or leave the road.
Leaving the road, or changing lanes to avoid a deer and thereby hitting another car means that the kind of coverage that will be required is collision coverage. As with comprehensive coverage, collision coverage is not always required and when it is in force, it is subject to a deductible. Deductibles for Comprehensive and Collision claims are often different, so a claim may be paid differently depending on the circumstances.
“If consumers have questions about their policies, they should contact the insurance agent first and ask for an explanation,” Voss mentioned. “If they are still not getting the answers they need, they can call our office for assistance.”
About the Iowa Insurance Division
The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) has general control, supervision and direction over all insurance and securities business transacted in the state, and enforces Iowa’s laws and regulations. The IID investigates consumer complaints and prosecutes companies, agents and brokers engaging in unfair trade practices. Consumers with insurance or securities-related questions or complaints may contact the IID toll free at 877-955-1212 or visit the division on the web at www.iid.state.ia.us.