Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting a Deer?

Businessman leaning against open car door looking forward at front-end damage

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The number of deer-related accidents spikes each fall. Deer can be skittish. They often move without warning. The only thing you can control is your own reaction to seeing a deer in your path, but that won't always be enough.

Deer accidents are frustrating because they often occur due to no fault of the driver. And it's not as though the deer has an insurance company you can deal with. It's worth taking the time to learn the answers to some common questions about deer accidents and car insurance if you drive through wooded or rural areas.

Key Takeaways

  • Hitting a deer isn't the driver's fault, but you might be on the hook to pay for the damage, depending on your coverage.
  • Always try to avoid the accident, if possible, although you don't want to swerve because you could put yourself and your vehicle at even more risk.
  • Deer accidents are covered under the comprehensive coverage of your policy, but making a claim could still raise your rates.
  • You don't have to make a police report, but it can be helpful when you make your claim.

First, Try To Avoid the Accident

You should try to avoid the accident, if at all possible, but not by swerving. When you swerve, you're at a much greater risk of hitting other traffic, a tree, a light post, a mailbox, or a ditch.

The damage from hitting a deer could be much less than hitting another car or one of these other objects. Simply take your foot off the gas. Brake as much as you safely can. Keep a straight course. And always wear your seatbelt.

Is Hitting a Deer Covered by Comprehensive or Collision Insurance?

Deer accidents are covered under comprehensive coverage. That's another reason why swerving to miss a deer can lead to severe consequences. Hitting an inanimate object with your vehicle is a collision, and collision coverage often comes with higher deductibles and premiums than comprehensive policies, which often cover animal mishaps.

A tow may be needed after a deer accident. It will be covered as part of the claim if you have comprehensive coverage. Your tow will also be covered if you don't have comprehensive coverage, but you do have roadside assistance.


You will be on your own to pay for both the damage to your auto and the tow if you don't have either comprehensive coverage or roadside assistance.

Your Deductible

Comprehensive coverage is often purchased with a deductible. Some companies offer a zero-deductible option, so it depends on how you set up your policy. Your deductible should apply to a deer/auto accident if you have one listed on your coverage. Take a look at your declarations page, or call your agent to check.

You can compare the costs of deductible limits. Choosing a higher deductible doesn't always save you a lot of money. A low deductible on comprehensive is often the best option.

It's likely that you'll have to file a claim because this type of insurance covers so many perils: hitting an animal, fire, theft, vandalism, tree fall, hail, flood, and other weather-related losses. The deductible you select will apply to all of these types of losses.


Make sure you can afford your car policy and your deductible. It can make your policy too expensive if you choose too low of a deductible. You'll have to pay a higher cost to repair your vehicle before the insurance will kick in if you choose a deductible that's too high.

How It Affects Your Rates

There's no exact answer to the question of how your rates will be affected by hitting a deer. Insurers have varying rules on comprehensive claims. These claims do not affect your rate in many cases, but check with your carrier to find out for sure.

Some carriers will apply a surcharge to your policy if you've hit more than one deer in a certain period of time, while others apply a small surcharge for any deer-related car claim.

Filing a Police Report

Police reports are handy with any insurance claim. They're often not needed for a deer claim to be paid out, but it's a good idea to get one anyway, especially if you've hit more than one deer.

Documentation makes the claim process more cut-and-dried. It's worth taking the time if you're able to get a report filed with the police.

The Bottom Line

Deer accidents are common in many areas of the U.S. Knowing how to react when you see a deer can help limit your injuries and insurance bills.

Know what your policy covers before you file a claim. Make sure you understand your deductibles. Know when they apply. Speak with your agent if you have any questions about your coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does hitting a deer count as an accident?

Insurance companies will likely consider it an accident when you hit a deer, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will increase your rates. Check with your insurance agent to learn more about how your company classifies these situations and how they could impact your rates.

When you hit a deer, what type of insurance covers the damages?

Comprehensive insurance covers situations like hitting a deer. If you have comprehensive insurance, it will probably cover the cost of damages from hitting a deer, but keep in mind that you may have to pay deductibles (depending on your policy).

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Consumer Reports. "How To Avoid Collisions With Deer This Fall."

  2. Insurance Information Institute. "What Is Covered by Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance?"

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