Does My Auto Insurance Cover Hitting a Deer in Michigan?
It is the time of year when the deer are moving and unfortunately there are also a lot of car-deer crashes on the roadways. If you hit a deer, will your auto insurance cover the costs of repairing your vehicle?
How Many Car Deer Crashes Are There Each Year?
According to the michigan.gov website, there are nearly 50,000 reported car-deer crashed in Michigan each year. The deer are most active in the spring and fall. About 80% of these crashes happen early in the morning, or as the sun is setting in the evening.
How to Avoid a Car-Deer Crash
The michigan.gov website does give some tips to avoid a crash. Some of those tips include:
- Stay aware, awake, and sober. Be alert and watch for deer along side the road
- Deer are herd animals and usually travel in single file. If you see one deer cross the road, the chances are there are more that will be following behind the first deer.
- Things like flashing your high-beam headlights or honking your horn don't usually work to scare the deer off the road.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning has produced a brochure called "Don't Veer for Deer". You can find that information here.
Will Your Car Insurance Cover the Car-Deer Crash?
The answer to this question really depends on the insurance you have on your vehicle. No fault coverage pays for medical expenses if a person is injured. As far as the damage to your vehicle, many people will only carry PL/PD (Personal Liability/Property Damage) insurance on their older vehicles. That type of insurance WILL NOT cover car-deer damage. The michiganautolaw.com website explains that in the state of Michigan, your car's repairs will only be covered if you have "full" coverage on your vehicle and your insurance includes comprehensive coverage. You will be responsible to pay whatever deductible you have for your comprehensive insurance.
Contact Your Insurance Company
To make sure that you are completely covered in case of a car-deer crash, you should contact your insurance company and ask them for details on just how they would handle a car-deer crash. That way you know what is covered and there are no surprises when it comes time to repair your vehicle. Unfortunately with over 50,000 accidents like this every year, it's probably not a question of IF you are going to hit a deer, but more just WHEN it will happen.