Will my car insurance go up if I hit a deer?

Hitting a deer will increase car insurance rates by $8/mo. Damage to your car from a collision with a deer will only be covered under comprehensive car insurance.

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UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 4, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Most insurance companies raise rates after a collision with a deer or other animal
  • Make sure you have comprehensive coverage otherwise your insurance may not cover the collision
  • Know the precautions to take to avoid hitting a deer and raising your insurance rates

You swerved but still hit the deer. Now you may face a rise in your car insurance rates for something you feel you could not avoid.

Even if you have never had this experience, insurance companies are raising rates in states with high or rapidly increasing rates of deer strikes.

Currently, West Virginia has the highest rate of deer strikes, where the odds of hitting a deer are one in 39, followed by Michigan, where insurance rate increases are directly correlated with an increase in deer strikes.

So, unless you plan to move to Hawaii, where your chances of hitting a deer are only one in 10,000, you may want to take some precautions.

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When am I most likely to hit a deer? Will insurance cover hitting a deer?


Accidents with deer occur most frequently between October and December, which is the mating season.

Collisions with deer are increasing due to deforestation and building in rural areas, forcing deer out of their natural habitats and into more highly populated areas.

Is this considered an act of God, or do I have to pay my deductible?

If you carry only liability insurance, any deer-related damage will not be covered.

Comprehensive car insurance is necessary for coverage when a deer strike causes damage to your vehicle.

Even if you have comprehensive coverage, however, you will still be required to pay your deductible. Deer strikes are not considered an act of God.

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Should I try to swerve if I encounter a deer in the road?

Vehicle damage is not the only issue where deer-car collisions are concerned. Accidents with deer result in more than 150 human fatalities every year and significantly more injuries.

Many of these injuries and deaths occur when people swerve to try to avoid hitting a deer on the road, which frequently leads to more severe accidents, including rollovers or cars heading over embankments.

Most experts advise motorists not to swerve when they encounter a deer on the road.

Instead, attempt to apply the break and slow down safely. Usually, the animal will jump out of the way and the accident can be avoided.

If you do hit the deer, your chances of being injured yourself are minimized.

What precautions can I take to try to avoid a deer collision?

There are also several precautions you can take to make yourself less vulnerable to a collision with a deer while driving:

  • Deer whistles are marketed as a way to scare the animals off as you drive down the road by emitting a high-pitched sound that humans cannot hear.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when you are driving, especially in areas with high deer populations. Take extra care when you observe a deer crossing sign.
  • Deer are most commonly seen along roadways between October and December and between the hours of six and nine in the evening.
  • If you spot one deer, slow down, and watch carefully. Deer usually travel in herds, so where there is one deer, there are often several more.
  • Keep your headlights clean and use your high beam lights at night to illuminate the area as much as possible.

Taking precautions and carrying proper coverage can save you a big headache when it comes to deer strikes.

Know what to do to minimize your losses and your out-of-pocket expenses.

Are injuries from a deer accident covered?

Because comprehensive coverage and collision coverage only covers vehicle damage, claims for medical bills after hitting a deer would be covered by your medical payment’s coverage personal injury protection (PIP) coverage if you have either. Regardless, be sure you give your health insurance information when you see your health care provider. Your car insurance might not be enough to cover your medical costs, and health insurance can typically help cover the difference. However, if you’re uninsured, you may need to pay for your own medical expenses.

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Do you have to call the police if you hit a deer?

Yes, you should definitely call the police because the animal could be dangerous to other drivers. If you file a police report, it can also help with the insurance claim process.

Will the state pay for the damage, or for my deductible?

No state will pay for repairs to your vehicle, or even your deductible, if you hit a deer. Yes, your state may have an agency to manage the deer population, but it’s not as if they can prevent deer from running into the roadway, especially during mating and migration season.

The Bottom Line

You’re covered for hitting a deer or other animal on the road if you have comprehensive, an optional coverage you can add to your auto policy. Most drivers add comprehensive insurance, but it isn’t necessary if you’re not leasing or financing your vehicle. If you don’t carry any liability insurance, you probably won’t be covered if you hit a deer.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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