Lions, grizzly bears, alligators, sharks… which animal poses the greatest threat to humans? The answer: None of the above. The animal that claims the most lives in the United States is the deer! Yes, Bambi is more dangerous and more likely to kill you than a bear. According to The Insurance Information Institute, there are more than 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in 150 deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, and more than $3.6 billion, yes that’s billion with a “B” in vehicle damage. The average insurance claim for a deer-vehicle collision is $3000.
As we’ve taken over their natural habitat, building houses and roads, deer are now more visible than ever in our habitat. Though you can see deer at any time of the year, October, November, and December are highest in deer activity, mostly because it is mating season. Deer/vehicle collisions also follow a fairly predictable pattern during a 24 hour period. The highest deer activity, and by extension, the highest likelihood for collision is at dawn and dusk, 5am – 8am in the morning, and 5pm – 8pm in the evening.
If you are lucky enough to see a deer before hitting it, slow down as much as possible before possible impact. It may not stop the collision from happening, but it will hopefully minimize the damage to your vehicle and injuries to you and your passengers. Remember, deer are pack animals and are rarely alone. Seeing one deer, usually means there are more in the area; so if you see one, be alert for others following.
Here are some additional defensive driving tips to avoid hitting a deer.
If you do hit a deer, don’t panic. Use the following instructions to keep you and your passenger’s safe:
If you have a liability-only policy on an older vehicle, you will not have coverage for damage from hitting the deer. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage you will be covered. Accidents involving deer are considered a “comprehensive” claim and are never considered your fault. You’ll need to pay your deductible but your vehicle can be repaired without any major impact on your insurance premiums or driving record.
The insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group, located in St. Matthews, Kentucky and serving the greater Louisville metro area, are always available to review your auto insurance policy and make recommendations to limit you exposure in case of an accident. Contact your Foundation Insurance Group agent today.