Should I call the auto insurance company if my car hits a deer?

Liability insurance does not cover deer hits, but you can file a claim if you have comprehensive coverage. However, if your deductible is higher than the cost to repair the damages, you should pay out of pocket.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 11, 2022

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Things to Remember:

  • Hitting a deer is only covered under comprehensive insurance, not collision or liability insurance 
  • Drivers should call their insurer if repair costs exceed the deductible or other parties are involved 
  • If drivers wish to pay damages out of pocket or don’t have comprehensive insurance, there is no need to call the insurance company

After the adrenaline fades and the accident is cleaned up, your first thought is probably if you should call your auto insurance company to report hitting a deer. In almost all cases, the answer is yes. 

However, there are times when drivers don’t know which one of the different types of auto insurance coverage covers animal collisions, and if they don’t have the right coverage calling the auto insurance company will be futile. We’ve outlined how to check that you are covered and when you should give your insurer a call. 

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Does liability insurance cover deer hits?

Before you call, it’s important to know what kind of insurance covers hitting a deer. Many drivers wrongly assume that they will be covered if they hit a deer because they have liability insurance or collision insurance. 

Drivers who ask “Does liability insurance cover deer hits?” should know that the only insurance coverage that covers animal collisions is comprehensive insurance. 

Unfortunately, liability and collision insurance don’t cover deer hits. So unless you have comprehensive insurance on your policy, the insurance company won’t cover your deer hit claim. However, if you sustained injuries and have medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP), you can file a claim for any medical bills not covered by your health insurance. 

If you have comprehensive insurance, read on to see when you should give your insurance company a call.  

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When to Call Your Insurer After Hitting a Deer

Once you’ve verified that you have comprehensive coverage, you should call your insurer if any of the following is true: 

  • Your car has extensive damages. If your car has any damages requiring more expensive repairs, such as a broken axle, you should file a claim with your insurer. If you’re not sure, give them a call. Not all damage may be readily visible.
  • Property other than your own is damaged. For example, another car crashed into you when you crashed into the deer, or you swerved into a mailbox. Your insurer needs to be aware that another party may be filing a claim with them for damages. 
  • There are injuries to you or a passenger. If anyone is injured in the accident, call your insurance company.

While reporting a deer crash is not legally required, calling the police is vital if another’s property is damaged, as the police report is useful for filing claims and removes any hearsay when a second party is involved. 

You should also call the police if the deer is blocking traffic, as they can remove the deer and prevent a hazard to other drivers.

When Not to Call Your Insurer After Hitting a Deer

There are some instances where you can choose not to call your insurer. If the damages are minimal and you choose to pay out of pocket, you can forgo calling your insurance company. 

If you have a high deductible that exceeds the amount you’d pay for repairs, there’s really no need to file a claim since you still have to pay your insurance deductible if you hit a deer. 

For example, if your deductible is $500 but the cost to repair the small dent is only $200, you’d pay this amount either way. You may also be lucky enough to also escape with no damages to your vehicle, in which a call to your insurance company is unnecessary. 

Common Driver Concerns After Hitting a Deer

Many drivers want to know if hitting a deer will raise their insurance rates. If you are reluctant to call your car insurance company because you are worried about insurance rates or the accident going on your driving record, there usually isn’t cause for concern. 

Since hitting a deer isn’t a driver’s fault, unless there is a clear case of negligent driving or impaired driving, the majority of insurers usually won’t raise rates. You can usually check the fine print in your insurance agreement to see if your insurer raises rates for accidents in which you aren’t at fault. 

If your insurers raise rates even if an accident wasn’t your fault, it’s best not to put it on record if the amount out of pocket is low. For the most part, however, insurers won’t raise rates for hitting a deer. 

The other common question drivers have before calling their insurer that of whether hitting a deer goes on your driving record. If you file a claim, it will go on your claim history with an insurer. The only time hitting a deer would go on your driving record would be if there was a negligent or impaired driving charge. 

Therefore, hitting a deer very rarely goes on your driving record and only if other factors are involved. So don’t let fear of a blemished driving record stop you from calling your insurer or the police after an accident involving a deer. 

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Hitting a Deer: The Bottom Line

After an accident, the best course of action is usually to call your insurance company. Unless the damage is minimal and less than your deductible, your insurer will pay for any necessary repairs to your vehicle after hitting a deer.

Just make sure to carry comprehensive coverage, as this is the only coverage that will pay for repairs after an animal collision. Shopping around at different companies can help you find an affordable comprehensive insurance plan and save you from expensive bills. 

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