WISCONSIN (OnFocus) – While collisions between deer and vehicles occur year-round, collisions peak in October and November during deer hunting and mating season. As daylight hours get shorter, we also spend more time driving in the dark, which increases the chances of vehicular accidents from deer.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there were 16,547 deer fallsresulting in more than 523 injuries and 13 deaths among Wisconsin motorists in 2021.
Remember to stay alert, don’t drive distracted, and watch for deer on the sides of roads, especially at dusk and early in the morning. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner also urges drivers to check their auto insurance policies to ensure they have the correct auto insurance coverage.
Most policies cover hitting a deer as comprehensive insurance, not collision insurance. Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your vehicle from causes other than a collision, including fire, vandalism, wind, hail, falling objects or collision with an animal.
“If you’re not sure what your policy covers, call your insurance company or agent to check,” Insurance Commissioner Nathan Houdek said. “Damage from a deer accident can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, so find out what your coverage includes before you have to use it.”
“It’s our number one claim,” said Nick Arnoldy, president and CEO of Marshfield Insurance. “With the vehicles now and all the technology involved, the expenses are increasing. Deer coverage is usually found on your comprehensive insurance, so you don’t necessarily need to have a collision.
If you see a deer crossing in front of you, slow down and watch for others. If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Avoid sudden deviations which can lead to loss of vehicle control and a more serious accident. If you hit a deer or other animal, pull your vehicle safely off the road if possible and stay in your vehicle while you call law enforcement. After the accident, photograph the damage to your vehicle and contact your insurance company immediately if you plan to file a claim.
Consumers can find more information about car insurance on our Consumer auto insurance Web page. It contains useful information about insuring your car and other vehicles. OCI also provides useful publications such as Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance and Frequently Asked Questions – Auto Insurance.
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