Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deer Collisions Can Put a Dent in Your Auto Insurance

November is the peak month for collisions between vehicles and deer. With this in mind, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds motorists to exercise caution, especially when driving at dawn or dusk and in areas where deer are prevalent.

“I encourage all drivers to be on the alert for wildlife on the highways,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham. “Now is a good time to contact your insurance agent or company to determine if your policy provides coverage for this type of loss.” 

Damages caused to your vehicle as a result of a collision with a deer or other animal typically are covered under the “other-than-collision” (also known as comprehensive) portion of your automobile policy. Keep in mind that if you have a liability-only policy, your policy does not cover your vehicle for any damages it receives in an accident with a deer or other object. 

To reduce your chances of hitting a deer, slow down and use caution when you see one. 

If it is too late to avoid a collision with a deer, stay in your lane and slow down as much as possible to minimize damage. Should you collide with a deer, notify law enforcement and your insurance company as soon as possible.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are roughly one million car accidents with deer each year that kill more than 200 Americans, cause more than 10,000 personal injuries, and result in $1 billion in vehicle damage. 

One-half or more of all vehicle-deer collisions occur during the months of October, November and December, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Increased development of traditionally rural and wooded areas, the transition from daylight savings time to standard time and reduced daylight hours, and increased deer activity during their October through December breeding season are among the factors that contribute to the increase in vehicle-deer collisions during the fall. 

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