Being involved in an accident with a deer is a frightening ordeal. They often jump out of nowhere, making it nearly impossible for even the best drivers to avoid the collision. If this has happened to you, you’re likely wondering what your next steps should be.
Well, first of all, if you’re searching the internet on the topic while you’re still on the scene, safety is your main priority — both for you, your passengers and other people on the road.
This means, if the accident is serious and the vehicle can’t be moved, you should exit the vehicle (if possible) and get out of the line of traffic, so you will not be hit by oncoming traffic. Immediately call the authorities so they can help secure the road, clear debris and direct vehicles by the area safely. If the accident is not very serious and you think you can move the car off the road without danger, do so quickly to protect yourself and so your vehicle isn’t a hazard.
After you’re safe
Once you, your vehicle and your passengers are safe and out of the road, it’s also very important to let your insurance company know as soon as possible. Take some photos of the scene if you can, because these may be useful in a car insurance claim. Pictures of the damage, the road, the animal and anything else could clarify the incident. Also, if there are any witnesses who stopped, ask for their contact information and an account of what they saw.
But am I covered?
The main question you’ll have at this point is — am I covered? While state laws differ somewhat, generally, the answer is simple.
If you have comprehensive car insurance, and you’ve been paid your deductible, an accident where a vehicle directly strikes an animal in the road should be covered. Because most states only require liability insurance though, this is the only insurance that many drivers have. Those with only liability insurance will not be covered, because it is meant only to protect other drivers on the road from when you are responsible for an accident.
Collision insurance that is not comprehensive may cover you, but only if you swerved to miss the animal and struck another vehicle (or even an object like a tree or median). Hitting an animal will not likely be covered. So the likely answer to, “Am I covered?” is, only if you have comprehensive insurance.
Questions about car insurance? Ask Winstead!
The details of car insurance, and insurance claims, can be complicated. It pays to have an insurance company in your corner that you can trust. For our customers, whether in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland or North Carolina, Winstead Insurance in Elkton, Maryland, has been that trusted representative since 1956.
If you want to review your coverage options, and maybe strengthen them to protect from unpredictable elements like wayward deer, call our office today at 410-398-6700.