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 Virginia motorists to be careful, especially when driving at dawn or dusk and in areas where deer are prevalent.
“Deer are generally more active in November as a result of the mating season and other factors, and collisions are more likely,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham. “I urge all Virginia drivers to watch out for wildlife on the highways and 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. This covers such things as wind, hail and flood, as well as fire, vandalism, and theft. 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.
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 saving 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.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than one million car accidents with deer each year that kill as many as 200 Americans, cause more than 10,000 personal injuries, and result in more than $1 billion in vehicle damage.
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. Once it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and vehicle damage in the event you file an insurance claim.
The Bureau of Insurance stands ready to assist Virginians with their questions regarding auto and many other types of insurance. For more information, call the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at (804) 371-9741 or visit its website at www.scc.virginia.gov/boi. Consumers who are hearing or speech impaired may call the SCC’s Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TDD) at (804) 371-9206.