Whether you should call your auto insurance company if you strike a deer depends on whether you plan on paying for the damages yourself or if you need the insurance company to pay. You aren’t required by any auto insurance laws to report striking an animal.
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If you are planning on paying for the repairs to your vehicle yourself, then there is no reason for you to report striking a deer to your insurance company. Part of the reason that you will want to avoid that is that many insurance companies raise rates for any filed claim; even if they don’t have to pay any money for the claim.
If, however, the damage to your vehicle is extensive, then you will want to consider getting your auto insurance company involved. After all, that is why you pay your insurance premiums every month.
I only have liability insurance, will my insurance pay if my car hits a deer?
In order to get your insurance company to pay on a claim, you have to have the coverage to pay for that claim. In the case of hitting a deer, you will have to have collision coverage on your vehicle. If you have liability coverage only, your insurance company will not pay for the damages to your car.
While it is true that collision coverage is more expensive than liability alone, if you have a vehicle with a higher dollar value, at least more than $1000, (at the very least), then you really should consider carrying collision coverage on your car or truck.
A good rule of thumb for determining whether or not you should carry collision is to consider the most expensive repair possible for your car, for example a cracked engine block. If your car has more value than that the cost of that repair, then it is worth maintaining more insurance.
If, however, the cost of collision insurance exceeds the value of your car, there is no need to maintain this type of auto insurance coverage. If you have the money, consider putting that amount into the bank every month and save for this purpose.
I didn’t hit the deer, it hit my car; will my liability only insurance pay for that?
It doesn’t matter if the deer hits your car or your car hits the deer, if you have liability only coverage, the insurance will not pay for the damages. Liability insurance is designed to protect you financially if you cause an accident.
The bottom line is that (aside from a Pixar film) you cannot sue the deer and the deer can’t sue you. As such, this type of accident doesn’t fall under the liability coverage.
Many people think that if they carry the state required minimum then they have all that they need. However, your liability insurance does not cover damages to your personal vehicle no matter what the cause of the accident might be, animal or person.
How much will my rates go up if I file a claim after my car hits a deer?
How much your rates increase will depend a great deal on how much damage there is to your vehicle. If your car is totaled then your rates will increase much more than if your car only needs a front left quarter panel replaced.
Depending on the extent of the damage and the reason the accident occurred in the first place your rates can increase anywhere from $10 a month to double your current premium. For example, if it’s disclosed that you were on your cell phone or texting then your rates will increase more than if a deer simply dove in front of your car at dusk.
If you are anticipating a large increase in your payments, then switching to another insurance company after your auto insurance claim is paid is something that you want to consider. The fact of the matter is that many insurance companies will charge you less if they aren’t the ones who had to pay the claim, especially considering the nature of the accident.
The easiest way to compare auto insurance rates is with a free quote tool like the one we offer below. This allows you to compare rates between several companies so that you can decide for yourself whether or not you should make a change.
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