Does insurance cover hitting a deer?

Whether your car insurance covers a collision with a deer depends on your policy

Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as "Credible" below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

You may wonder, "Does insurance cover hitting a deer?" If you have comprehensive car insurance, the answer is yes. (Shutterstock)

In the United States, approximately 2.1 million vehicles collided with animals between July 2020 and June 2021, according to a yearly analysis from State Farm. Of those accidents, the majority — about 1.4 million of them — involved deer.

If you’re one of those unfortunate drivers who has a run-in with a deer, your auto insurance should cover your expenses if you have a comprehensive policy. Here’s what to expect from your insurance carrier and what to do if you hit a deer on the road.

With Credible, you can easily compare car insurance quotes from top insurance carriers.

Does car insurance cover hitting a deer?

Auto insurance costs have been rising steadily in recent years, so you may consider cutting your coverage. But the last thing you want to discover after a collision is that your car insurance doesn’t cover the damage.

As long as you have comprehensive insurance coverage, then yes, your auto policy should cover you if you hit a deer. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage will kick in to replace busted headlights, fix a smashed windshield, or even pay for more extensive repairs. 

In some cases, hitting a deer can cause so much damage that a vehicle is deemed a total loss. Comprehensive auto insurance covers the cost of your vehicle’s repair (or replacement) up to your policy’s limits. You’ll only be responsible for any deductible on the policy or costs that exceed your coverage.


Does car insurance cover other animal-related damage?

Comprehensive auto insurance also covers other types of damage that animals cause, even if there was no collision. For example, if squirrels chew through the electrical wiring in your car or a bear gets into your truck and trashes the interior, a comprehensive policy will likely cover your repairs.

Your comprehensive coverage won’t cover damages if you swerve to avoid missing a deer and instead hit another object. If you run off the road, slam into a fence, or even hit another vehicle, your collision coverage would kick in. 


Does insurance cover injuries after you hit a deer?

If you have injuries as a result of hitting a deer, your insurance might step in to cover — or at least share in — those costs. This is especially true if you have optional medical payments coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. 

Also known as MedPay, medical payments coverage can pay for certain medical expenses for you and your passengers following an accident. Each policy is different, but MedPay coverage will usually kick in for things like:

  • Doctor visits
  • Emergency room care
  • Diagnostic exams such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
  • Medical insurance deductibles and co-pays
  • Surgical costs
  • Funeral expenses

MedPay often goes hand in hand with health insurance plans. Your regular health insurance coverage will likely cover the bulk of your expenses, such as doctor visits, diagnostics, and even physical therapy. If you’re responsible for an annual deductible or individual co-pays, though, MedPay can cover those and save you from paying anything out of pocket, up to your chosen coverage limit.

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage can cover your medical costs in this situation too.

You can visit Credible to compare auto insurance quotes from multiple carriers, all in one place.

What to do if you hit a deer

Once you’ve made sure that you and all your passengers are OK following the collision, follow these steps:

  1. Get to a safe place. If possible, immediately move your vehicle off the roadway and into a safer location. Turn on your hazard lights and move onto the shoulder, into a driveway, or even into the grass near the road. Don’t approach the deer at this time.
  2. Contact the police. Depending on your location, the severity of the collision, and whether there are any injuries, either call 911 or contact the non-emergency police line in your area. When you call, tell them if the deer is blocking the road, as this could be dangerous for other drivers.
  3. Document the accident. Take photos (once it’s safe to do so), showing any damages to your vehicle or other personal property. You may also want to photograph the roadway, showing where the animal entered and where the collision occured. If another driver or pedestrian witnessed the incident, ask for their account of the event and get their contact information.
  4. Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. In many cases, a collision with a deer will cause vehicle damage, but not enough to require a tow. If you plan to drive your car the rest of the way home, it’s important to check it over thoroughly to make sure it’s safe to drive. Inspect the headlights, tires, windshield, and undercarriage. A dented hood probably won’t keep you from driving home, but a busted headlight at night will.
  5. File a claim. Once you get home or to a safe location, contact your auto insurance carrier as soon as possible to begin the claims process. The agent may ask you to record a statement explaining the collision, or provide them with any photos or diagrams you might have.

Will hitting a deer increase your monthly premium?

Any time you file a claim against your own auto insurance coverage, it has the potential to increase your cost for that coverage in the future. The answer really depends on your insurance carrier, state, and whether your insurer deems the collision an "at-fault" accident. 

In some cases (and in certain states), hitting a deer and filing a claim against your comprehensive coverage won’t increase your premiums. In other instances, though, you could find that even an unavoidable accident with a deer is all it takes to see your premiums spike.

At the end of the day, you’ll need to check with your insurance carrier. Your carrier can tell you what sort of impact a deer collision could have on your premiums, what coverage is available, and how much you’d be expected to pay toward a claim, were one to occur.


With Credible, you can compare car insurance quotes from various insurance carriers in minutes.