Does my auto insurance cover hitting a deer in Michigan?

This is the time of year when the deer are on the move and unfortunately there are also a lot of car-deer accidents on the roads. If you hit a deer, will your car insurance cover the cost of repairing your vehicle?

Deer on the side of the road just before the vehicle

Pascal-L-Marius, ThinkStock

How many car deer accidents are there each year?

According to the michigan.gov website, nearly 50,000 car deer crashes in Michigan each year. Deer are most active in spring and fall. About 80% of these collisions occur early in the morning or as the sun sets in the evening.

Road accident with a deer

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How to avoid a car accident with a deer

The michigan.gov site gives some tips to avoid a crash. Some of these tips include:

  • Stay aware, awake and sober. Be vigilant and watch for deer along the road
  • Deer are herd animals and usually travel in single file. If you see a deer crossing the road, chances are there will be others following behind the first deer.
  • Things like flashing your high beam headlights or honking your horn usually don’t work to scare the deer out of the road.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning produced a pamphlet called “Don’t Veer for Deer”. You can find this information here.

Crossing Rennes

Photo: Canva

Will your car insurance cover the car-deer accident?

The answer to this question really depends on the insurance you have on your vehicle. No-fault coverage pays for medical expenses if someone is injured. When it comes to damage to your vehicle, many people will only purchase PL/PD (personal liability/property damage) insurance on their older vehicles. This type of insurance DOES NOT COVER damage caused by deer. The michiganautolaw.com website explains that in the state of Michigan, repairs to your car will only be covered if you have “comprehensive” coverage on your vehicle and your insurance includes comprehensive coverage. You will be responsible for paying the deductible you have for your comprehensive insurance.

Insurance policy

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Contact your insurance company

To ensure that you are fully covered in the event of an accident with a deer, you should contact your insurance company and ask them for details on how they would handle an accident with a deer. This way you know what’s covered and there are no surprises when it comes time to repair your vehicle. Unfortunately, with over 50,000 accidents like this every year, it’s probably not a question of IF you’re going to hit a deer, but rather WHEN.

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