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Even if you move a vehicle from the scene of an accident, your car insurance company will pay for the damage your vehicle sustained.

An issue that may arise is whether you hit a deer or another object. The distinction determines whether your claim is filed under collision or comprehensive insurance. 

If you hit a deer, comprehensive insurance will cover the claim. If you crashed into something else, collision insurance will apply. 

You may have a different deductible for each type of coverage.  Also, comprehensive claims don’t typically raise your future car insurance rates, while collision claims might if you’re found at fault.

If you have a police report or a tow-truck driver or other unbiased witness can collaborate that you hit a deer — or the damaged vehicle has evidence showing you struck a deer — it shouldn’t be a problem making a comprehensive claim.

However, if you say you hit a deer but have no proof, your car insurance company may investigate further. You’ll need evidence of a deer strike to make a comprehensive claim. Otherwise, your insurer may find you hit another object and turn this into a collision claim.

For instance, if you swerved to miss a deer in the road and hit a tree, it would be a collision claim because you didn’t actually strike the deer.

You should contact your car insurance company with your claim if you hit a deer, and make sure to provide evidence that you hit the animal and then had the car towed away for safety reasons.

As a friendly reminder, the autumn months of October, November and December are generally the months drivers are most likely to collide with large animals, such as deer, elk, caribou or moose. 

State Farm issues an annual report on deer — and other animal — auto claims. It recently reported that there were 1.8 million animal collision insurance claims between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023.  

Drive safe and be alert for wild animals, especially at dusk and dawn, and near animal crossing signs.

What happens if you hit a deer and don’t call the police?

Failing to call the police after hitting a deer is understandable. The incident probably left you shaken. However, it is much better if you can calm your nerves and call the police right away from the scene of the accident. 

When the police respond, they create a record of what happened. This makes it much easier to successfully file an insurance claim. 

If you did not call the police immediately after the incident, do so as soon as you can to report the accident. Also, call your insurance company and let your insurer know what happened. 

If you delay in reporting the accident, any evidence you can provide to support your claim — such as pictures from the accident site — should help. 

One final note: In some states, it can be a crime if you leave the scene after hitting a deer. This is one more reason to report the incident promptly. 

Does liability insurance cover hitting a deer?

No. Liability insurance protects you for damages to someone else or their property. It does not provide protection for your own vehicle. 

To cover your own car, you will need to carry comprehensive and collision insurance. Typically, the comprehensive portion of your policy would cover a claim involving hitting a deer. 

States do not mandate that drivers carry comprehensive coverage. If you have a car loan, your lender might require you to carry comprehensive. 

Otherwise, comprehensive coverage generally is optional. If you do not carry this coverage, insurance will not reimburse you if you hit deer. 

Does hitting a deer raise the cost of your insurance?

While your insurance premiums might rise after hitting a deer, the is also the chance that they might not. The state you live in can play a big role in whether your rates climb. 

Hitting a deer typically is not classified as an “at-fault” accident. That means that in some states, your rates definitely will not increase. In other states, it will be up to the insurer to determine if higher costs are warranted. 



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Frequently asked question

Does car insurance cover deer accidents?

Car insurance covers deer accidents as long as you have comprehensive insurance. Most drivers who have a car loan have this coverage, because their lender requires it. 

Even if you don’t have a car loan, chances are good that you carry comprehensive coverage unless your car is relatively old. 

However, once a car ages and its value plummets, some car owners decide to skip comprehensive coverage. This can save money on premiums, but it also means you will have to pay out of pocket for repairs that result from hitting a deer. 

What type of coverage covers deer accidents?

Comprehensive coverage reimburses you if you hit a deer. Some people mistakenly think that because you “collide” with a deer, collision coverage would apply after the accident. 

But it is actually comprehensive coverage that protects you after hitting a deer. Comprehensive coverage provides protection for damages caused by events that are out of your control, such as hitting an animal.  

If you are injured because of hitting a deer, medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage would help cover medical costs. So would your health insurance policy. 


State Farm. “How likely are you to have an animal collision?” Accessed October 2023.

Progressive. “Does insurance cover hitting a deer?” Accessed October 2023.

State Farm. “What to do when you hit a deer.” Accessed October 2023.

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Chris Kissell
Contributing Researcher


Chris Kissell is a Denver-based writer and editor with work featured on U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Money Talks News and more.