Well, it’s here. It’s Deer Season. The opening day for the Bow Season in Michigan was October 1. Deer season brings a lot of Deer/Vehicle accidents. This is covered under Comprehensive Coverage. I was shocked at the number of people who didn’t know this when I worked in insurance.
What is Comprehensive Insurance?
You can get coverage for specific items through comprehensive coverage, also known as “Comp”. It may also be called “Other than Collision” by some companies. This coverage provides coverage for the following:
- Vandalism or theft
- Glass is like stone chips or cracks on your windshield
- Animal collision (similar to hitting a deer, or another animal)
- Acts of God (such as hail damage or the fall of a tree on your vehicle).
Do I need a police report to file a claim?
The answer was no at the company I worked for. Although you don’t need one, it is a good idea to request one. It only proves your claim. It is free and helps validate your claim. Although you don’t need one to file a claim, I recommend that you have one in case of an accident with your vehicle or any damage to your car. A police report is not required if the damage was caused due to an Act of God such as hail damage or storm damage. The claim process will be faster and more smooth if a Police Report is completed. A police report usually includes a time stamp and lists all involved parties if known. Even if you hit a deer, it is a good idea to have.
What should I do if I hit a deer?
First, you need to call the police. Call 911 if it is early in the morning. They will usually send someone to you. You can then get a police report completed and sent out. To file a claim, you don’t need to have a copy. This will be done by the Insurance. You will not usually receive a copy, but an adjuster or agent can obtain one.
Second, call your insurance company. Many insurance companies offer 24 hour claims service. Even if you aren’t sure whether you want to file a claim, it is advisable to call them at least to report the incident. Because of their deductible, some people may not be able to file a claim immediately. You might not want to file a claim if you have a $500 deductible or $1,000 deductible.
A third thing you should do is get an estimate of the damage if you are going to file a claim. Many insurance companies offer programs that can help you. Service First Programs and other programs that allow you to go to a particular repair facility that is affiliated with your insurance company. It was called a Service First Provider Program at the company where I worked. All the photos and estimates were sent electronically to the insurance company. This speeds up the process, and saves you the time of doing all the extra work.
Will my rates go up if I submit a claim?
Your premium could increase if you file a claim against your policy. A “Comp” or Comprehensive Claim will not affect your policy as severely as a collision claim. Although you might notice an increase, it is more common for Comp claims to cause more than one increase. This is my advice: If your damage exceeds your deductible, don’t file a claim. You can pay it out of your own pocket. You won’t have to worry about your premium rising. Others will argue that this is what I pay for insurance for. …. Just don’t complain that your rates go up if you have 3 claims in a year.
Insurance is there to help you when you most need it. Insurance is sometimes used for small, trivial things when it should be used for big-ticket items. Insurance is there to make you whole again, or to get you back to the point you were before your loss. Insurance companies will not buy you a new vehicle if your 1990 car is totaled by a deer. Insurance does not make you rich or make you better off than before your loss. It is to make you whole again.
To answer the above question. If you hit a deer, and have Comprehensive Coverage on your car, it will be covered, subject to the deductible you have chosen. Personally, I advise people to have a lower collision deductible and a lower comprehensive one. If you have a claim it is usually because you were hit by a deer or your windshield has a chip or crack.
Talk to your agent about a lower deductible. It is common for a premium drop to be between $500 and $100, or even zero on Comp. This is what I have. It’s nice to have $0 deductible after the third deer hit of the year.
All Deer Hunters, Good Luck! I wish you good luck and get rid of them before we all HIT them!