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Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting A Deer?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 08/21/2012

What to do after hitting a deer, car insurance coverage that fixes the damage, and how to prevent it in the first place.

Deer Running from Oncoming Car

Comprehensive coverage will repair the damages to your car if you hit this deer.

Between 2005 and 2008 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that there were about 275,000 accidents in the United States that involved a vehicle hitting a deer.

Deer are fast and are easily hidden in the trees so they are hard to see until you are just about to come in contact with them.  So if you do hit a deer what do you do and is there any way of preventing it from happening in the first place?

Or more importantly, does car insurance cover hitting a deer?

What to do After Hitting a Deer

Once you have hit the deer pull over to the side of the road to make sure that everyone in your vehicle is okay and then call 911. Do not try to move the deer out of road or you could be hit by a car yourself. You also never know when a deer is actually dead or just stunned and if you try to move them and they are only stunned they may end up injuring you if they wake up.

Never take the deer home with you!  This is considered poaching in most states, especially if you do not have a hunting license and it is not deer season.  If you want to take the deer home as a trophy and are caught you will be slapped with a huge fine, lose your hunting privileges and Fish and Game will seize your trophy.  It’s just not worth the risk.

What Insurance Covers Hitting a Deer

Even though you have had a “collision” with a deer it is actually your comprehensive insurance that will cover the damages to your vehicle, not your Collision coverage. This is good news for most as this also means that you will only have to pay your Comprehensive deductible and most people carry a lower Comprehensive deductible than they do Collision deductible. Other coverages may also be available for you in this case, like towing and rental car coverage, but only if you purchased these coverages on your policy in advance.

Tips to Decrease your Chances of Hitting a Deer

An accident involving hitting a deer is just something cannot be avoided most times, but here are some ideas that may at least decrease your chances of hitting one:

  • If you can, do not drive after sunset.  Deer are out in the highest numbers at night.  Also combine this with the interference in vision from the setting sun and the lack of light at night and your chance of getting into an accident with a deer increases.
  • Don’t assume that it is only the one deer.  Most deer travel in herds so keep on the lookout for more.
  • If a deer is running alongside your vehicle, get in front of it to prevent it from having the chance to jump out on the road in front of you.
  • If the vehicles in front of you are slowing down keep an eye out for what they are slowing down for.

Hit and Run Insurance

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 03/20/2011

What covers a hit and run accident on your insurance policy, and steps to take if you’re a victim in a hit-and-run accident.

Hit and Run Insurance Needed for Damage Done to This Car
The not-at-fault party is often left paying the damages because of a hit and run driver.

If you look at your insurance policy carefully there are no coverages that actually say “hit and run insurance”, this is because there is no insurance coverage available that exclusively covers hit and run accidents.  The damages caused by a hit and run accident are instead covered under either your collision coverage or, if you purchased it, your Uninsured Motorist coverage.

Hit and Run Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If you are in a Hit and Run accident, Uninsured Motorist coverage covers damages to your vehicle and also bodily injury done by uninsured drivers, underinsured drivers and hit and run drivers.  This coverage is an optional coverage on an insurance policy in most states so don’t assume that you have it on your policy.  Uninsured Motorist coverage also has limits on how much they will pay out for damages to your vehicle and may not cover the total cost of repairs.

Talk to your insurance agent if you feel that you need to have this coverage and also to find out what exactly your insurance company covers under this coverage.

Hit and Run Collision Coverage

Your Collision coverage acts as your safety net in the case that you do not have Uninsured Motorist coverage on your policy and are in a hit and run accident.  You purchased Collision coverage to protect you from having to pay out a lot of money to fix your vehicle if it was damaged and now after all the of the premiums that you have paid, the coverage will kick in to do what it was purchased for.  This doesn’t mean that nothing more will come out of your pocket though.

In the case that the other party cannot be identified, the insurance company is not going to be able to recoup any of the money that they are going to be paying for the damages to your vehicle so you will be responsible for part of that cost in the form of your Collision coverage deductible.  If the at-fault party is later identified, the insurance company will include the amount that you paid out of pocket for your deductible in the recovery amount that they pursue the other party for.

If you are the one that caused the accident and are later found after you leave the scene of the accident, the damages of your vehicle will also be covered under your collision coverage.  The damages to the other party’s vehicle will be covered under your liability insurance, just like it would for any other accident.  The difference with a hit and run accident caused by you is the legal issues you will have from the criminal charges that will be filed for leaving the scene.   In addition, both your driving record and your insurance record will be marked with a Hit and Run accident.

Identifying a Hit and Run Driver

  • Call 911 immediately after an accident and describe the fleeing vehicle to the dispatcher and which way the vehicle fled.
  • Write down the other person’s license plate number.
  • If you have a camera within reach take as many pictures of the other vehicle that you can as it leaves the scene.
  • If you do not have a camera, write down every little detail that you can remember of the car and the driver.  If you wait until later your memory is not as good and you may not remember an important detail or your brain will fill in details of its own that are not true.
  • Always file a police report in the case of a hit and run accident.  This will protect you legally and once provided to the insurance company will keep the accident from getting listed as an at-fault accident on your record.

When to Drop Car Insurance

Written by W. Lane Startin. Posted in Research Last Updated: 03/09/2011

How to drop car insurance, dropping a car you’re no longer driving, switching companies, and what to do if there’s a problem.

When this happens, it's time to drop your car insurance.

Much is written on how to get car insurance in the most expensive manner possible. However, little is out there on when to drop car insurance, and how to do it.

It’s a relatively simple process, but it’s not always straightforward. The most important part about dropping car insurance is to keep good records.

How to Drop Car insurance

Logically, the main reason to drop car insurance is when you’re no longer driving the car in question. This can be for any number of reasons including you’ve sold or otherwise transferred ownership of the car, if the car is no longer driveable due to a prior accident. The other reason to drop car insurance is if you’re switching companies. What you don’t want to do is simply assume your insurance will cancel itself. You have to be proactive.

Car insurance is typically paid 30 to 45 days in advance. By simply letting your coverage lapse, you’re effectively covering a car you’re not driving for that period of time. Regardless of whether you have a personal or commercial policy, you want to let your agent and company know of the change ASAP.

Dropping Insurance on a Car You’re No Longer Driving

When dropping car insurance, make sure you inform your agent of the make, model and VIN of the car in question so it matches up with his or her records. Tell them the exact date you wish to no longer cover the car as well so you can be refunded correctly. Agents add and drop vehicles all the time, so don’t feel like you’re putting them out with your request — after all, it’s their job.

If your car is totaled in an accident it may (and should be) be dropped automatically, but don’t simply assume it is. Consult with your agent to be sure. Also make sure that any other vehicles you have stay on the policy. It’s a good idea to review your coverages periodically even if you don’t have any problems or changes.

Changing Companies

In an instance where recent car insurance advertising campaigns actually speak the whole truth, car insurance indeed does not have to be canceled at renewal. You have the right to cancel at any time for any reason or for no reason at all. To that end if you find a better deal, there’s no reason not to go for it.

Canceling mid-term can be a bit messy, however. You won’t get a refund on your unpaid premium from your old company right away, but your new company will expect its startup premium right away. Be sure you have enough to compensate for this

If You Have Problems

If you find your agent is unresponsive to your car insurance cancellation requests you can contact the company directly. If necessary you can fill out the consumer sections of an “Acord Cancellation Request/Policy Release” form and present it to the company. This form is a generic insurance cancellation form all companies and most agents are familiar with. Failing that, you should take the matter to your state insurance commission, however that should be an extremely rare occurrence.

What Makes Auto Insurance Go Up

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 03/07/2011

The drivers and vehicles listed on your policy, new driving statistics, and other things will affect your auto insurance rates.

What Makes Auto Insurance Go Up and More Money out of your Pocket

Certain changes to your auto insurance will mean more money paid by you

People already don’t like paying their insurance premium so when something happens to make that premium increase it makes it all that much worse.  There are many different things that you can do to try and keep your premiums down as low as possible, but let’s take a look at some of the things of what makes auto insurance go up in the first place.

Drivers Make Your Auto Insurance Go Up

The drivers on your policy and their driving records play a big part in the premiums that you pay for your insurance.  Any negative changes such as an at-fault accident or traffic violations added to these records can make your auto insurance go up.   Once a driver reaches a certain age (sometimes even over 50), they are considered an increased driving risk and will cause an increase in insurance premiums.

Drivers being added to your policy can also increase your premium.  Added drivers mean addition time that your vehicles will be on the road exposed to a potential accident, it also means that you will most likely be adding a new car for that new driver, which also will increase your premiums.

But, the steepest increase that you will see in your insurance premium is when you add a new teen driver.  These drivers are inexperienced and are still learning how to be a responsible adult behind the wheel.  They are also the driving group that has the highest number of accidents per year and insurance companies charge high premiums for them to try and collect as much money as possible to cover the accident that they will most likely have.

Vehicles Make Your Auto Insurance Go Up

Adding a new vehicle to your policy will increase your premiums if one of two factors exists.  One, you are adding a vehicle to your life instead of replacing an old one.  Even with a multi-car discount the premium will still increase due to the additional risk that has been added to your insurance policy.

Two, the new vehicle that you now have is newer and/or more expensive than the one you are trading in for it.  New and more expensive vehicles generally cost more to fix and the insurance company wants to make sure that the premium that they collect is appropriate compared to the cost of repair in the case of an accident.

Statistics Make Your Auto Insurance Go Up

Insurance companies are all about the statistics.  Which driving group is statistically more likely to have an accident?  What vehicle statistically causes more damage when in an accident?  So when new statistics come out that a driving group or a vehicle was a higher risk than first thought, insurance companies adjust rates.  What this means to you is that if you are one of those drivers or own one of those vehicles, you will see an increase in your premium at your next renewal.

Provisional Car Insurance for Drivers with Provisional Licenses

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Definitions, Research Last Updated: 03/23/2011

What license requires provisional car insurance, what it really is and how can you keep the rates lower for this type of coverage.

Application for a Driver's License

Applying for a provisional driver's license means you are ready to drive alone.

Provisional car insurance is a bit tricky.

Provisional insurance is not an actual insurance policy for a vehicle, it is extra coverage for a new driver that holds what could be considered a “learners license”.

The License that Requires Provisional Car Insurance

Provisional car insurance is for drivers that hold a provisional license.  A provisional license can be held by either a new teen driver or a driver that has had their unrestricted license revoked due to bad driving activity.  Because most provisional licenses are held by new teen drivers, that is the provisional license group we will concentrate on right now.

In the past it used to be that a new driver went straight from a learner’s permit to a driver’s license once they had reached a certain age or successfully completed driver’s education.  Today, a number of states require a new driver to earn a provisional driver’s license.

A provisional license adds a restricted step in between a permit and the freedom of a driver’s license.  It requires that the new driver gain additional experience behind the wheel without having to have a licensed driver in the vehicle like a permit, but with added rules that are not required with a regular driver’s license.  These can include rules such as: a driving curfew, driving during daylight only, or restrictions on who will be allowed to be in the car with the provisional licensed driver.

What Provisional Car Insurance Really Is

As we already discussed, provisional car insurance is not a policy in itself, it is just the insurance coverage that is available for a new driver with a provisional license.  It is needed because the driver with the provisional insurance is an increased risk for your policy and the insurance company wants to make sure that they are collecting the extra premium needed to cover the increased chance that one of your vehicles will now be in a car accident due to this driver.

Not all insurance companies have specific provisional insurance available to add, to find out how your insurance company will handle a new driver with a provisional license in your household contact your insurance agent.

Keeping the Rates Lower for Provisional Car Insurance

Adding a new driver to your insurance policy is expensive whether it is for provisional coverage or as a regular driver.  As new drivers are usually teens here are some tips on how to keep the rates down on your new driver.

  • Make sure that your new driver keeps their grades up to earn a good grade discount.
  • Enroll your new driver in an accredited driving course.
  • Notify your insurance company that your new driver has a provisional license and not a full privilege license.
  • If your insurance company insists on placing the provisional driver as a rated driver on one of your vehicles, have your new driver driving your oldest and least expensive vehicle – if the company will allow it.
  • Check to see if you can cover your new driver with non-owner coverage.  This coverage is for drivers that do not have their own vehicle and rarely drive your vehicle.

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