Sharing the Road with Deer - Part 2

A liability-only policy does not pay for repairs to the policyholder's vehicle. Liability coverage is required by law and pays when the policyholder is legally responsible for another person's crash-related damages. A vehicle owner with liability-only coverage must pay vehicle repairs for a deer-related crash out-of-pocket.

The vehicle owner's auto policy must have physical damage coverage to share deer-related repair expenses with the insurance company. Physical damage is divided into two separate coverages - comprehensive and collision. Both typically have deductibles. A deer accident is covered as a comprehensive claim if there is evidence of direct contact with the deer. Without this, the cash is a collision loss. Comprehensive claims generally do not affect policy premium. A surcharge is likely following a collision loss. Check with your local auto insurance agent for specifics.

Be familiar with policyholder duties following a loss. Among these responsibilities:

  • Report the loss to the local agent or company representative as soon as possible if you have appropriate coverage.
  • Check your deductible as this is how much you must pay out-of-pocket to repair the vehicle. The comprehensive deductible applies if you hit the deer. Otherwise, the loss is a collision claim.
  • Cooperate with the claim adjuster's investigation. Insurance adjusters are tasked with confirming insurance coverage applies to the loss, assessing damage, determining how the crash occurred and authorizing a claim settlement. Provide credible, detailed information to speed the process.