Be in the know when on the road this deer season
American Family Insurance deer-vehicle claim payments rose 6.2 percent in 2016
The cost of deer-vehicle collision claims increased by more than six percent from 2015 to 2016 for American Family Insurance customers. Knowing how to react in these situations can prevent personal injury and costly vehicle damage during deer-vehicle crash season.
Drivers are reminded to stay vigilant this season as the risk of deer-vehicle collisions increases during the months of October and November. As always, deer pose a major threat to drivers this time of year, but the financial cost of these accidents has increased in recent years.
In 2016, American Family Insurance customers filed 30,186 deer-vehicle claims, resulting in an average claim payment of $3,494, which is 6.2 percent higher than in 2015. The increased cost is partly attributed to advances in car technology, which include features that are expensive to replace.
An estimated 1.5 million deer-vehicle crashes occur on U.S. roadways each year, resulting in thousands of injuries and multiple deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. With risk of injury or worse, and the rising cost of vehicle repairs, now is the time to get educated on highway safety during the autumn months.
Drivers can reduce the chances of injury and damage to their vehicle by keeping these tips in mind:
Stay alert. Check the road and roadside ahead, and actually look for deer. Pay close attention at dawn and dusk, when visibility is low and deer are on the move.
Take extra caution when driving through deer crossing zones; these are heavy traffic areas for deer.
If you see a deer on the road, brake firmly and blow your horn. Deer often fixate on headlights, so it may not be effective to just flash your lights.
If you can’t stop, don’t swerve. Swerving can lead to greater injury if you hit a tree or another vehicle.
If you see a deer cross the road up ahead, take caution and watch for other deer as they often travel in groups.
Always wear your seatbelt. Most people injured in deer-vehicle crashes were not buckled.
What to do if you hit a deer:
Move your car off the road, if possible, and turn on your hazard lights.
Contact authorities. You may be legally required to report an accident with significant vehicle damage, depending on state laws. This documentation will also be helpful when filing a claim with your insurance company.
Take photos of your car and the accident scene, but stay off the road and away from the animal. A wounded animal can become frightened and act aggressively.
Contact your insurance company to report your claim. Collision with an animal is covered under the comprehensive section of your auto insurance policy. Since comprehensive coverage is optional, be sure to check your auto insurance policy for specific coverages.
Fall is a risky time for drivers in deer-inhabited states, but knowing what actions to take can help you stay safe and avoid damage to your car.
About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group, celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2017, is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 315 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the Internet or by phone. Web www.amfam.com; Facebook www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter www.twitter.com/amfam.