16:47 PM

It’s that time of year – watch for deer


Most deer-vehicle collisions occur during October and November. Knowing what to do can help drivers prevent injury and vehicle damage.

Drivers are reminded to stay vigilant as the risk of deer-vehicle collisions increases during the months of October and November. Deer poses a major threat to drivers this time of year, and the financial cost of these accidents has gone up.

In the past year, American Family Insurance group customers had almost 40,000 claims for collisions with deer across 48 states, up from almost 34,000 in 2021. The highest numbers occurred in October and November, due to an increase in deer activity during this time of year.

American Family paid more than $200 million to customers over the past year for these deer-related collisions, and due in part to rising inflation costs, the average cost per claim increased from approximately $5,200 to $6,200. Although certain states have higher deer populations than others, drivers in all states should be vigilant when driving through wooded areas, particularly around dawn or dusk.

To avoid injury and costly vehicle damage, drivers should keep the following tips in mind:

To avoid hitting a deer:

  • Buckle up and stay alert. Most people injured in deer-vehicle collisions were not buckled up. Avoid distractions while driving, including your phone. Pay close attention to the road and surrounding areas at dawn and dusk, when visibility is low, and deer are more active.
  • Pay Attention to road signs. If you see a yellow, diamond-shaped sign with a deer on it you should be extremely vigilant. Areas with high deer populations often have road signs.
  • Expect more than one. If you see a deer cross the road, slow down and watch for others, as they often travel in groups.
  • Don’t swerve if you see a deer. If you see a deer on the road, brake and firmly blow your horn – only flashing your headlights may not be effective. Do not swerve if you are unable to stop. Swerving can lead to injury if you hit a tree or another vehicle.

What to do if you hit a deer:

  • Stay off the road and away from the animal. Move your car off the road, if possible, and turn on your hazard lights. Stay away from the animal because a wounded animal can become frightened and may act aggressively.
  • Report the accident. You may be legally required to report an accident to local authorities. State law may require an accident report if there is significant damage. This documentation will also be helpful when filing a claim with your insurance company.
  • Take photos. Take photos of your car and the accident scene if it is safe to do so. Stay off the road and away from the animal.
  • 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.

# # #

About the American Family Insurance group  
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 251 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The GeneralHomesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.