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Steer clear of deer this fall


Most deer-vehicle collisions occur during October and November when deer are active during the breeding season. Knowing how to avoid deer can prevent injury and vehicle damage.

The months of October and November continue to have the highest number of reported deer-vehicle collisions. In the past year, American Family Insurance received almost 28,000 claims for personal automobile collisions with deer in 48 states. These collisions can result in injuries and costly vehicle damage.

In the past year, American Family Insurance paid more than $140 million to customers who experienced animal automobile or motorcycle-collisions. This equates to an average cost of almost $4,800 per claim. The states that saw the most claims reported to American Family Insurance were Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota, which are also states with significant policy counts.

Drivers should follow these tips to stay safe this season:

  • Buckle up and stay alert. Always wear your seatbelt because 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.
  • 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 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.

Although most animal-vehicle collisions occur with deer, damage can also be caused by other animals. Rodents can cause significant damage by chewing on wires or creating nests in a car when seeking a source of heat during the colder months. In the past year, rodents, dogs, rabbits and other miscellaneous animals caused an average of over $2,000 in vehicle damage for American Family customers.

American Family Insurance receives hundreds of claims for domestic, farm and other wild animal automobile and motorcycle collisions every month. These tips can be applied to collisions with other types of animals, such as cows or moose, to keep you safe on the roads this season.


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. 232 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 General, Homesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.