November 24, 2014 @ 12:00am

Here’s some bad news: according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, November is the peak month for deer-vehicle collisions. Even scarier is the startling statistic that one in every 100 drivers will hit a deer at some point in his or her life. In 2013 there were almost 120,000 deer collisions, 75% of which caused damage to a vehicle and about 25% of which injured the driver or passengers.

Don’t worry though – there’s good news, too. The first is that practicing safe driving techniques, such as driving at an appropriate speed, paying attention to road signs, being observant of your surroundings and being extra careful at night can greatly reduce the odds of a deer collision. The second is that there are two types of insurance that could cover the cost of your vehicle’s damage should you be unlucky enough to encounter a deer on the road.

However, as frightening and unpleasant as it seems, the safest option in the event of a deer in the road may actually be to just hit it. This is because swerving to avoid the animal often leads to loss of vehicle control, which could result in serious injuries. Should you collide with the deer, any damage to your car would fall under the comprehensive coverage, which applies to repairs made necessary by contact with a bird or an animal.

If you should hit something else avoiding the deer you would activate collision coverage. Collision coverage applies when your car hits another vehicle or stationary object – that means if you swerve to avoid colliding with a deer and instead hit a mailbox, tree or building, your insurance will shoulder the repair bill.

Something you should know.  Usually a comprehensive loss is a “non-chargeable” loss and generally does not affect future insurance premiums.  In contrast, collision losses are generally a “chargeable” loss and are considered an “at fault” incident with your insurance carrier.

Both comprehensive and collision coverage are optional - so be sure to contact your insurance agent to make sure you’ll be protected in the event of a deer-vehicle collision. Understanding your auto insurance policy is the first step toward keeping your family – and your wallet – safe this winter.

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