Pennsylvania had the second-highest rate of deer-car accidents in the U.S. last year, according to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. Most of those accidents occur in the autumn and early winter, with the highest chances for an encounter with a deer between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“Pennsylvania’s motorists should be on the lookout for deer every day of the year, but especially in November when the majority of accidents occur,” said Christopher Sloan, executive director of the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority. “In a state with as many deer-related incidents as we have in Pennsylvania, it’s important for consumers to know what their automobile insurance covers in terms of property damage and injury.”
Practical advice for Pennsylvania drivers:
- Pay attention to deer crossing signs, use high beams, and slow down to decrease the number of deer-car collisions, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.
- Buckle up every time.
- Understand the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage.
Collision coverage pays for damage when your vehicle collides with another car or stationary object. This includes damage caused by crashing into another car, backing your car into a pole, tree or hitting a mailbox, etc. (Source: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Consumer Alert)
Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your auto from almost all other losses other than collision. Covered losses under comprehensive coverage include the following: theft, fire, vandalism, weather-related losses such as hail or water, falling objects, damage caused by a bird or animal, and glass breakage. It pays for damage caused by things that are unpredictable or out of your control, like deer, car thieves and hailstorms.
- Know how to file a claim with your insurance company.
- If you are unsure about what your policy covers, call your insurance company to inquire.
“We want motorists to be safe on our roads and, if they have an accident involving a deer, to file their claims correctly,” advised Sloan. “Fraudulent deer-car claims can be the result of not understanding what a policy does and does not cover. Consumers should understand their coverage and the fact that every claim triggers a full investigation to verify the facts. If consumers file a false claim about an incident, there may be serious consequences.”