November is the peak month for collisions between vehicles and deer. With this in mind, Virginia’s State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginia motorists to be careful, especially when driving at dawn or dusk and in areas where deer are prevalent.
“Deer are generally more active in November as a result of the mating season and other factors, and collisions are more likely,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham. “I urge all Virginia drivers to watch out for wildlife on the highways and to contact your insurance agent or company to determine if your policy provides coverage for this type of loss.”
Damages caused to the vehicle as a result of a collision with a deer or other animal typically are covered under the “other-than-collision” (also known as comprehensive) portion of the automobile policy. This covers such things as wind, hail and flood, as well as fire, vandalism, and theft. Drivers are advised to keep in mind that if they have a liability-only policy, the policy does not cover the vehicle for any damages it receives in an accident with a deer or other object.
One-half or more of all vehicle-deer collisions occur during the months of October, November, and December, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Increased development of traditionally rural and wooded areas, the transition from daylight saving time to standard time and reduced daylight hours, and increased deer activity during their October through December breeding season are among the factors that contribute to the increase in vehicle-deer collisions during the fall.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than one million car accidents with deer each year that kill as many as 200 Americans, cause more than 10,000 personal injuries, and result in more than $1 billion in vehicle damage.
To reduce the chances of hitting a deer, drivers are advised to slow down and use caution when they see one. If it is too late to avoid a collision with a deer, stay in the lane and slow down as much as possible to minimize damage. If there is a collision with a deer, notify law enforcement and the insurance company as soon as possible. Once it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and vehicle damage in the event of an insurance claim.
Source: Bureau of Insurance, Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)
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