What to Do When You Hit a Deer

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Apr 01, 2020 in Auto

4 min read

A deer jumps in your path when you’re driving. Here’s what to do when you can’t avoid the accident.


You hum along to the radio as you drive down the road. You think about what you’ll do when you get home, but then a deer darts out into your path. You slam the brakes, but it's too late. The impact rocks the car, and you stop. Now what?

Hopefully, the accident doesn't hurt you or any passengers. You can tackle the problem of the deer after you check on everyone. Next, follow these five steps after you hit a deer.


1. Turn on Your Hazards and Move to a Safe Location

Do what you can to alert other drivers and stay out of their path. Turn on your hazard lights, and if it’s dark, try to point your headlights at the deer. You don’t want anyone to hit it again.

If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road and away from the traffic lane. It's best to put your vehicle in reverse and move backward so you don't hit the deer again.


2. Call the Police and Explain the Situation

It’s very important to give local police the details of the accident. They walk you through what to do and help you find a safe ride home if your car is damaged.

On top of that, they take your statement about the incident (which you need for your insurance claim) and call an animal rescue group.


3. Document the Accident for Your Insurance Claim

Take pictures of the accident while you’re on the scene. This could really help support your insurance claim.

When you take these pictures, stay away from the deer. It could still be alive, and it might thrash its legs at you. Deer are powerful animals, and fear could drive them to hurt you.


4. Check Your Vehicle Before You Drive Away 

Do you notice major damage when you walk around your vehicle? You should have it towed, then.

You really won’t have a choice if the car is totaled. If it’s dark, ask to use the officer’s flashlight to get a better look at the damage. Don’t forget to check under the vehicle for leaks.

If your headlights are working and there is no danger in driving your car home, you should be okay to leave with the officer's consent.


5. Call Your Insurance Agent as Soon as Possible

The police report and your pictures could take a day to process and send to the insurance company, but it's never too soon to call your agent.

When you start the claim process early, you’re closer to getting coverage for the accident and receiving immediate roadside assistance. Your insurance agent will have a tow truck pick up the vehicle if the car is too damaged to drive.


What Not to Do When You Hit a Deer

The worst thing you can do is drive away from an accident. The deer you hit might still be alive, and it could get hit again by another vehicle. Plus, the damage to your car won’t be explained, which could lead to your insurance claim falling through.

Don’t panic! Stay at the scene and follow the steps listed above.

Pekin Insurance is here to help you, especially in your time of need. Anyone who has a personal auto policy with us can add Roadside Rescue, our 24/7 roadside assistance program available in all 50 states. Roadside Rescue is automatically included if you have comprehensive coverage!

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Talk to your local, licensed Pekin Insurance agent about how Roadside Rescue can help you when you hit a deer, run out of gas, get locked out of your car, and much more.


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