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Steer clear and watch out for wildlife collisions this fall

10/23/2015 11:26:22 AM

For Immediate Release

(Saint Paul, MN) Motor vehicle accidents involving deer tend to peak in the fall months. Between 2012 and 2014, nearly 7,000 vehicle crashes with deer were reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

As Minnesotans hit the road for hunting and other fall  activities, the Minnesota Department of Commerce offers tips to help motorists stay safe. Before a collision occurs, make sure you're protected with the right type of insurance and understand how to prevent animal accidents.

“Deer accidents can be dangerous and costly,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “These accidents can sometimes be avoided by exercising caution during peak times when deer are most active. Many times these accidents are unavoidable, but you can avoid being hit with a large repair bill by checking your insurance in advance.”

Are You Covered? 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that damage caused by deer accidents results in over $1 billion in annual insured losses. 

Damage to a vehicle from a collision with an animal is covered under an auto policy's optional comprehensive portion. If you only have collision or liability coverage, your insurance carrier will not cover damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with an animal. If you want to make sure your vehicle is covered for animal collisions, contact your agent or insurer to discuss adding comprehensive coverage to your policy. 

Filing a claim for an accident covered by your comprehensive coverage means you will still need to pay a deductible. After that, your insurer will cover the costs of the claim up to your policy limits.

What to do after an animal accident 

Some accidents are unavoidable. Knowing how to react in the event of an animal collision can help keep you safe. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety advises that if you can't avoid a collision, try not to swerve. If you swerve, you could lose control and hit a tree or veer into oncoming traffic. After a collision with an animal, follow the steps below:

  • Stay calm.
  • If you can, move your vehicle to a safe place and turn on your hazard lights. This may mean pulling over to the shoulder of the highway.
  • Stay away from the animal. A frightened or wounded animal can lash out and hurt you.
  • If you can't move your car, or the animal carcass is blocking traffic, alert the authorities so they can clear the roadway.
  • Document the incident by taking photos of your vehicle damage, the roadway and any injuries sustained.
  • Check to see if your vehicle is safe to operate. Check for leaking fluid, damaged lights, loose parts or other safety hazards. When in doubt, call a tow truck.

Commerce is here to help

Call our Consumer Services Center at 651-539-1600 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3602 (in Greater Minnesota) if you have any questions or if you believe you have been a victim of a scam or fraud. 

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