Insurance agent discusses risks and costs of deer-related accidents

Insurance agent discusses risks and costs of deer-related accidents

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With the cooler weather moving in that means more deer will be out and moving on our roadways in Mississippi.

According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, our state averages more than 3,000 deer related rashes per year. This can be costly and even life threatening.

"For safety it's probably wise not to try and over compensate or avoid hitting a deer," Alfa Insurance Agent Steven Kelly said

Kelly said hitting a deer can cause extensive damage to your car, however, if you overcompensate to avoid the deer, you could cause a collision with another moving vehicle or a tree. This type of wreck could be more dangerous and end up costing you more because of an increase in your insurance premiums.

"It would be good for safety and your insurance to try not to veer or try not to react so harshly were you do run off into a ravine and hit a tree," Kelly said. "That can turn what once was a comprehensive claim into collision."

The difference between a comprehensive claim and a collision claim could cost you big bucks.

"I can speak for Alfa. Hitting a deer or an animal also would be comprehensive," Kelly said. "So, comprehensive is a coverage that technically shouldn't cause you a surcharge on your insurance."

Once a claim is made, insurance agents have to verify you actually hit a deer to prevent illegal claims from happening. Kelly said the best way to prove your damage is to make a police report.

There are ways you can minimize your chance of hitting a deer while driving. The Mississippi Department of Transportation said it's important not to swerve if a deer runs in front of your moving car. Also, take extra precautions when driving at dawn and dusk.

According to MDOT, about 20 percent of crashes occur in the early morning hours. More than half happen between 5 p.m. and midnight. Lastly, at night use high beams to illuminate the eyes of deer close to the road.

MDOT also notes it is critical to avoid distractions while driving and buckle up.