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  Article Posted On: (02/11/2015)
  SAINT PAUL – Do you know if your auto insurance covers you if you hit a deer? Last year there were over 2,000 deer-vehicle crashes across Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds consumers to check their auto insurance policies to make sure they have coverage for deer hits.

"Hunting and harvest season has deer on the move," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “If you don’t have the proper auto insurance and you hit a deer, you could be faced with a large repair bill or, worse, a totaled vehicle with no coverage."

Deer hits and other animal-vehicle collisions are covered under the comprehensive coverage of an auto policy, sometimes referred to as "other than collision." This optional coverage is found in the section entitled "Coverage for Damage to Your Auto." Comprehensive coverage provides financial protection beyond that of collision coverage, including hail, theft, falling objects and deer hits. Drivers should call their insurance company or agent and check their policies to see if they have comprehensive auto coverage.

Deer hits can add up to tremendous costs for Minnesota drivers. The National Transportation Safety Administration estimates that deer-vehicle collisions cost approximately $1 billion per year in the United States. Between 2011 and 2013, over 7,000 deer-vehicle crashes were reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Tips to avoid deer/vehicle crashes

Stay safe and vigilant on the road, and make sure you have the proper insurance in place in case an accident does happen. The Commerce Department urges Minnesota drivers to be aware of the increased chance of hitting deer in the coming months and take the proper precautions.

Follow these tips from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to avoid deer-vehicle crashes:

Be especially cautious in the early morning and evening hours; deer are most active during these times. Buckle up, drive at a safe speed, and stay sober. Keep your headlights correctly adjusted, using your high beams where possible. Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. If anything looks slightly suspicious, slow down. If you see a deer near the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn; some suggest also flashing your headlights to scare the deer away. If you see a deer in front of you, don’t swerve. Brake firmly, stay in your lane, and bring your vehicle to a controlled stop. It is better to hit the deer than to swerve and lose control of your vehicle and risk rolling over or hitting a tree or oncoming traffic. If a deer is struck but not killed, keep a distance as deer may recover and move on. A hurt deer could injure you. Report the incident to local law enforcement. 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 about your insurance or if you believe you have been a victim of a scam or fraud.

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