October 31, 2016

Drivers urged to be alert during November when deer are most active


Missouri drivers should be on the lookout for deer on roadways in November, the peak of deer mating (rutting) season. More deer accidents occur in the fall than the rest of the year.

The Missouri Department of Insurance encourages you to review your auto insurance policies since not all policies cover damage caused by deer strikes. Comprehensive coverage is optional insurance but it does cover deer strikes. If you only have collision coverage or liability coverage, your insurance carrier will not cover damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with an animal. You should also consult your insurance agent to find out how much coverage you need. 

“We want to remind Missourians to be aware of their surroundings, to slow down and always wear their seat belts,” said Director John Huff of the Insurance Department. “Deer strikes can cause serious damage to your vehicle, and not all types of auto insurance policies cover deer strikes. It is important to review your policy and speak with your agent.” 

How to Avoid a Deer Collision

  • Deer tend to travel in herds, so if you see one, look out for more.
  • Keep an eye out for deer-crossing signs. Reduce your speed when you see a sign.
  • Deer are more active during dawn and dusk, so be extra conscious during these times and watch your speed.
  • Make sure your headlights are working properly. Using high beams can help you spot wildlife, but be considerate of other drivers when using them.
  • Stay focused while driving. Do not text, talk on your phone or allow passengers to distract you.

What to do After a Deer Accident

  • Stay calm.
  • If you can, move your vehicle to a safe place, like a highway shoulder, and turn on your hazard lights.
  • Stay away from the deer. A frightened or wounded deer can lash out and hurt you.
  • If you can't move your car or the deer 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.

Missouri consumers can call the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 with questions on deer accidents or go to the department’s website at www.insurance.mo.gov for additional resources.