Pennsylvania has consistently ranked as one of the top states for deer-vehicle collisions in the United States. In the 12-month period, deer collisions accounted for one-half of the total number of collisions on the road.
Deer collisions usually happen around October, November, and December which are the deer season. The cities that have recorded the highest collision records are Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.
With too many wild deer in Pennsylvania, deer collisions have become rather common occurrence. You could be driving up to work in the morning and see a deer crossing on the road. Unfortunately, deer collision damage can quickly add up and would’ve cost around $1,000 to $4,500 and even more. Let’s take a look at the most common damage that can be repaired after deer collisions.
Most Common Damages Resulting from a Deer Collision
Deer collision is not only dangerous, but it can result in an immense financial liability, especially for damages that are barely reversible. Moreover, the impact of deer collisions could be so strong that it can topple your car away causing injury to you and your passengers.
A deer collision could crack or shatter your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, fog lights and more. The best solution is usually a quick replacement of the housing covers and bulbs. Depending on your car’s lights and the extent of damage, you may need to install fog lights on the bumper since this is an area highly likely to suffer damage. Although a cracked headlight can still work, it is advisable to install a new one immediately to prevent burning out the bulb. Moisture can also seep into the headlight through the cracks, causing a short circuit.
Broken or cracked bumpers
A bumper is a metal bar that offers structural support against the impact of minor fender-benders. It is usually made of fiberglass or plastic but is the most likely car part to sustain damage after a collision. Some of the most common repairs include fixing shallow scratches and patching the bumper if it only suffered minor cracks. If the cracks are several inches long, your bumper may need to be replaced.
Broken or cracked windshields
When hit, a deer may be thrown against your windshield with the impact, causing it to crack or break. A broken windshield can limit your view of the road ahead and decreases your protection against external objects that may hit you while driving. Hence, it is very important that you schedule repairs right away. Whether your windshield requires fixing or replacement, make sure you vacuum all small glass fragments inside of the car to prevent further damage.
Vehicle hoods are made from various types of materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, steel, and aluminum. However, sudden and strong impacts can cause a dent in them. Since it serves as the main protection for your engine and other components under the hood, it is important that you have it repaired right away.
Engine and transmission damage
The most dangerous damage after a deer collision is under the hood and transmission. That is because a puncture to the radiator will often result in a cooling leak, which can damage the entire engine. Hence, it is vital that you have it checked right away. The difference between a deer collision and a car collision is that your car may still look okay after. But you may never know if the impact has caused fluid leakage unless you check it. Your vehicle’s transmission is located under the hood so any damage to it may be unseen after an accident. Depending on the damage, you may need a fluid change, flushing, rebuilding, or replacement.
Brake system damage
You may damage the brakes to stop abruptly after seeing a deer appear on the road. After a deer encounter or collision, you must bring your vehicle to the auto shop and have your brakes checked. To check, the following are some common signs of a damaged break system:
- The brake pedal is sinking into the floor, probably caused by a fluid leak
- Shaking or wobbling vehicle due to warped rotors
- Squeaking or squealing noise due to cracked pads
- The car is pulling sideways due to broken calipers
How much does it cost to repair a car after a deer accident?
On average, vehicle owners spend around $2,500 to $6,000 to repair damages caused by deer collisions with some accidents totaling the car. In the current economy, these prices are also rising, which makes the situation worse. One of the factors contributing to the surge in maintenance costs is the advanced technologies in today’s cars that help keep drivers and passengers secure. Things like airbags, sensors and collision-avoidance systems can be expensive to fix or replace, for example.
According to State Farm Insurance, the average reported cost per claim for hitting a deer increased nationwide by 6%, from around $3,900 in 2014 to more than $4,100 in 2018, before increasing again. Additionally, a driver’s comprehensive insurance should cover these expenses. Many drivers decide without having comprehensive coverage, forcing them to pay out of pocket.
To prevent an accident in the first place, you should avoid high-density areas where deer usually congregate after dark. Avoid roads with zig-zagging stretches, long straightaways, uphill corners, and sharp curves. These areas can create dangerous chokepoints where accidents may occur.
Does insurance cover these damages?
The answer depends on the type of insurance. Generally, your insurance won’t probably cover deer-related crashes unless you have comprehensive coverage. You need to understand your insurance policy especially if you live in locations with high deer-related accidents.
For example, if you have third-party liability insurance, you will only have coverage for damages against another person because of the collision. In the same way, collision coverage will not cover any form of damage caused by deer collision, but it will only cover the cost of repairing vehicles caused when you smash into a tree or another driver.
Vehicle damage from deer-related crashes are handled under a driver’s comprehensive coverage. To get covered, your vehicle must make physical contact with the deer. If you swerve to avoid a deer and you end up crashing into a tree, it will be under collision coverage.
If you’re only carrying the state’s minimum required coverage, you will not likely be covered for a deer accident. Most states require drivers to carry liability coverage, such as third-party liability. If you want comprehensive coverage, you should check with an insurance company.
Best Practices to Avoid Deer Collisions
Your chances of hitting a deer or another large animal go up significantly during the animal’s mating season, also known as rut. When driving in an area that is home to a significant animal population, you should always be careful and cautious:
- Constantly watch for deer or elk, particularly at dusk or dawn
- Slow down any time you see an animal on the side of the road
- Never swerve to miss a deer, as you may cause a collision with another car or a tree
While it may seem that the animals are stopped on the side of the road waiting for your car to pass by, remember that animals are notoriously unpredictable in how they will react to cars. In order to avoid a deadly collision or auto collision repairs, always drive slowly when you see animals on the side of the road. This is true for small animals like chipmunks and cats to larger animals such as deer.
To truly be safe on the road, you must always be aware of your surroundings and alert to any possible problems. Attaching a deer whistle to your car may help to stop animals from running in front of your car, but there is no fail-proof guarantee that will help you avoid accidents with large animals.
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Badell’s Collision has proudly served Chester and Delaware Counties with outstanding collision repairs since 2003. With locations in Aston and Malvern, we’re prepared to provide you with exceptional service no matter what kind of damage your car has endured. Stop by one of our shops or use our simple online estimate form. We look forward to helping you!