Harrisburg, Pa – Pennsylvania Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian, and State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick today reminded drivers of the higher risk of deer-related accidents in the fall and that insurance companies do not levy a surcharge can reduce car insurance premiums for such accidents.
“Late fall and early winter is the time when motorists are most likely to have a deer-related accident, and dawn and dusk are the peak times for deer activity,” Humphreys said. “Auto collisions with deer or other wildlife are considered a no-fault accident under Pennsylvania law, which means insurers can’t increase your premiums or add a surcharge to your premium after a deer-related accident, but that exclusion doesn’t apply to your car.” does not come into contact with the animal. Any damage to your vehicle caused by a wildlife accident is covered under comprehensive policy coverage.”
State Farm estimates that there were over 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims in the United States between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
According to State Farm, Pennsylvanians have a 1 in 57 chance of being involved in an animal accident, the sixth highest in the nation. PennDOT reported more than 5,700 deer-related accidents in 2021, up from nearly 5,600 in 2020. The 2021 accidents resulted in 1,255 injuries and 13 fatalities.
“Drivers can help reduce the possibility of a wildlife accident by slowing down and being cautious, particularly in areas where wildlife crossing signs are posted,” Gramian said. “It is also important to educate young or inexperienced drivers about increased game movements. Most importantly, your best defense in an accident is your seat belt. Always buckle up, every ride, every time.”
Drivers should consider the following tips from the American Automobile Association (AAA) to avoid an accident or reduce damage from a collision:
- Stay alert and pay attention to road signs while driving. Areas of high deer activity often have yellow diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer.
- Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. Generally, the light reflected from their eyes will give away their location, and if you turn on your high beams, the animal will often scurry away.
- Deer rarely travel alone; If one is seen, there are likely more, so slow down and watch for other deer to appear.
- Dodging away from animals can confuse them into not knowing which direction to run and can put your car in the lane of oncoming vehicles, so resist the urge to dodge. Instead, stay in your lane with both hands firmly on the wheel.
- If a crash is imminent, drivers should take their foot off the brake. During hard braking, the front end of a vehicle is pulled down, which can result in the animal running over the hood toward the windshield. Releasing the brake may protect the driver from a windshield impact as the animal is more likely to be pushed to one side of the vehicle or over the roof of the vehicle.
- Always wear a seat belt. The risk of injury when hitting an animal is much higher if the driver is not wearing a seat belt.
“First and foremost, slow down. When you’re driving at high speed, you reduce the time you have to recognize the situation and react to avoid the animal in the lane,” Evanchick said. “If you’re one of the many drivers who have run over a deer, don’t panic. Immediately stop in a safe place and assess the situation. If there are any injuries, your vehicle will need to be towed or the lane will be blocked; contact 911 immediately.”
In Pennsylvania, two types of accidents must be reported to the police: accidents that result in a vehicle being so badly damaged that it has to be towed from a scene, and collisions that result in injury or death. Minor collisions without personal injury can be reported to the police but are not required by law.
Drivers involved in an accident involving another vehicle must exchange license and insurance information with the parties involved and provide assistance if necessary.
To report a deer dead for removal from state maintained roads, call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
Consumers with questions about auto insurance may contact the Department of Insurance Consumer Services Bureau at 1-877-881-6388 or at www.insurance.pa.gov.
For more information about the Pennsylvania State Police, visit psp.pa.gov.
For information on deer-related accidents by county, click here.