Commissioner Ted Nickel Cautions Drivers as Deer Activity Increases
Madison, WI—Commissioner of Insurance Ted Nickel reminds consumers to review their auto insurance policy as the season of increased deer activity approaches.
"With deer mating season upon us and deer hunting season around the corner, drivers must take extra caution on the roads for bold deer movements," said Commissioner Nickel. "Generally, from mid-October through November deer tend to be less focused on their environment and may stray into the line of traffic. Without the appropriate insurance in place, drivers may be faced with a significant repair bill or possibly a totaled vehicle with no coverage."
Deer hits can add up to tremendous costs for Wisconsin drivers. Deer are the third most commonly struck objects in Wisconsin traffic crashes (behind other vehicles and fixed objects). According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, last year Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported a total of 19,976 deer vs. motor vehicle crashes.
Deer hits and other vehicle/animal 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.
Commissioner Nickel encourages Wisconsin's drivers to be aware of the increased chance of hitting deer in the coming months and take the proper precautions including the suggestions below:
- Be attentive in the early morning and evening hours; this is the most active time for deer.
- Pay close attention to deer crossing signs; they are installed in places where there are typically more deer.
- Wear your safety belt, stay sober, keep your headlights correctly adjusted, and use your high beams where possible.
- 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, brake firmly, don't swerve, 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 you hit a deer, do not leave your vehicle. The injured deer could hurt you. Try to get your car off the road and call the police.
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) publications such as
Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance can be downloaded by visiting the OCI Web site at
oci.wi.gov, ordered free from the agency by writing to OCI Publications, P.O. Box 7873, Madison, WI 53707-7873, or by calling 800-236-8517.
Created by the Legislature in 1870, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure that the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.