Hit the deer, not the tree

November 17, 2012

It sounds ruthless, but don’t you think the clueless animal ought to shoulder most, if not all, of the blame?

  POSTAGE  by Rob Stamp

When walking our two dogs through our densely wooded Manchester neighborhood, it’s not unusual for us to come across a deer or two or three. I’m in awe of the majestic creatures as much as anyone, but I have a suggestion for drivers that would likely have animal rights activists up in arms.

If you’re driving and a deer darts in front of you and you have the choice of hitting the deer or something else, hit the damned deer. Cold blooded? Perhaps. But here’s why I recommend this particular course of action.

Contact with animals or birds falls under the comprehensive coverage of your auto policy. Comprehensive claims aren’t usually held against a person the way accidents and traffic violations are.

Should you choose to swerve to avoid hitting the deer, then lose control and plow into a tree, a sign post, a fence, or another car, the resulting damage to your vehicle becomes a collision claim. And, even though it was caused by the stupid deer, you’ll still get blamed for it and likely surcharged for an at-fault accident at your policy’s next renewal.

Because the premiums for comprehensive are almost always less than they are for collision, a lot of folks have lower deductibles for comp claims. You don’t save as much by carrying a higher deductible on comprehensive than you do on collision. For those people, their out-of-pocket cost for hitting a deer is less than it would be if they hit something else or rolled their car down an embankment trying to avoid taking out Bambi.

Sometimes these things happen so fast, you don’t have time to react. When you do, let’s hope you can avoid it without incident. But, if the inevitable presents itself in your headlights, don’t feel bad if you choose to splatter the deer. Your wallet may be glad you did.