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Consumer Alert: Be Aware of Wildlife on the Road

Contact: Yeraldin Deavila, Public Information Officer
Phone: (775) 600-5013
E-mail: ydeavila@doi.nv.gov  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE– March 19, 2021

Consumer Alert: Be Aware of Wildlife on the Road

Spring migrating season can increase wildlife-vehicle collision frequency.  

Carson City, NV – The Nevada Division of Insurance (Division) is reminding consumers to be alert when driving to avoid wildlife collisions during the springtime when certain animals migrate in search of food after the winter months.

“The increase in active animal population potentially increases the risk of hitting an animal with a vehicle while driving in wildlife-prone areas,” said Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson. “Wildlife-vehicle collisions are not only dangerous and potentially fatal, but they can also have serious financial consequences without adequate auto insurance coverage.”

Are you covered?

Damage to a vehicle from a collision with an animal is covered under an auto policy's optional comprehensive coverage. If you only have collision or liability coverage, your insurance carrier will not cover damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with an animal.

Call your insurance agent or company if you are not sure if you have comprehensive coverage or if you would like to purchase this optional coverage.

Driving safely in wildlife-prone areas:

Obey all speed limits, traffic signs and regulations.

Wear seatbelts and limit distractions while driving.

Heed animal warning signs. Be alert for the potential of wildlife, particularly where wildlife warning signs are posted.

Actively scan all sides of the road as you drive and look for any signs of wildlife.

Slow down or otherwise adjust driving speeds if necessary to help reduce the chance of impact of an animal collision.

Remember that many accidents are not due to colliding with wildlife but are the result of driving into another car or truck in the opposite lane while trying to avoid colliding with the animal.

Herd animals such as deer and elk travel in groups. If you see one deer, there is a strong likelihood that others may be nearby or in other locations along the road.

Use your vehicle’s high beams at night to view the roadway ahead when there is no oncoming traffic.

What to do you if you hit an animal:

Don’t try to swerve to avoid hitting an animal because you could lose control and hit a tree or veer into oncoming traffic. If you swerve and hit another object, your insurance carrier may not cover the damages to your vehicle. If you do hit an animal:

Stay calm.

If possible, move your vehicle to a safe place and turn on your hazard lights.

If you can't move your car, or the animal 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. These accidents often occur at night and in remote areas with limited cellphone service, so it is important to gather as much information before leaving the scene. This will also help adjusters review the extent of the damage.

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.

Call your insurance carrier to file a claim.

The Division encourages everyone to visit its website at https://doi.nv.gov/Consumers/Automobile-Insurance/ for more information about auto insurance including a Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance Rates that can help when shopping for auto insurance.

State agencies, including the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), have worked together on projects across the state to help reduce vehicle-animal collisions, improving safety for drivers on state roadways and migrating wildlife. NDOT has installed wildlife/livestock fencing on numerous interstates and highways. Agencies have partnered to strategically install wildlife crossing across the state, including nine crossings on I-80 and U.S. 93 north of Wells in northeastern Nevada to reduce potentially dangerous vehicle-animal collisions. Such crossing structures with fencing can reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by as much as 95 percent, saving both human injury and property damage that cost American taxpayers over $8 billion annually.

About the Nevada Division of Insurance

The State of Nevada Division of Insurance, a Division of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, protects the rights of Nevada consumers and regulates Nevada’s $18 billion insurance industry. The Division of Insurance has offices in Carson City and Las Vegas. In 2020, the Division investigated more than 2,300 consumer complaints, answered over 10,000 inquiries, and recovered over $4.5 million on behalf of consumers. For more information about the Division of Insurance, visit DOI.NV.GOV.

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