by Vicky Monroe
We’re careful drivers and go slowly on our country roads at night. In the three years we’ve lived out in the sticks, we’ve never hit a deer. But last night we were unlucky. A deer darted out into the road so fast that we didn’t see it coming, so we smashed right into it. Thankfully we didn’t sustain any injuries, and it didn’t seem like the deer was hurt too badly because it kept on running.
We were only two minutes away from home, but we pulled into the nearest driveway after we heard the loud thud, expecting our bumper to be toast. Luckily the body of the car didn’t seem to be damaged. Our headlight was smashed pretty badly though, and our car started making a squeaking noise during turns. We suspect it’s either a problem with the wheel assembly or the steering column, but we won’t know until we bring it to our preferred car mechanic, who can’t see us until tomorrow.
Our neighbors came down the driveway to make sure we were ok. Apparently, the deer had been hanging out in their yard and got spooked by their pomeranian, which is why it darted out into the road so fast. This incident has really made me think twice about driving at night. We’ve had a few close calls with deer, but we’ve always had enough warning to hit the brakes and avoid an accident. This time the deer was running so fast that I didn’t even see it and thought we had hit something on the road itself.
The Financial Side of the Accident
We don’t know exactly what’s wrong with the car yet, but I’m anticipating that the repairs will cost at least a couple hundred dollars. We have comprehensive insurance coverage, so filing a claim for this shouldn’t cause our insurance premiums to increase. However, the deductible is pretty steep at $500, so this is going to be an expensive trip to the mechanic even though we have coverage for deer accidents.
Although the body of the car looks okay to the naked eye, I’m sure there may be damage we aren’t seeing. After all, we aren’t car experts. If the car is totaled, my understanding is that the insurance company will pay out the cash value of the car minus our deductible. However, our car is only worth about $4,000. Luckily we have around $14,000 in savings in our car replacement fund. We were able to pad this account a bit more thanks to some bonuses my partner got after my last car replacement fund update.
You Never Know What’s Going to Happen
This accident has shown me that you never know what’s going to happen, so you have to be financially prepared for the unexpected. Even if you plan to drive your vehicle until the wheels fall off, you can hit a deer two miles from home and total your car. We’re lucky that we weren’t injured and we’re in a decent financial position to be able to replace this car if needed. But if this accident had happened a year or two ago when we didn’t have a solid car replacement fund saved up, we would’ve been in trouble.
I’m definitely going to make savings more of a priority going forward. This accident has hit home the importance of liquidity. If most of your money is tied up in home equity or retirement accounts where you can’t access it in an emergency, you can easily go into debt or drain your emergency fund due to incidents like this one.
Have you ever hit a deer? How did it impact your finances?
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.