A bit of a trying time this week do to my motor vehicle and a deer. Yeah, for the first time in my life I hit a deer with my car. Not an experience I’d recommend and I’d guess the deer was not too fond of it either. It was just after sunset, about 5:30 PM, and was only a couple miles from home. I was on my way to my local comic book store on my usual weekly trip when it happened. I had driven down my street, made a left, drove about a mile and bam. Hit a deer.

I have good vision. In my youth it was even better but it’s still really good. I’ve never had to wear glasses and see well at night. I write that because I usually see deer in and around the road. This one came out of the dark at a full run and I barely caught him out of the corner of my eye before I hit him. I was decelerating but there was absolutely no chance of missing him. Zero. We were just on intersecting paths and neither of us could stop. I can’t speak for the dear but it was a pretty startling and confusing experience for me.

I hit the deer with the car’s driver’s side front bumper. Or bumper cover as I find out they’re called now. Cars no longer have actual bumpers. Being that my car is a Civic that has a short hood the deer was surprisingly close to me as I hit it. I saw it clearly in front of me and then clearly go flying for six or eight feet. I was going about thirty MPH when I started decelerating and that’s better than 60 but that’s still going pretty fast. And I had no idea what to do after I hit the deer. It lay there for a moment and then got up and trotted off. I’m not sure if it lived long after that because that was a hard broadside hit it took. And before it got up I really had no idea what to do. If it just lay there and died in the middle of the road am I supposed to leave it there? Drag it off the road somehow? Call the police? I was glad it got up.

After that I still had no idea what to do. I decided to pull over on the nearest side street and inspect the damage. Inside the car I hadn’t felt much Impact but there had to be bent or broken stuff on the outside. I was on a dark unlit street so it was hard to see anything but I felt the front of the car and there sure were bumps and scratches. I wasn’t sure if I should go home or drive but decided to keep driving to the comic shop just the see how well the car worked. It drove fine. I wasn’t posotive if it was my imagination or not but one of the headlights seemed misaligned. When I made my first left and put on my blinker it was making that blinking noise too fast so I knew there was something wrong with my directional. Turns out the bulb broke on impact.

When I got to the comic shop I was a little freaked out. I still had no idea what to do. I had never been in an accident before nor had I ever had reason to call my car insurance company. I had no idea if car insurance covered deer. It’s just a bill I pay every six months. My friend, who I met at the shop, and I went out to inspect the car in the better light. Plus he had a flash light. I could see more damage now. The bumper cover was popped out of the quarter panel on the driver’s side. The hood was dented. Yeah, it would need to be taken care of.

The car was still driving fine when I got home and I was still a little freaked out. I called my car insurance company and they walked me through what I had to do. At first I was going to use a local body shop that a friend recommended. That would mean I’d have to set up an appointment to have my car inspected for an estimate, bring it a couple of towns over for the inspection, bring it back to local shop, and then have my insurance company cut a check to the shop or me. I’m not even sure which. I set up the inspection with them and then hung up. After about ten minutes of thinking about it I called them back and cancelled that inspection and set up another one through a program they told me about that I declined at first.

Instead of using a local shop I could use one of their official approved ones a couple of towns over (different town than the inspection shop) where they will inspect my car, make an estimate, and then have the shop fix it. The insurance company will pay the shop directly and guarantee the repairs since they oversaw them. Once I had a moment to think about it this seemed like the best idea. I called them back and they set it all up.

A few days later when my appointment was finally up I was amazed at the damage. It really didn’t look so bad. You could walk by the car and not really notice it but parts would have to be replaced to get it back to normal. All totaled it was the bumper cover, the hood, the grill, the compression foam (which is behind the bumper cover), and the left front quarter panel which would have to be replaced. It was $2800 worth of damage. I though I was on the hook for a grand of that but it turned out to not be collision damage but under the comprehensive part of my policy and I have to pay $250. That made my money worries a little easier.

So as I finish writing this my car is still in the shop. It takes a little while to fix these things. I hope the deer made it through okay but who knows. What I know is that I don’t want to hit any more of them. It’s too expensive.