State Farm Will Believe You Hit A Deer When You Serve Them Venison Steaks

Sean hit a deer with his car a few weeks ago. We believe him, but his insurer, State Farm, doesn’t. It’s not like the deer, which disappeared into the woods, is going to stop by his agent’s office and testify. So they were going to use his collision coverage, which would result in an increase in his premiums or even cancellation for daring to use the comprehensive policy that he was paying for. But Sean is a lawyer, and he fought back.

On June 1, 2012, I struck a deer while my 2003 Ford Focus ZX5. It happened on a rainy evening, between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. as I traveled on a wet, winding, hilly road in the heart of Pennsylvania farm country. As always I was on the lookout for deer. Unfortunately, as I rounded a sharp curve, which also marked the crest of a low hill, I spotted a deer in my path, perhaps 10-15 feet away. I braked as much as I could without skidding and tried to steer around the poor creature. Unfortunately, though, my right front bumper impacted the deer’s right hind quarter. As I had been able to slow to approximately 20 mph, the bumper merely lifted the deer, tumbling its tail section onto the hood. Then the deer became airborne, flew off to my right, and then down a heavily wooded, overgrown hillside where it disappeared.

The impact was powerful. There was damage, though. The right front side of the hood was crumpled and the bumper appeared to have lost a small bit of paint. Deer hair clung to the bumper.

After doing a bit of research to assure myself State Farm (I am a 10+ year customer who has never made a claim) I filed a claim. There would be no rate increase because I had purchased comprehensive coverage. My collision policy would not apply.

Things went well and moved fast. I soon had the estimate, State Farm had arranged for a rental car, and the final approval would soon arrive.

Except that’s not what happened. The next day, I got an early morning voice mail from State Farm. Great, I would receive the final all-clear, to get the car to the body shop. Except that’s not what happened., Instead, the male voice stated there was no evidence my car struck a deer and, as a result, State Farm was going to process the claim under my policy’s collision coverage with its $500.00 deductible and promise of a huge rate increase or policy cancellation.

Obviously, there was a mistake. A quick phone call would clear it up. Except that’s not what happened. The phone call was quick, all right, because the rep quickly told me I was fibbing. So I asked to speak to a supervisor. After a few minutes on hold, the rep was back on the line telling me someone in authority would soon call me.

Then, no one called. After a few hours I called back. I actually reached a higher up. No joy. She told me I had not hit a deer. Rather than argue I told her to stop processing my claim and prepare for legal action. I am a lawyer. In PA, we have a law that penalizes insurance companies that act in bad faith towards their insureds. I invoked the law and hung up. At no point did any rep ask if I snapped a pic. No rep ever asked me to describe the incident.

Within a hour, a rep called back. State Farm would handle my claim under comprehensive, after all. But, said the rep, we know you did not hit a deer. So you’re calling me a liar, I asked? No, said the rep – it’s just your car did not strike a deer. But I did hit a deer. No you didn’t. So you’re calling me a liar? No I’m not. How do you know? Hair and guts would have been stuck to your car if you had hit a deer. Not even the wind an rain can wash it off. So you’re calling me a liar? No I’m not. I can’t do business with a company accusing me of engaging in insurance fraud. After the car is repaired. I’m cancelling all my policies – home, auto, work related, etc. That’s your prerogative. And you didn’t hit a deer.

I complained to my agent. He is trying to make me happy. I emailed him a picture of the car, I took the day after the impact. Deer hair is visible on the left side of the bumper. But it had disappeared by the time the appraiser came on the scene.
Lesson: Document, photograph, toss the carcass in the trunk if you have to. To State Farm, no hair or guts means there was no deer.

It’s sad that we need our own documentation beyond the adjuster’s under these circumstances, but Sean’s advice is true and useful. Take your own photos before leaving the scene, even if it’s just with a camera phone in the dark.

Comments

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    It was a dark and stormy night. . .

    These are not the first words your insurer wants to hear.

  2. Velifer says:

    Go tag another one. Do it right this time.
    Then you get your car fixed under comp and a freezer full of delicious delicious deerburgers.

  3. Scooter McGee says:

    Canceling my coverage with State Farm was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

    • Scooter McGee says:

      To clarify (cold meds are interfering with thinking), canceled coverage with State Farm and went with Amica. My premiums are slightly higher (especially after two collision claims in 2011, doh) but their service is amazing and I didn’t have a single issue with them with either claim. They even went after Enterprise when they tried to tell me tax wasn’t covered on my rental car coverage.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      My experience is so different from yours…I’ve been with them for almost 20 years now, nothing but praise. I once accidentally turned my car into a car-b-que and they sent me a check almost immediately. Husband walked into my agent’s offices with a receipt from a tow company and they cut him a reimbursement check without a single question.

      Maybe it’s because we’re great customers (very few claims, the car-b-que aside) who have bundled insurance through SF, but we love the service we get with them.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I’ve had State Farm for about 5 years and have never had any problems. Prior to that, I had USAA and Liberty Mutual.

        I’ve only had one claim ($7,000 when a tree fell on my car) and it was pretty painless. They’re also the only homeowner insurance company that will insure a house that is partially wired with K&T. USAA wanted a notarized letter indicating that all K&T had been removed. The only way I could do that would be to start punching holes in the walls.

      • Scooter McGee says:

        I had bundled coverage with them too, even their bank. Part of the problem was with my agent’s office, but also the customer service line. I called to question why something was handled as collision when it seemed more like comprehensive and was basically told that’s how it works. No real explanation. So when I canceled my coverage, I asked for a termination date of 5/11. My agent’s office put it in as 4/11 (I mailed the notice nearly two months in advance). Once I learned I was driving around without insurance via their website I called the agent’s office, who basically told me ‘you’re covered, we just don’t know how to make it reflect that.’ I ended up calling another agent and explained my situation, she gave me the number to somebody who was sort of a supervisor to agents. This fixed the problem quickly, but my agent and the customer service line didn’t seem to care to help with anything from the moment they got my letter. No attempts to save me as a customer either. Oh well, I’m happier with Amica.

      • CTrees says:

        My experience with State Farm is guaranteed to be atypical, but has been fantastic. My wife’s father owns a business, and has been getting insurance for said business and the company vehicles from the same agent for many years. Because of that connection, my wife and I (bundling our vehicle and renter’s insurance) are getting a *ridiculous* deal, and better service than we would anywhere else. When she hit a deer, it was one phone call for “okay, I’ll take care of it.”

        • Sudonum says:

          My ex father-in-law went to high school with our (former) SF agent. Had all of his business vehicles (30+) insured with him. That didn’t stop them from incrementally raising OUR rates every renewal period despite no tickets, and no claims. Called the agent, he said there was nothing he could do. We finally switched to Allstate (who had our homeowners) and saved considerably.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        You didn’t RTFA. He is a good customer as well, having been with them for 10 years and this being the only claim. It’s kind of sad that the definition of a good customer is to simply dish money out of your pocket into theirs without getting anything tangible in return. After 10 years, even with a collision like this, they have still most likely made a handsome profit from the OP.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          I did RTFA, thanks much. I should’ve clarified that like the OP, I’m a long-time customer but haven’t had the same bad experience he has…and I’ve had multiple claims (most not my fault). Heck, SF did a great job of getting me an emergency windshield fix at the start of a cross-country move. It’s too bad that the OP had such troubles.

        • Martha Gail says:

          He did RTFA, but was saying his experience has been nothing like that. Don’t be rude.

    • synimatik says:

      State farm is awful. I had the, for several years, then made one claim for my house. $1500 when a storm tore off some shingles and water came inside and did some damage. Immediately after that one claim, they tried to raise all my rates 20%. Dickbags.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        From what I’ve experienced, it’s little claims that make HO insurers jumpy, not the big ones. A few small claims in your CLUE report look worse than a single, giant one.

        • BBBB says:

          Another factor beyond the homeowner’s control is that the previous owner of the house might have made a claim 5 years ago and 7 years ago. To the view of CLUE, that makes it the third claim on the house even though the homeowner only made one.

          [There have been articles about people buying “tainted” houses that are uninsurable.]

    • dolemite says:

      I’d had State Farm for almost 20 years. I’d never had an accident. However, the cost of coverage kept going up. I drive a Hyundai and the wife drives a Suzuki (so, inexpensive cars). We have nothing on our records, but with State Farm, my coverage was $180 a month. I was told that would come down over time. The next bill, it was $195. What?? I called up Erie, and told them I was paying $1150 with State Farm. They assumed that was per year. I said, no, that’s every 6 months! The agent was shocked. She quoted me $1300 PER YEAR, for the same coverage. Needless to say, I’m with Erie now and saving almost 1k a year.

      • varro says:

        @dolemite – Looks like Aaron Rodgers failed you – Erie gave you the discount double-check.

    • BennieHannah says:

      I had mixed experiences with them. We were customers for over 25 years — and had all four cars (two adults; two teens) and our home (in hurricane alley, premium of $4000 per year) with never any claim) and they decided to cancel our car insurance because of two very very minor accidents, so we took canceled our homeowner’s policy too and took our business elsewhere and got better insurance at almost half the price. I’m kicking myself for not switching sooner.

      (I actually think they canceled us because our son was a victim of a hit-and-run as a pedestrian. The driver was eventually caught. Under no-fault, our son had to go through OUR insurance for compensation for his medical bills, and he used an attorney for this process because the accident happened out of town. Luckily our son is fine, but it still makes me angry that they dragged their feet paying the medical bills, were uncooperative with the lawyer and then canceled the policy of a crime victim.)

    • EllenRose says:

      I’ve had State Farm insurance for half a century, and haven’t had any problems. No two adjusters/managers are alike, so your results may vary.

  4. The Brad says:

    Think like an insurance company. You didn’t hit the deer, the deer hit you.

    • MercutioGeek says:

      It’s usually the truth, damn those things are dumb. Twice I have seen deer run in to a car, not out in front of it to be hit, they ran straight in to the side of a car!

      • erinpac says:

        My last car was totaled by a buck. We stopped in time; still probably 10 yards away from it. It charged the car anyways, smashing one headlight, denting the hood & two more large dents down the side of the car, and a smaller dent in the roof (small car) from smashing it’s head into the car, took off the side mirror and left fur and blood the whole way down the car, then ran away. Seriously, Darwin has missed the mark with that animal. You’d think once they hurt themselves they wouldn’t hit you anymore. :-(

    • Blueskylaw says:

      OP: I hit a deer

      State Farm: No you didn’t

      OP: Are you calling me a liar?

      State Farm: No I’m not

      OP: I’m telling you, I hit a deer

      State Farm: No you didn’t

      OP: Are you calling me a liar?

      State Farm: No I’m not

      Me: LOL

      • maxamus2 says:

        Yeah, I loved that part.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        While well deserved in this context asking someone who doesn’t believe you if they are calling you a liar is like throwing gasoline on a fire. It’s not going to make them believe you, do you want them to say yes?

    • keepher says:

      Actually that did happen to us. I think the deer more damage than if the husband hit it instead. It came off an embankment at full run right at dusk. It messed up the fender, hood, windshield and passenger’s side door, actually broke a hinge.

      Started the claim with State Farm and with no fan fare at all set everything up to have the truck fixed. No glitches other than they kept calling me when it was the husband’s truck and it was located 3 hrs away for work.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I actually did have a dog run into the street and physically ram into my car as I was driving. The dog had no perceivable damage, but I couldn’t get out of my driver’s door.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      This. Best advice ever. I once got a policy limits payout for injuries I sustained in a car accident from reading a short book on negotiating these things yourself. It took one well-crafted letter and a copy of an MRI. My dad was injured worse than I was and was only able to get 1/2 of what I did. It’s all about how you present the situation and word things. Now, I do feel like I deserved the full payout as I still have issues 12 years later and need surgery since my shoulder has gotten progressively worse over time. My other shoulder has problems now from overuse b/c I favor it. My dad deserved the same settlement, he just wasn’t able to negotiate it for himself. I let him borrow the book too . I wish I could remember what it was called.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      Funny, that’s actually happened to me. As in, a doe jumped out and hit the rear passenger panel of the car. The car was fine (it was a Saturn, those things were pretty much dent-proof). So, while I can say I’ve never hit any mammal or avian (or, to my knowledge, any reptile), I’ve definitely been hit by one.

    • Jawaka says:

      I’m not understanding why it wouldn’t be considered a collision. The driver was driving his car and collided with a deer.

  5. AldisCabango says:

    Strange, I’ve had 3 deer collisions 1 of which caused major damage to my car has I was doing 65mph at the time. I’ve never had a problem State Farm nor had my premiums increase. I guess maybe hiting a deer is Texas is better than hitting a deer in Pennsylvania.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      3???
      You dude are a hunter.

      • Draskuul says:

        Go drive between San Antonio and El Paso (I-10). I’ve had multiple times I’ve taken that route and counted over 120 dead deer in the road in a single trip. If you drive a route like that often enough I can certainly see having hit deer more than once.

  6. nightshade74 says:

    I’m just going to leave this here:
    http://www.badfaithinsurance.org/indexdetaillist.html

    • billybob9280 says:

      Good list, I used that list and bought Amica a few years back. Haven’t had to file a claim yet, so I can’t comment on their claim handling.

      • mszabo says:

        I’ve had one claim on my homeowner’s policy and Amica handled that one pretty easily. (UPS guy fell walking up an icy driveway in a snowstorm and sued me).

    • unsmith says:

      I would wonder where they get their data (couldn’t determine that from a quick site scan). It looks like the top “bad” companies are also very large ones, so if they are basing the bad rating on pure number of complaints/denied claims/etc then this is going to be skewed. If it’s on a percentage basis, then I’d give it more credibility.

    • Marlin says:

      That includes all types of insurance, not just car. Many if not all that do more than just 1 type of insurance may have differant ways of handling it. Better to break them into groups like auto, home, health, etc…

      But the list is better than nothing.

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      My insurer, USAA, is on the list I expected.

      /extremely happy

    • dush says:

      AIG is on the good list? I guess they’re good at insurance and not so good at investing.

    • NorthAlabama says:

      Thanks for the link, it already lists what I know from personal experience: avoid State Farm and Allstate.

      Alfa seems to be OK so far, but I haven’t had a claim in 8 years.

  7. drbtx1 says:

    When my car got totalled by a State Farm insured driver 20 years ago, the adjusters tried every trick they could think of to deny or delay my claim. Doesn’t look like much has changed. When I finally mentioned my neck was a little sore, they asked how much I wanted and wrote me a check right then and there.

  8. mad_hatter_md01 says:

    i learned that lesson when just before the end of last year, I ran into a dear and totaled my car. From there my life just went downhill because of it T.T

  9. canuk99 says:

    I was with the for 20 years no tickets no claims no accidents, then my 20 year old son had a near miss with a deer on a country road and a resulting accident, they dropped my policy… Thanks you SF. Nice knowing ya.

  10. justabunchofwords says:

    Apparently they do not teach writing skills where Sean went to law school. Maybe my expectations were too high, but boy was that difficult to read. I hope he has a good paralegal to do his drafting.

    • Fishnoise says:

      Maybe you just need a good paralegal to read it to you.

    • dolemite says:

      It may not have been perfectly structured sentences, but it was not hard to read. I noticed he is a fan of succinct sentences. The only real abnormality I noticed was: “The impact was powerful. There was damage, though.” That seems inconsistent. If there was a powerful impact, you’d assume there will be damage.

      • j2.718ff says:

        did you read this sentence? “After doing a bit of research to assure myself State Farm I filed a claim”

        • dolemite says:

          Now that one was bad, but you can’t condemn someone’s entire writing ability from a hastily constructed sentences where they may have trailed off in thought! *In general*, I don’t think it was that bad, barring a few specific instances.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      If he is driving a 2003 Ford Focus, he probably does not have a good paralegal.

    • ab0rtyretryfail says:

      I don’t understand why you found his note difficult to read. In my opinion, it very well may be the cleanest, clearest email ever posted on here. Yes, there’s a incomplete sentence and a typo in another, but it’s by leaps and bounds one of the most readable notes ever posted on here – especially given its length. It’s clear with concise, understandable sentences and proper punctuation. I wish more lawyers would complain to Consumerist.

      • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

        Except that’s not what happened.
        Except that’s not what happened.
        Except that’s not what happened.
        So you’re calling me a liar, I asked?
        So you’re calling me a liar?
        So you’re calling me a liar?

        • Herah says:

          The second time I read “except that’s not what happened,” I scrolled down expecting to see that all the comments simply said “except that’s not what happened” over and over.

          Except that’s not what happened.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Good news: I got an article published in the local paper. Bad news: the Consumerist editors are apparently moonlighting there. People are probably saying the same thing about me. : (

  11. tonsilpool says:

    In my younger days, I had State Farm Insurance for 3 years on my auto.

    They would send me a bill every year for my coverage and I would pay.

    After my 3rd year of no claims, accidents or tickets, they canceled me without any notice at all causing me to drive uninsured for 2 months.

    Also, they refused to tell me or my new insurance carrier “why” they canceled my policy except to say that it was not for “non-payment!”

    I have never trusted State Farm or Sears again and have never done business with either one since!

    • The Cupcake Nazi says:

      What does Sears have to do with this?

    • SteveHolt says:

      No one forced you to drive uninsured. In most places that’s a huge violation, which would result in the loss of a lot of your money.

      • tonsilpool says:

        Steve,

        You didn’t understand. They canceled me 2 months before my automatic renewal without telling me or the registry. Instead of getting my renewal in the mail, I got a 2 month’s rebate check.
        Not telling the registry is in violation of state law.
        Insurance companies got away with a lot more back in the 1960s.

  12. Shorebreak says:

    If I hit a deer in my Miata it’s probably curtains anyway. I’ll let someone else pick-up the pieces and sort-out the insurance problems.

    • NickJames says:

      If you hit a deer in your Miata your family would be the one sorting out the life insurance policy.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      My poor Miata got slammed into by another car, and the things are surprisingly durable. The windshield is small enough that the deer would just be deflected up and over the passenger compartment.

      Unless you end up under a truck (not unlikely) the Miata will treat you just fine. I must admit I prefer my current M3 convertible though.

    • dolemite says:

      The good thing about a Miata is it stops, turns, and does everything else better than pretty much any other car, so your chances of not hitting the deer in the first place are pretty good.

  13. Citizen says:

    To me it sounds like the body shop he took his car to reported that there was no deer damage on his car. I think his problem should be with them, not the insurance company.

    • milrtime83 says:

      He didn’t take it to a body shop. They sent a claims adjuster (State Farm employee) out to estimate the damage. The adjuster claimed there was no evidence of a deer collision so his issue would still be with State Farm.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Where does it say that?

        • Laura Northrup says:

          The next day, I got an early morning voice mail from State Farm. Great, I would receive the final all-clear, to get the car to the body shop. Except that’s not what happened., Instead, the male voice stated there was no evidence my car struck a deer and, as a result, State Farm was going to process the claim under my policy’s collision coverage with its $500.00 deductible and promise of a huge rate increase or policy cancellation.

          The claims adjuster evaluated the car before it was taken to the body shop.

          When my car was rear-ended and totaled, I had it towed to a body shop I had used before and liked. The extent of the damage wasn’t quite clear at the time. They sent the claims adjuster over to the shop before allowing them to touch it.

          • Citizen says:

            I dont see anything in there about an adjuster. I have never used State Farm. I hit a deer on May 30th I have progressive, I called them up they told me that I can either take it to them or to a local shop. I took it to the local shop, the shop called in the damage to progressive, they never sent a adjuster out. They went and processed the claim based on the info from the shop. The shop was not associated with progressive in any way.

            • somedaysomehow says:

              Reread this part Laura posted and maybe have another cup of coffee. Just a modicum of logic is necessary to understand this.

              “The next day, I got an early morning voice mail from State Farm. Great, I would receive the final all-clear, to get the car to the body shop. Except that’s not what happened., Instead, the male voice stated there was no evidence my car struck a deer and, as a result, State Farm was going to process the claim under my policy’s collision coverage with its $500.00 deductible and promise of a huge rate increase or policy cancellation.”

              The OP thought the phone call he got from State Farm was going to tell him he could take the car into the body shop now. However, State Farm was actually calling him to tell him there was no evidence the car had struck a deer. Ergo, the car has NOT been to the body shop yet, and State Farm has already looked at it. If they had not looked at it, they could not have commented on what evidence there was as the car had not yet been to the body shop. Reading comprehension. It’s a wonderful thing. ;)

              • Citizen says:

                “Things went well and moved fast. I soon had the estimate, State Farm had arranged for a rental car, and the final approval would soon arrive.”
                I don’t see how he could get an estimate if the car had not been to the body shop first. In my case with my deer I took the car to the body shop and dropped it off, came back and picked it that night, all the damage was marked on the car, a few days later I got a call from progressive that I could take the car back to the shop to be repaired.
                It could have happened your way, but it is not stated either way in the article, the OP just kinds of assumes that we know who looked at his car.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      That would be my guess too.

      My experience with State Farm has been as long as you take it to an authorized body shop (which is every body shop in my town), they don’t actually send an adjuster out. It’s up to the body shop to take pictures, document the damage, and send it to State Farm for approval.

  14. HomerSimpson says:

    Well maybe you should’ve gotten the license and registration of the deer that hit you. Then there wouldn’t have been a problem. Amiright?

  15. PhiTauBill says:

    Yeah, I think I would have lost it in an expletive-filled rage had my insurance company treated me like that. I’ve previously had State Farm without major issues (but also without any major claims). Sean, as a lawyer, you should check out GEICO. They get vociferously criticized for doing so, but generally take occupation into account, and give very good rates to lawyers.

    • incident man stole my avatar says:

      A Geico driver hit me 3 months ago and they fixed my car quickly however when it comes to the injury settlement they have been very difficult to deal with.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        There are a few books out there on how to deal with this. I used one and was able to get a policy limits payout. Basically, I would not speak with an adjuster about my injuries in depth over the phone when we had our accident. They try to get you to commit to saying it isn’t that bad, etc… I had a statement that I wrote down to read off to him the 2-3 times he called. I basically told him that the extent of the injuries was unknown at this time and that I would send them paperwork from my physicians when treatment was complete or when my doctor decided if there was a need for surgery and protracted treatment. He would try and try to get me to say more and I would just read the exact statement I wrote down every time. He even made random settlement offers of a few hundred dollars all the way up to a couple of thousand, which was a joke. I just kept reading that statement to him. After a year, the docs had done all they could do (I need surgery 12 years later though b/c I now have a rotator cuff tear, and now my other shoulder has issues from me favoring in and overusing it.) I wrote a nice letter, sent medical records from my orthopedic surgeon and physical therapy, I sent receipts from the maid I had to have come in to help with cleaning and laundry, I sent a detailed record of every single way the injury had negatively impacted my life, all of the events I had to miss out on, explained how my GPA was affected from missing school, being on pain meds, etc… That one letter did the trick.

        I got lucky b/c. The old insurance company didn’t pursue recooping our medical bills beyond a letter or two that we know of. I had new insurance b/c I got my first teaching job, so beyond taking us to court, there wasn’t much they could do to us. After years of paying money to them with pretty much zero claims, I wasn’t going to make it too easy for them. They still made plenty of profit off of us even after paying several thousand in Dr. bills.

        I guess what I am saying is don’t make it too easy on them. Play hard to get and they will take you more seriously. Don’t be too eager. For me, time was my friend. They didn’t so much as bat an eyelash at my written request.

  16. RandomLetters says:

    This is the fault of the appraiser. He made a call about what he thinks happened to the OPs car and thats the only evidence that State Farm is going to accept. That’s why when the appraiser comes to look over your car, you (or your representative) need to be there with your pictures and other evidence of what occured.

  17. rlmiller007 says:

    I was surprised. Being an attorney you should have realized you had no evidence proving you hit a deer.

    • SerenityDan says:

      “I emailed him a picture of the car, I took the day after the impact. Deer hair is visible on the left side of the bumper.” Sounds like evidence to me.

      • deathbecomesme says:

        Those coulda been dirty blonde curleys from his gf’s vajajay for all we know!

        /s

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        His mistake was not circling the deer hair in a photo program and writing deer hair next to the circle. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes you have to call attention to that kind of stuff.

  18. Sean says:

    I was in an accident with someone with SF years ago. They kept giving the runaround to me. At the time I was a 19 year old fresh out of high school. I called a family friend who was a lawyer. He sent a letter to them. I had a check within a week. It looked like the check was sitting around for a while. It was crumpled a bit.

  19. longfeltwant says:

    What does this sentence mean?

    “After doing a bit of research to assure myself State Farm (I am a 10+ year customer who has never made a claim) I filed a claim.”

    Is there a missing preposition in there somewhere? or maybe punctuation?

    • Bodger says:

      I believe it t goes along with “On June 1, 2012, I struck a deer while my 2003 Ford Focus ZX5.” to form the seldom-seen post-perambulating subjunctive disparaging phrase.

  20. JGB says:

    I hit my first deer last October. Liberty Mutual could not have been nicer about it. My car was totaled (as was the deer).

    There’s a reason they are called ‘Snake” Farm.

  21. unsmith says:

    I don’t understand insurance company behavior like this. You purchase an insurance policy, one most states require you to have, and if you have the nerve to use it the company threatens to cancel it. It’s one step removed from extortion.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Name of the game. You didn’t really think they were looking out for you, did you?

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It’s a product that you’re legally required to purchase. They all provide roughly equal terrible service, knowing it doesn’t matter. It’s a zero sum game, for every person that gets pissed off and leaves, they’ll gain another person who is equally pissed at a different company.

    • drbtx1 says:

      The lobbyists the insurance companies hired to encourage legislators to draft those laws were expensive! How can they possibly afford to pay legitimate claims as well?

  22. CrazyEyed says:

    I’m a Progressive customer. No issues here and couldn’t be happier.

  23. Bodger says:

    A lawyer driving a 2003 Ford Focus? C’mon. Tell me another…

    • human_shield says:

      I believe it. Most lawyers end up out of law school with six figure student loan debt and a job pushing paperwork for other more successful lawyers.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        This is what the new income based repayment is for (not income sensitive, but income based.) You refinance for 30 years. They base the payment on a percentage of your salary. It continues to be based on a percentage of your salary. After 25 years, the balance is forgiven. So, someone who doesn’t make much but took out a huge loan, could very well end up paying back only 30% of their loans. Teachers in public and non-profit schools are forgiven after 10 years as are other public service workers. I am still working on my master’s but will get the 10 year plan. I will pay back the same amount no matter how much I borrow.

        http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/IBRPlan.jsp

        • longfeltwant says:

          Wow, that is a terrible, terrible idea. That’s just an incentive to get an art history degree from Harvard and then become a counter jockey. You just made me aware of my new least favorite government program.

        • Captain Spock says:

          Yeah thats awesome… for my 10,000 dollars in FEDERAL loans, that doesn’t count my 60,000 in PRIVATE loans. My parents set up the loans when I was 18, no input from me.

    • VintageLydia says:

      Do you know how expensive it is to get your JD? Similar to a doctor. Very few lawyers are filthy rich until decades into their careers.

    • dolemite says:

      Heh, I thought that too. Maybe once his debts are all paid, he can get that Bimmer.

    • Free Legal Advice! says:

      I drive a 98 Camry or a 04 Sienna, does that mean I need to turn in my bar license?

    • varro says:

      2001 Subaru Impreza Outback here.

      Granted, I represent individuals, not Wall Street firms or large corporations….

    • who? says:

      There are lots of lawyers that don’t make much money. And lots of people who make plenty of money, but choose to spend it on things besides cars.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      I drive a shit car even though I can afford better. I don’t bring anything into the city limits of Philadelphia that I want to see in one piece ever again, and that is no exaggeration. I always thought it would be a fun to make a video game of driving in PA: crack addicts trying to smash your window for your change, lanes than end and streets that dead end with no warning, ice, and yes, deer.

  24. beprof says:

    As someone who’s totaled three cars in deer collisions in one year on what may very well have been that very road in Central PA, all with State Farm insurance, let me give you a few pieces of advice that I got from my Agent:

    First, call the State Police. They’ll file a report and make sure that PennDOT and/or DEP (and/or the utilities, fire company, etc.) come out to clean up the mess. That police report and all those official reports and witness statements from the folks on the scene will go a long way towards getting your claim through.

    Second, call your Agent before you call Claims, especially on deer collisions. The Claims folks are usually city folk who may have never seen a deer let alone had a close, personal encounter with one at 55 MPH. An Agent, on the other hand, is usually local and has probably filed a couple of these claims himself and can definitely help grease the wheels with corporate.

    Third, if you need a tow and the driver asks, let him have the deer. As long as the internal injuries on the animal aren’t too catastrophic, it is still quite edible and your tow truck driver will greatly appreciate it. As an added benefit, it preserves the evidence of the collision… at least for a day or two until he can have it butchered… and it greatly predisposes the driver to give a statement in your favor to the Adjuster.

    All three of my claims went through without much question at all and that’s without any photographic evidence from the scene at all and nothing more than the afore mentioned reports and statements. Admittedly this was a while ago (no photographic evidence from the scene because the none of us had cell phone cameras yet.) Your mileage may vary. I am not a Lawyer. This is not legal advice. Consult a physician before begging this or any other exercise program.

    PS – Another tip: If you live in Central PA and have to drive where and when deer are on the move, then spend some time cultivating that preternatural hillbilly spidey sense about deer that people around here have. After the third car… I finally started paying attention to those wheres and whens of ruminant behavioral patterns and haven’t hit one since. If you need help figuring it out, do what I did and ask a hunter. Especially beware of blind curves at the bottom of hills near cereal grain fields or water sources at dusk and dawn.

    And whatever you do: Don’t believe that nonsense about speeding up to try to deflect the deer over the car. That’ll just land an 8-point in passenger’s seat.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I have family in Bellefonte — Hitting deer up that way seems to be as common as getting flat tires.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      The only real advice anyone needs is “make sure you kill it.” This is a common knowledge rule here in central PA.

    • CalicoGal says:

      And for goodness’ sake, DO NOT swerve abruptly to avoid it. Keep eyes forward, and drive “through” it. Swerving and braking will only send you off the road into a tree, while the dumbass deer merrily trots off….

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Where the hell do you keep the dead deer until it can be butchered? Even as a vegetarian, I’m all for using up the meat of an animal that was accidentally killed, but I am wondering where the heck you keep it so it won’t rot.

      • Not Given says:

        First you gut it on site. In the winter you don’t have to worry much about spoilage, if the temperature is getting above 40 you want to hang it, skin it, quarter it and put it in a cooler with ice. You need a big cooler. Oh, that’s just if you’re butchering it yourself. Otherwise you just gut it and take it to a meat packer that will pack game and they hang it in their cooler. They save up several carcasses and butcher them separate from the beef, etc. Then you hose out the bed of your truck. Most of the deer getting hit by cars happens during or near deer season because it’s mating season and they’re a little crazy then.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        If all else fails, my neighbor butchers animals, and has a walk in cooler to hang meat, so I could ask him and split the meat with him for his trouble. If it’s winter, I hang it on the back porch. In summer, gut it, and carve it up into the front/hind quarters, neck, and split up the ribs, and into the spare fridge in the cellar. Then I either further slice it up and freeze it, or put it up in jars.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        It’s been my experience that people in Pennsylvania are pretty good at storing and processing venison.

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      Blind curves? I was on a straightaway at night when I hit mine. Never saw a thing until the deer’s head was a foot from the headlight.

  25. human_shield says:

    So go to another insurance company. I’ve bounced from several, depending on the lowest rate available for the coverage I need. I’ve had a couple claims and never had a problem. Loyalty isn’t an issue.

  26. mopman64 says:

    Like a good neighbor State Farm will borrow your mower and never bring it back.

  27. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Another central PA resident here – I’ve had 5 deer claims, and one bear claim in my 30+ years of driving. I have Allstate insurance, and the only time my claim was questioned was when I hit the bear. The agent took the bear hairs from the front end of my vehicle and sent them for testing, allegedly because sometimes people hit large dogs or other domestic animals, and try to pass it off as a wild animal.

    And – 4 of the 5 deer were killed outright, and I ate them. The fifth one got away somehow, and probably died in the woods. So there was plenty of evidence for the agent.

    **knocks on wood** I haven’t hit any deer in the past 8 or 10 years, and have gotten pretty good at remembering the various crossing points on my local back roads.

    Oh, and there’s no special award for hitting all three main animals, deer, bear, and turkey – I asked and the agent wasn’t amused. :)

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      How big was the bear? I imagine your family was happy that you were able to walk away from that one.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        Not very big – maybe 150 lbs or so – he ran right into me. I thought I killed him, and when my husband got out to take a look, the bear stood up and shook his head, and lumbered away. I didn’t know my husband could run backwards so fast.

        Damage to my Escape was the left headlight assembly and some dents in the front quarter panel. There was even bear hair imbedded in the left front tire rim.

        Poor thing. To this day I wonder if he’s still around, and very leary about trying to just run across a road without looking!

  28. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Definitwely a lawyer – you can tell by the way he describes the incident. Also: I wish we had more lawyers as OP’s. His was actually easy to read.

  29. speaky2k says:

    I’ve hit a deer in PA (technically 2, but one was in a car I didn’t want to keep anyway so I didn’t claim it) and I have State Farm as well. After it happened I was told to either drive to a ‘nearby’ State Farm Insurance center or wait a few days for an adjuster to come and look at the car. I say ‘nearby’ since it was about a 45min drive in the opposite direction of where I worked from my house. I drove it the two days until an adjuster could work with my schedule. They took the photos I had already taken of the damage fresh after it happened, with fur and blood in them, and added them to the report and photos the adjuster took. The next day I dropped my car off at an approved local auto body shop and a week or so later I picked it up with only my deductible paid, no insurance increase, no problems what so ever. Sounds like the OP just has a bad agent, mine did all he could for me.

  30. Invader Zim says:

    Get a police report right away. Once you have a police report saying Deer. Then they have no legs to stand on.

  31. MonkeyMonk says:

    I hit a deer about 10 years ago that did the exact same thing. It bounced off the bumper, pushed in the hood, cracked the windshield, then flow over the top of the car. By the time I got out of the car the poor thing had picked itself up and limped off into the woods.

    Other than the damage to my car there were zero signs of the deer. No hair or guts.

  32. nato0519 says:

    Thanks a lot Jake from State Farm! Man it must suck to work for State Farm and be named Jake

  33. tbax929 says:

    My last year living in PA I hit three deer and one bear. At the time, my insurance was with Erie. I never had a problem filing comp claims, although my agent did say I must have had the worst luck of anyone he’d ever written.

    I did learn, like the poster above, that it’s best to call the police first and report the deer strike. They will remove whatever carcass is on the side of the road and also file a report. It would be pretty hard for an insurance carrier to accuse you of lying if you had that kind of evidence.

    My other piece of advice is to get the hell out of PA! (just kidding)

  34. nightshade74 says:
  35. JonBoy470 says:

    Given the ridiculously large number of dead deer I’ve seen on the side of the road in PA every time I’ve had occasion to drive through PA, I’m surprised that State Farm isn’t just buying the whole deer angle…

    That said it has been my experience that State Farm doesn’t like to repair body damage under the comprehensive policy. I drowned my car in a flash flood last fall. The car (with me in it) floated into the woods, got wedged in some trees and I ended up standing on the roof (which dented it extensively). Just for good measure I was driving the car at the time the current picked the car up, so the running engine ingested water and hydrolocked. SF initially tried to tell me that the “extensive pre-existing damage” on the car exceeded the car’s actual value, and they weren’t going to give me any $$ for it. Fortunately it was pretty trivial for me to inform the claims rep of how the car’s damage was in fact the result of the flood, and they changed their tune instantly…

  36. donjumpsuit says:

    Today, instead of blaming the OP and bashing State Farm, I will concure with “Crazyeyed” and say that I have had Progressive for 12 years and couldn’t be happier. Motorcycle and several cars, they have always been reasonably priced.
    A few years ago I had someone steal my GPS unit out of my 2005 Cadillac SRX. This was an absolute pain in the ass for the insurance company and probably ended up costing in the region of $15k. (long story that involves having to rebuild the entire wiring harness for the vehicle from scratch).
    Anyways the long and short is that I had to kinda admit that the door was left unlocked on the night it was stolen. I feared for the worst, but they over looked it, and couldn’t have been nicer all around. All taken care of on the comprehensive and no problems with premiums or anything else.
    It has been my experience with every other insurance agency on every claim, that they try to bone you, but not Progressive. Yay Progressive, and Flo of course.

  37. JonBoy470 says:

    Not for nothing, but there’s no mention of the OP filing an accident report. This is a shining example of “doing it wrong.” Not sure the exact laws in PA, but in NH where I grew up, you have to file a report anytime there was death, personal injury and/or property damage in excess of $1000. Only exception is if police responded to the crash (in which case they write the report). Insurers like to see these reports. Falsifying one constitutes perjury in most jurisdictions, and they figure that will deter at least the casual fraudsters.

  38. Costner says:

    I was hoping to see pictures of a dead deer. Except that’s not what happened.

  39. Pete the Geek says:

    Last year I had a problem with my State Farm insurance. Basically I have two homes, two cars and two addresses and this sometimes causes problems. After spending part of an afternoon on the phone and talking to three different people at my State Farm agent, I decided to escalate and talk to a regional rep. I stated the issue and she told me she would get back to me. Less than five minutes later she called me back and told me “your story doesn’t add up”. She refused further help. My “story” was that they were refusing to send me something at my current address of residence. The immediate presumption of lying was infuriating. FWIW, I escallated to their ombudsman and got a call back from a gentleman who immediately resolved the specific issue. He then took the time to fully explain their internal policies and procedures so that I would know how to work with them and avoid issues in the future.

  40. TravelWithDignity says:

    Before the advent of digital photography, we always kept one of those vacation throw away / one time use film cameras in the glove box so that we could ALWAYS document any accidents. They had the benefit of also having a flash, making night time accident photography possible.

  41. IraAntelope says:

    I once had a friend who carried a piece of deerhide (with hair) in a baggie in his car: if he had an accident, he would allegedly beat the deerhide in the damaged area…worked for him.

  42. Fishnoise says:

    If you hit a large animal and the carcass is on the road, please call the police and report it — and not just to help with your insurance.

    I just wrote a research memo yesterday on the legal duties and potential liability of a commercial driver in my state who hit a cow and left it obstructing the roadway for someone (of course) to run into.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      A friend and I went to a movie a long time ago, and we were driving back in her small hatchback after dark. Suddenly the entire highway turned red, and we freaked out. There was so incredibly much blood, we thought it was a person. Then we saw the torso, which was in the middle of the road, and we hit it.

      It was only a deer body, but it really thunked the bottom of her little car. Scared the living shit out of us!

      We made it home okay and weren’t hurt. The torso really could have done a lot of damage. It was right in the MIDDLE of the road. An empty car was parked on the shoulder near it, also. We figured that was the car that hit it, and it was damaged and either the police or someone gave them a ride into town. But we couldn’t figure why they left that big old torso in the middle of the road for someone else to slam into!

      • Fishnoise says:

        I hit the body of a deer about 15 years ago when I was trying to pass a semi at about 60 mph on the Interstate in the dark. No time to stop when I saw it, but I let off the accelerator and my poor Dodge Omni scraped and rolled over it like you’d roll a big chunk of Play-Doh in your palm, got airborne (probably a foot of altitude but seemed like four) then came down hard but stayed under control in the same lane.

  43. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    “That’s your prerogative. And you didn’t hit a deer.”

    What a f*cking asshole! This turd sniffer needs to fired ASAP.

    I hit a deer once (poor thing — I felt terrible) — just the head as it was venturing into the road at night. There wasn’t a drop of blood or a single hair on my car, even though the entire left front and driver’s side door were wrecked. Oh, and I filed a claim with USAA and they paid it within a week of me submitting repair estimates.

  44. DabNabIt says:

    Even that isn’t always enough. I have a short car, and was parked next to an SUV. I had just put it in reverse and possibly backed up a foot, no more, when some bozo swung into my slot as if it were empty and tried to swerve away at the last minute, swiped the center of my rear bumper. Smeared the dirt on my rear bumper, smashed up his driver side fender, hood, bumper. I took a zillion photos which clearly showed my car’s rear end knocked outside the stripes (no car in that slot, thankfully) and still not clear of the SUV next to me. It was obvious I had not backed up far enough to poke my rear bumper out of the slot, and there could be only one explanation, that he had thought my slot empty. I would have had to have backed up at least a couple of feet past the SUV for him to hit me, and that would have meant he was driving awful damned fast for a parking lot, and awful damned close to the parked cars, on the left side of the double wide parking lane. No matter how it happened, he had been at fault.

    Pictures be damned. As I was backing up, it was my fault.

  45. skakh says:

    I was struck by two deer (I did not strike the deer.) in the past six months, two different vehicles. I have GEICO. No issues both times. One incident had deer fur the other did not. GEICO rep quickly observed since there was no paint transfer, a deer had indeed struck my vehicle. I chose the repair shop and paid the deductable. GEICO took care of everything, including car rental. Things could not have gone better.

  46. buddyedgewood says:

    AAA all the way! Ever notice that insurance companies never use AAA as a cost comparison? That’s because AAA can’t be beat as far as cost and service.

  47. subliminal plastic says:

    Mmmm venison steaks are good but I prefer the tenderloin. Good stuff.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Mmm. No one around here will kill me a deer (I don’t hunt). They promise but then they never get one.

      I may have to order it from some farm or other. I’m craving a nice tenderloin medallion. Also have a superb recipe for rolled roast of venison that is to die for.

      • IraAntelope says:

        tenderloin quick-fried with butter and mushrooms…can’t beat it. sometimes I even add a little red wine. beats a beefsteak any day.

  48. HogwartsProfessor says:

    You can sideswipe a deer and not kill it, or if it ran away and died later, there is no way in hell you’ll ever find it. Taking photos at the scene is a good idea. Next time take close up pics of the deer hair, then take a sample of it, date it, and keep it.

    Not a good idea, pulling this shit on a lawyer, State Farm. You’re making me rethink my loyalty to you.

  49. varro says:

    I didn’t have any problems with my insurance company (Ohio Casualty) when I hit a deer in the middle of the night in Nebraska when moving – they even let me do the repairs in stages (enough to get my car safe in Nebraska, back to pre-accident condition in Portland).

    And the body shop people know what deer hits look like, especially in PA….

  50. Die Schwarze Ewigkeit says:

    Always call the police and have them do up a report. That way, you have an official report of what happened so no one can dispute it without calling the police officer (who has absolutely nothing to gain either way) a liar. Plus, if the deer is still there, suffering after being clobbered by a two ton chunk of metal, they can put the poor thing out of its misery.

  51. q`Tzal says:

    Do it again, only this time put the deceased deer’s head in the insurance adjuster’s bed.

  52. Robert Nagel says:

    My daughter was rear ended by a pick-up truck and the State Farm adjuster tried to tell me she was half at fault. She offered to pay half. I took this as a learning experience for my daughter and took them to court. When they lost the adjuster looked like she had been shot. I am amazed that they have such ignorant people working for them. She actually thought that the person in front was half at fault. Heck, even the kid that hit her said it wasn’t her fault in his testimony.
    When I went to my lawyer he stopped me before I got to the name of the insurance company. He asked, “Was it State Farm or Allstate?”. Apparently, they have a bad reputation.

  53. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    1. Call the police! Document it with an accident report. Hell, in Michigan, if you hit a deer and don’t call the cops, you can be charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Yes, the deer is State property.
    2. Take pictures!
    3. ????
    4. Profit.

  54. Nogling says:

    State Farm lost my business years ago, when they informed me that they were tripling my rates after a hit and run in a parking lot.

    I second the earlier recommendation of Geico.

    In March, I was involved in an accident. It was completely and utterly my fault. After making sure everyone was okay and calling the police, I called Geico and let them know I’d been in an accident. They asked me some basic information about the accident, and the contact information of the person I hit.

    They called to confirm his mailing address before the tow truck arrived. He called me three days later to let me know how wonderful my insurance company had been – because he’d gotten a check that day, with no hassle.

    The REALLY awesome part? Despite having only been with Geico for a little over a year (I was vehicle free for three years), when I called to add my new van, they let me know that my rates wouldn’t change.

    I’m impressed at the level of customer service I’ve gotten from Geico. I’m a small-potatoes customer – I drive older, paid-for vehicles, and while I’m scrupulous about paying on time, I also have two major claims in the last five years. The accident in March was my fault, but the other claim was a weather-related total loss. I’m not a big source of profit for them, and probably never will be, but they have been awesome from day one – when they offered me a rate that was HALF of what I’d been quoted elsewhere.

  55. catgirl4276 says:

    When you’ve hit a deer, the best thing to do is call the sheriff’s department. Not only are they happy to verify the deer damage to insurance, but letting them come out and see just where deer collisions are happening helps them assign their officers efficiently during the season.

    Best of all, if you live in an area with a small rescue zoo, as we do, in the event that you do not want the deer meat or already have a freezer full, the sheriff will call the zookeeper for you and your deer will be fed to the tiger and the serval. Big cats in zoos don’t get deer meat as often as they’d like and it’s their absolute favorite. You can watch them eating beef or turkey and compare it to them eating deer and those are some happy, happy kitties. I took up hunting more for their benefit than my own.

  56. reidnez says:

    Who carries collision AND comprehensive on an almost 10-year-old Focus? It’s worth a whopping four grand (assuming excellent condition and low miles.) Wonder what his premiums are…in any case, they’re at least twice what they would be if he had bare-bones coverage. That’s a pretty poor risk/reward calculation if you ask me. If he’s had it since new, he’s probably paid the replacement value more than once in premiums. *facepalm*

  57. Cream Of Meat says:

    You’ve been a customer for 10+ years, paying hundreds of thousands in to their pocket, and the balk over a tiny repair job? Fuck them in they’re fucking face!

  58. central_ny_dude says:

    Absolutely call police after an accident with an animal like that. (Disclosure, very rural Central NY resident here… we have more deer in our area than people by a 10X ratio.) My father hit a deer with a glancing blow on the passenger side. No hair, no damage other than the headlight. Deer escaped into the woods. Officer responding wrote up a report, also indicating the visible damage on scene was limited to the headlight. Dad drove the van home, and one town over, got pulled over for having a light out (DUH!). But, he told the officer about the events, and once confirmed, the officer let him go. In the case of auto/animal accidents, the police can help you… as opposed to one certain insurer that I use, which isn’t always “on my side”.