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SCC News

SCC Bureau of Insurance Reminds Drivers that Deer Present One of Autumn’s Greatest Hazards

OCT 18, 2021

RICHMOND – Across the nation, November is the peak month for insurance claims related to vehicle collisions with deer. Virginia is among the states with the highest risk of these types of incidents. Mating season and migration contribute to a dramatic uptick in vehicle-deer collisions during the fall. To help avoid incidents, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds drivers to stay alert, particularly if traveling along tree-lined roadways when it’s dark.

“A deer in the roadway poses a threat to even the most careful driver,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “As fall arrives, contact your insurance agent or company to determine if your automobile policy provides coverage for claims involving a collision with deer or other wildlife.”

Damage caused to your vehicle as a result of a collision with a deer or other animal typically is covered under the optional “other-than-collision” (also known as “comprehensive”) portion of your automobile policy. In addition to claims involving animals, some of the coverages provided by “other-than-collision” are damage resulting from theft, wind, hail and flood, as well as fire and vandalism. Keep in mind that if you have a liability-only policy, your policy may not cover your vehicle for damage resulting from a crash involving a deer or any other object.

Drivers can help prevent a collision with a deer by lowering their speed and staying alert. Nevertheless, some collisions are inevitable. In these cases, you should stay in your lane and brake as carefully as possible. Though jarring, a collision with a deer is often safer for the driver and any occupants – and for surrounding vehicles and their occupants – than swerving sharply and potentially hitting something else. If a driver attempts to avoid a collision by swerving – into a tree or ditch, for example – any damage may trigger coverages different than “other-than-collision.” Additionally, insurers may consider the driver to be at fault, which could cause premiums to increase.

Should you collide with a deer, notify law enforcement and your insurance company as soon as possible. When safe to do so, take pictures of the incident scene and any vehicle damage in the event you file an insurance claim. Don’t assume that your vehicle is safe to drive. Check for leaking fluid, tire damage, broken lights and other damage. When in doubt, call a tow truck.

The Bureau of Insurance stands ready to assist Virginians with their questions regarding auto and many other types of insurance. For more information, call the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.

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Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

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New Three-Digit Number for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Prompts 10-digit dialing for Area Codes 804 and 276

OCT 04, 2021

RICHMOND – Mandatory 10-digit dialing (area code + phone number) will begin October 24, 2021, in Virginia area codes 804 and 276. The dialing changes are needed to accommodate the new three-digit dialing number – 988 – for the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL).

The NSPL is a critical emergency resource that connects Americans in crisis to suicide prevention and mental health counselors. It can currently be reached any time day or night at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). Dialing the NSPL will get even easier starting July 16, 2022, when a three-digit number – 988 – begins operation.  The new number was approved by the Federal Communications Commission last year.

Virginia is among 35 states and one U.S. territory that must start using 10-digit dialing to clear the way for use of the 988 national number next year. In the Richmond region (area code 804) and the Southwest Virginia region (area code 276), where local calls can now be made by dialing just 7 digits, many phone numbers start with "988." Since "988" will now be dedicated to NSPL, people in the affected area codes will now have to dial "804" or "276" at the beginning of all local calls. This is known as 10-digit dialing.  (Note: Using a "1" before the area code will be needed only for long-distance calls.)

Optional 10-digit dialing began in area codes 804 and 276 in April for all local calls. On and after October 24, 2021, 10-digit dialing will be required for all calls. Local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform callers that their call cannot be completed as dialed.

Little else will change for telephone users inside the 804 and 276 area codes. During and after the transition to 988, the NSPL will continue to be available at the longer phone number as well:  1-800-273-8255. Other three-digit dialing services such as 211, 711, 811, and 911 will not be affected. Telephone numbers, area code numbers, coverage areas and local call boundaries will remain the same.

Suicidepreventionlifeline.org is another resource for people in crisis, and 911 is available for emergency situations.

For more information about phone service changes resulting from the NSPL’s upcoming 988 number, visit the FCC website at fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline or the SCC website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/988-Preparation.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

 
 
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