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Worst states for deer collisions



The chances of hitting a deer while driving are the same as last year, but the cost is up – the average deer strike claim is $4,135, up 6 percent from 2014 ($3,888), according to State Farm.

Odds of a Bambi collision are 1 out of 169, but that likelihood doubles during deer season, from October to December. In West Virginia, the state where deer collisions are most likely, the odds are 1 in 44, up almost 11 percent from 2014, State Farm says.

The Mountain State, which has been No. 1 on the list of states most likely to have deer strikes for nine consecutive years, is followed this year by:

  • Montana – 1 in 63
  • Iowa – 1 in 68
  • Pennsylvania – 1 in 70
  • South Dakota – 1 in 73Map of deer collision odds by state

Doe! Deer collision rates all over the map

Other notable developments in State Farm's annual deer collision report include a 21-percent hike in Indiana and 13 percent uptick in Iowa. The top 10 states stayed the same from 2014, just in slightly different order. What causes changes in deer collision rates?

"Changes in collision rates from year to year are a reflection of changing deer densities or population levels – more deer in a given area increases the potential for collision. Deer populations are also affected by conditions such as new or improved roads with higher speeds near deer habitat, winter conditions, and other related factors," Ron Regan, executive director for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, said in a written statement.

Drivers in deer-dense states should carry comprehensive insurance

Sometimes the deer isn't the only victim. Injuries, vehicle damage and fatalities all can result from vehicle collisions with deer. There were 191 deaths in 2013 caused by collisions with animals, with deer being the animal most often struck, according to the Insurance Information Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Damage from vehicle-to-venison mishaps are covered by comprehensive insurance, which is optional coverage. It also covers theft, vandalism, hail, fire and other incidents largely beyond your control. Comprehensive claims don't generally raise your rates unless you have recently filed additional claims, says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com.

If you swerve to miss a deer and are successful but crash, say you hit a tree or guardrail, that damage is covered by collision insurance, says Gusner. If your vehicle doesn't make contact with the animal the damage is considered a collision claim because you hit another car or object (or rolled your vehicle).


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8 Responses to "Worst states for deer collisions"
  1. John Galt

    I suggest drivers get UV lights for their car.s. Deer see it like because it blazes orange to them.

  2. lgrant

    Have any states developed solutions that have reduced the number of deer-car accidents on their roads?

  3. Fred

    Could parks and wildlife get the deer to go where I hunt? Ha!

  4. Steve

    Just looking at the stats. it appears that Southern states that allow dog/deer hunting have a higher risk of car/deer collisions. Is that true?

  5. Donnie Burnett

    While driving with headlights on high beams is okay, it is also one of the primary reason there are deer-car collisions. High beams, like spotlights, tend to blind deer when deer are blinded, they freeze. When the driver switches to low beam, or the road has a curve, or grade change, the dear is no longer 'blind' and tends to bolt. The vast majority of the time, it will bolt in the direction it is facing which is right into the roadway. Conduct a study and you will find that most drivers will go from high beam to low beam, or swerve slightly when they see a deer on the side of the road.

  6. Dave

    Considering the number of casualties shown in the table, it is a wonder that the stupid deer have not learned to avoid traffic. Quite a few years ago, in upstate NY, on a rainy night, I hit a deer. Luckily, the damage was only $3,400. I don't know if the deer survived; it disappeared.

  7. Melody

    I have hit two deer since 2007. One with a Prius in '07 had 5,000 miles on it and damage cost $3,200. Then another one with my 2008 tundra in 2009, damage minimal to truck. Deer damage --well that's a different story, it died.

  8. KingofThings

    If the deer would pay attention to those signs they would be better off.