West Virginia leads the nation as the state where you are most likely to hit an animal for the second year in a row, according to the 2022 State Farm annual analysis. Montana, South Dakota, Michigan and Pennsylvania rank behind the Mountain State as the worst states for animal collisions.

State Farm estimates there were more than 2 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, which is almost 200,000 more claims than in the previous 12-month period.

The odds of experiencing a collision with an animal are 1 out of 109, which increased in 2021-2022 over the 2020-2021 odds of 1 out of 116. That likelihood doubles during deer season every year from October to December.

Which states are the worst for collisions with animals?

West Virginia continues to top State Farm’s annual list with the same odds of a vehicle/animal crash as in 2020-2021 at 1 in 37. Following West Virginia is Montana at 1 in 39, South Dakota and 1 in 48 and Michigan and Pennsylvania at 1 in 54.

Here is the likelihood of collision with an animal by state:

Vehicle collisions by state in 2021-2022
State2021-2022 State Ranking2021-2022 Odds Of Collision with Animals
West Virginia11 in 37
Montana21 in 39
South Dakota31 in 48
Michigan41 in 54
Pennsylvania51 in 54
Wisconsin61 in 56
Mississippi71 in 57
Wyoming81 in 58
Minnesota91 in 58
Iowa101 in 59
North Dakota111 in 62
Arkansas121 in 70
South Carolina131 in 71
Missouri141 in 74
Virginia151 in 75
Maine161 in 75
North Carolina171 in 77
Georgia181 in 83
Kansas191 in 87
Kentucky201 in 88
Alabama211 in 88
Ohio221 in 95
Nebraska231 in 95
Indiana241 in 100
Oklahoma251 in 101
Idaho261 in 103
Delaware271 in 105
Tennessee281 in 108
Maryland291 in 110
Vermont301 in 113
Massachusetts311 in 116
New York321 in 124
Rhode Island331 in 127
Texas341 in 136
New Hampshire351 in 137
Illinois361 in 137
Oregon371 in 144
Louisiana381 in 149
Utah391 in 166
New Jersey401 in 173
Colorado411 in 179
New Mexico421 in 182
Connecticut431 in 199
Washington441 in 200
California451 in 260
Alaska461 in 292
Arizona471 in 301
Florida481 in 306
Nevada491 in 430
Hawaii501 in 474
District of Columbia511 in 569

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Why should you carry comprehensive car insurance coverage?

In order to be covered if your vehicle strikes an animal, you’ll need to have comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive auto insurance also provides coverage in the case of theft, vandalism, hail, fire and other incidents beyond your control.

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. If your vehicle doesn't make contact with the animal the damage is considered a collision claim because you hit another car or object.

Comprehensive claims don't generally raise your rates unless you have recently filed additional claims, but your coverage will only pay out up to the actual cash value of your car, and you will have to pay the deductible.

Comprehensive and collision coverage typically won’t bust your budget, but it is about $1,000 more than liability-only coverage.

According to a 2022 CarInsurance.com rate analysis, the average rate for liability-only coverage is $637 per year and the average rate for a full-coverage comprehensive/collision policy with 100/300/100 limits is $1,682 per year.

Read Methodology

Read more about will insurance pay for a car accident caused by an animal?

Tips for avoiding animals while you’re on the road

State Farm says that there are things drivers can do to avoid hitting animals while they’re driving.

Here are a few tips:

  • Stay alert: Mind "deer crossing" and "wildlife crossing" signs and be cautious near woods or water.
  • Use high beams: Flashing your high beams at an animal in the road may cause the animal to run away. High beams also help illuminate dark roads.
  • Don't swerve: If a crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don't veer off the road.
  • Brake and honk: If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no drivers behind you, brake hard.
  • Remember, peak season is in the fall: Animal collisions happen most during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.
  • Watch out at meal time: Watch for animals between dusk and dawn.
  • Watch for herds: If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
  • Don't use a whistle: No scientific evidence supports that car-mounted deer whistles work.
  • Wear seat belts: Always obey posted speed limits and wear seat belts.

Methodology & Resources

Methodology:

CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services in 2022 to field rates for a 40-year-old male driver with a clean driving record and good credit score for auto coverage data by ZIP code.

Sources:

State Farm Simple Insights. “How likely are you to have an animal collision?” Accessed June 2022.

– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.