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Deer collision season opens: Are you ready?

If you live in a state where accidents involving deer are common, you might want to lower your deductible on your comprehensive coverage.

By MSN Money producer Sep 30, 2013 5:53PM

This post comes from Des Toups at partner site


If you live in West Virginia, Montana, Iowa, South Dakota or Pennsylvania, better make sure you've got $3,414 lying around.


That's the damage a typical deer-car collision causes, State Farm says, and those are the five states where you're most likely to hit a deer in the next year.

The company's annual update on deer collisions comes as peak season for conflict between car and mammal approaches: November is the worst month for collisions, with October and December right behind. The odds of a licensed driver hitting a deer in West Virginia over the next 12 months, State Farm says, are a staggering 1 in 41. The runners up:

Deer crossing road (© Wayne Bierbaum/Flickr Open/Getty Images)

  • Montana: 1 in 65
  • Iowa: 1 in 73
  • South Dakota: 1 in 75
  • Pennsylvania:  1 in 77

Nationwide, a typical driver has a 1 in 174 chance of hitting a deer in the next 12 months; odds are lowest in Hawaii, just 1 in 6,787. You can see State Farm's estimates for every state here.


Though the price tag of a deer encounter has risen 3.3% over the last year, the company says, the odds of a strike have actually slipped a little in recent years.


"This data is encouraging," says State Farm Director of Strategic Resources Chris Mullen. "We would like to think the attention we call to this issue each fall has had an impact. Obviously there are other factors at play as well."


Collisions remain far from rare: Researchers estimate there were 1.22 million deer-related collisions in the year that ended June 30.


Car insurance coverage for deer-inspired damage comes under the comprehensive portion of your policy. Comprehensive covers theft, fire, hail, vandalism and other events largely beyond your control. A claim typically will not raise your car insurance rates unless you have additional recent claims.


If you live in a deer-dense state, it might make sense to lower your deductible. And if you're armed with only liability coverage, drive very, very carefully.


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Oct 1, 2013 9:53AM
Need more deer hunters, for population control. Anti hunters are just clueless.....
Oct 1, 2013 10:19AM
They should quit putting deer crossing signs on major highways. They should put them at crosswalks where it's safer.
Oct 1, 2013 8:51AM

That means 1 out of 41 families will be eating good in WV.

Oct 1, 2013 9:25AM
A couple of points people should be aware of. Aside from deer there are elk and moose depending on where you live and those can do considerably more damage to you than you to them.
One mistake a lot of people make when they see a deer jump out from the side of the road or in front of them is to immediately swerve to avoid hitting them. That's fine if you are in great road conditions and you know for sure that you are alone on the road. If you miss the deer on a wet or snowy road you may find yourself heading rt into an oncoming car or running off the road and hitting a tree. Guess what, no deer/animal impact no proof of deer and you are 100% responsible for the accident. As my agent told me in the case of a deer meeting just let it happen, it's usually safer in newer cars and you have the coverage. In my state MI we have a coverage specifically to cover deer or large animal strikes. If I hit a deer it costs me nothing no deductible no out of pocket, just so long as I made impact and didn't just hit the tree trying to swerve. YOU NEED PROOF.
Another thing about deer and there relatives. THEY ARE  EXTREMELY STUPID you are flying down the road and spot a deer in the middle of your lane and you start hitting your lights and your horn to make the animal move. Guess what wrong move. The deer is going to stand there trying to figure out where all the commotion is coming from and then decide which way to go and it isn't always away from the commotion. Just because he is facing the other side of the road doesn't mean he will go that way, he might just turn around and head back the way he came which is where you swerved to trying to avoid him. The best thing you can do is slow down if you have time and stop until he moves. I have even seen deer that turned to head away from me still staying in the lane. There is no telling where they will go.
Another big mistake some people make is really a bad move. After you hit any large animal you can't ever think it is actually dead and approach it. You might have only knocked it silly and when you come near it and it wakes up it is going to be one very scared shaken up pissed off animal capable of kicking you right in the head. And definitely do not pick the animal up and put it in your car (if its still drivable) and take it with you for proof or heaven forbid to take it to a vet. When that animal wakes up in your back seat he is going to do everything possible to try and escape and guess what, you are about to be in worse shape than when you hit it. What you should do is if you have a cell call 911 and report the incident right away. They will notify the proper parties and send you assistance very quickly. If you have no cell and you car can be moved, then move to the side of the road and set out flares so other drivers will see the carcass, when one stops ask to use there phone. Remember a police report is as good to an ins agent as if he had been there himself.
In the event that your damage is not great and you are able to drive home before calling anyone, DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT take you vehicle to a car wash before your agent or the police can see it. If you was away all the evidence that it was the fault of an animal then you are back to NO PROOF

Oct 1, 2013 9:33AM
Where I live deer hits are year around. Idk what they are talking about.
Oct 1, 2013 10:10AM
All deer are is giant rats with hooves. I don't know where they get these stats from but in Michigan this time of the year you can see deer splattered across the highway every 1/2 mile or so after being hit by a truck doing 95 mph in a 55 mph zone through out the state. Around December Michigan DOT will have big dump trucks and prison work gangs out hauling those bodies, or what's left of them, to the dump. And the part that will get you liberal anti-hunting pansies, there are still an excess amount of deer for hunters and still after we all get our deer there are still enough that they are on the verge of overgrazing and starving to death. Just imagine if you got your way and stopped hunters from killing these things what would happen. Those deer would get so plentiful they'd starve slowly as there wouldn't be enough for them all to eat.
Oct 1, 2013 11:35AM
They need a sign for Montana that says "Deer Crossing Next 700 Miles".
Oct 1, 2013 9:48AM
It's so high in WV because they're shopping for dinner too.
1 in 77 sure seems rather low for PA considering the piles of good that were once deer along the highway. Are they just counting cars or are they also counting semi trucks?
Oct 1, 2013 11:01AM
"Deer collision season opens": This title makes me think the deer might be in cahoots with the insurance companies to raise rates and that the deer actually know what day it is. Gotta hand it to the insurance companies and their marketing experts that talked all those deer into suicide missions in the name of profits.
Oct 1, 2013 12:26PM
Wish I had my dads old Buick road master.he used to call it "The deer hunter special "
Oct 1, 2013 12:21PM
Lots of deer in south west pa   rumour has it that insurance companies have brought in coyote ti cull the herd , that may be , i do know that coyote have killed all my cats and chickens , time to go coyote and deer hunting !
Sep 30, 2013 9:16PM
That's what happens when you break up the Deer family.The Dad watching over Bambi and not teaching him to look both ways.
Oct 1, 2013 12:03PM
look at it this way , deer car collisions are good for the economy and society .it brings a lot of business to the auto repair industry , hospitals ,and helps feed the needy . then again the funeral industry gets its share also so forget what i wrote .
Oct 1, 2013 8:50AM

I have 2 memorable experiences with deer and vehicles.

One occurred at night as I was driving and having a WTF moment as two deer came charging out of the ditch along side my vehicle. A second or two sooner, I would of taken one (if not both) out. A second or two later and I wouldn't even of seen them.


The other occasion was driving home from work one afternoon and seeing a deer cross the median and into the path of a late model HD pickup. Talk about being blindsided, that deer was thrown at least thirty feet at a max height of 12 ft and the pickup just shedded a variety of vehicle body parts.

Oct 2, 2013 11:47AM
$3400?! Try $20,000 for a totaled car!I think at this point, these states should have better deer management technology to prevent deer from running into traffic. Why can't they install some sensor driven sounds by the side of the road or something like that to deter deer from jumping out? It's not just about a potentially damaged vehicle- many people die every year due to deer/car collisions. The deer can fly through the windshield and impale you or you may panic and throw your car to the side at a high rate of speed and end up flipping. A few years ago, we hit a deer in NJ and thank god we didn't flip our car. We were going about 70mph and didn't have a chance to slow down or switch lanes to avoid the deer- it just flew out. Luckily my husband held on to the wheel and kept driving in a straight line as he reduced speed and then pulled over, but if it had me I probably would have thrown the wheel over to avoid hitting it and we would probably be dead.  It was bad and the car was totaled. The NJ cops on the scene were just like, meh this happens all the time. It was the middle of the night and we didn't get help to get towed or to get a ride to a motel or anything. These states allow the problem to continue unchecked and they cost people money and sometimes even their lives, and the cost the animals needless suffering. These states tax us up the wazoo and charge tolls at every turn- use some of that $ to do something about this instead of just accepting it as part of life.
Oct 1, 2013 2:58PM
Growing up in the Dakotas, one of the first phrases I ever learned was, "Watch for deer."
Oct 1, 2013 2:36PM
they are everywhere in iowa...look out....
Oct 1, 2013 4:21PM

That's why I always have a good hunting knife in my vehicle at all times.........

It's one of the saddest things seeing a severely injured animal

in pain and suffering after a vehicle collision........

You can call the Law, but it's of low importance to them....hence, they don't exactly "race"

to get there.......and that's just too long for an animal that's suffering horribly.....

Besides, when the cops finally do get there.......They shoot It.............

I simply eliminate the middle man and alleviate the suffering......

Be sure to ask around about Venison Donation Programs in your area.....Excellent program....

Some programs will accept (Fresh) deer hit by vehicles......During Hunting sure to apply for extra "Tags" and Donate to the Food Programs that Acept Venison!!!

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