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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Deer Hit Frequency up Almost 8 Percent, Cost Up 4.4 Percent

The number of deer-related collisions in the U.S. has increased by 7.7 percent over the last year. This jump comes after a three year period during which these collisions dropped 2.2 percent, according to an analysis conducted by State Farm.

Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm estimates that 1.23 million collisions were caused by deer in the U.S. between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

The probability that any single licensed driver in the U.S. was behind the wheel during one of those 1.23 million crashes also increased from 1 in 183 to 1 in 171, approximately equal to the odds that you will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service next tax season.

Over the last four years, the number of deer-related claims paid by State Farm has increased 7.9 percent while other similar auto claims have declined 8.5 percent. The comparison includes first-party, collision or comprehensive coverage claims not caused by weather, criminal activity or fire and not including glass claims.

For the sixth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a driver is most likely to run into a deer. The odds are 1 in 40 this year compared with State Farm's revised estimate of 1 in 48 in 2011.

South Dakota moved from third to second with the likelihood of a licensed driver in that state hitting a deer within the next year being 1 in 68. Iowa (1 in 71.9) drops from second to third. Michigan (1 in 72.4) is a close fourth and Pennsylvania (1 in 76) drops one spot to fifth.

In each of the top five states, the rate of deer-related collisions per driver went up from a year ago.

"We have known for quite a while that the frequency of auto insurance claims has been declining," said Chris Mullen, Director, Technology Research. "But whatever is causing that trend is obviously not impacting deer-related crashes."

The average property damage cost of these incidents during the final half of 2011 and the first half of 2012 was $3,305, up 4.4 percent from the year before.

Copyright 2012 CollisionWeek ( – reprinted by permission from the publisher

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