State Farm auto claims data reveals drivers struck less animals than previous year
5.5 percent decrease in collisions
Statistics indicate a decrease of 5.5 percent in animal collisions; November repeating as the most dangerous month.
Between July of 2021 and June 2022 an estimated 1.9 million of these types of collisions happened across US roads (5.5% less than in the previous twelve months) according to an annual analysis by State Farm, the leader auto insurer in the United States.
Crashes between motor vehicles and animals happen in every state and all year round, yet the data confirms that the most dangerous months for animal collisions are November, October and December, in this order, and just like in the previous 12-month period.
From a state perspective, Pennsylvania had the most auto animal collision claims, with an estimated total industry animal collisions count of 156,176 claims, and a likelihood of 1 out of 57 for licensed drivers to hit an animal while being behind the wheel. There, the animals most commonly hit by motorists were deer (by far), "unidentified animals" and rodents, in this order.
However, the state where drivers have the highest likelihood of hitting an animal is West Virginia, with a probability of 1 in 35. There, the animals most likely to be hit by drivers are deer (by far), followed by "unidentified animals," and by dogs, in this order.
These two different state rankings differ because for the likelihood or probability of animal collisions state ranking, both the number of license drivers and the total number of animal collisions in each state affect the calculation, while for the industry claims ranking only the first variable (number of claims) matters.
Many times animal collisions end up in road kills, and often in injuries or even deaths of drivers and passengers. From a material perspective, the damage to the vehicles can vary wildly, from a scratch or a bump to a car being completely totaled, depending on factors such as the speed at which one is driving or the size of the animal being hit.
The range of animals involved in auto crashes is extremely diverse. Although there are differences among states, nationwide, the top 5 animals most commonly hit by motorists in US roads were: 1. Deer (industry estimated 1.3 million), 2. Unidentified animals (236,000), 3. Rodents (102,000), 4. Dog (60k), 5. Raccoon (56k).
Awareness and Preparedness helps
Here are 10 tips that could help you reduce the odds of going through the experience of hitting an animal with your motor vehicle.
- Slow down, especially if you see an animal close to the road.
- Stay alert. Scan the road for animals day and night, both in the countryside and in the city, and pay attention to “deer crossing” and other animal signs.
- Reduce distractions. Put the cell phone away. It can help you avoid injuring motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians and animals too.
- Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers.
- Don't swerve. If a crash with an animal is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don't veer off the road.
- Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on a deer may cause the animal to scurry away.
- Be aware of peak season. Deer crashes happen most often during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.
- Be mindful of meal time. Watch for animals on the road between dusk and dawn.
- Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
- Speak with your State Farm agent about comprehensive coverage, which typically covers repairs for collisions with animals, after your deductible.
If despite all of this you hit an animal, take a deep breath. Make sure you and your passengers are well. Call 911 if the animal is large and still there after you hit it. Check if your vehicle is drivable. When safe to do so, take pictures and, if needed, you can file a claim in multiple ways.
For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.