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Fall is deemed the season of sweaters and pumpkin spice everything. But, it turns out, October brings something else with it — auto accidents involving big game.

That’s right, a new study by insurance provider State Farm found that this time of year is prime time for this type of collision.

“We know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season,” Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, said in a press release.

They also discovered that certain states are far more likely to have drivers run into these animals than others. These are the top five states where State Farm found a driver was most likely to file a claim after hitting a deer, elk or moose.

  1. West Virginia (1 in 41)
  2. Montana (1 in 58)
  3. Pennsylvania (1 in 67)
  4. Iowa (1 in 68)
  5. South Dakota (1 in 70)

Contrast these with states like Hawaii, where your odds are 1 in every 18,955 drivers, or even Arizona, with odds at 1 in every 1,175 drivers.

While these odds may be jarring, especially if you’re planning a drive through the mountains to enjoy the fall foliage, don’t be alarmed (or bugled, if you will). No matter your location, State Farm advised drivers to keep your eyes focused on the road and, if you do see the gleam of a big animal looking back at you, to break and avoid swerving if you can.


To compile this list, State Farm looked at internal claims data as well as state-licensed driver counts provided by the Federal Highway Administration to determine the chance a single American motorist has of hitting a deer, elk or moose with their car. Data considered was from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, and was reviewed from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia. It’s important to note that State Farm looked at comprehensive and collision claims only and did not include claims involving policyholders with liability insurance coverage only.

The Cost of Car Insurance

According to State Farm, the average cost of hitting a deer between 2015 and 2016 was $3,995.08. (Oh, deer — yes, I had to do it.) While this number is down from the previous year ($4,135), that’s no subtle amount and you likely don’t want to pass the buck (eh?) along to your credit card.

If you live in an area where you’re more likely to hit a deer with your car, it may be a good idea to talk with your insurance provider to see if damage caused by a collision with a deer is covered by your policy. You may also want to talk with them about different factors that are affecting the cost of your policy, which can include everything from your driving record and value of your car to your age and credit history.

While some states put more of an emphasis on your credit track record than others (in terms of determining your insurance policy rates), it can still be helpful to know where your credit stands if you’re shopping for insurance policies. You can view two of your credit scores for free, updated every 30 days, on Credit.com. If you find your scores aren’t quite where you’d like them to be, look for things that could be dragging them down, like errors on your report (you can read this guide to find out how to dispute these problems).

Image: Pascal-L-Marius

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