Drivers Beware: Simple Precautions Can Reduce Your Chances of Becoming a Deer Crash Statistic

Madison, Wis. (Oct. 21, 2008) Motorists in many states are likely to encounter deer on streets and highways this time of the year. Drivers can take several simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of these encounters resulting in a traffic accident.

Hundreds of thousands of deer-vehicle crashes occur annually, causing millions of dollars worth of damage, injuries and even death. Many of these accidents occur between October and November during the deer-breeding season.

Last year, American Family Insurance customers filed nearly 36,000 claims for vehicle crashes with animals, most of the time involving deer. Those claims totaled $84.8 million, with an average repair cost of about $2,300.

A majority of American Family’s animal claim losses occurred in three states: Wisconsin ($26.1 million), Missouri ($14.6 million) and Minnesota ($11.1 million). Illinois was next, with damages totaling $5.2 million, followed by Kansas ($5.2 million), Iowa ($4.5 million) and Indiana ($3.2 million).

In decreasing order, American Family animal claims losses in the states of South Dakota, Ohio, North Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado tallied in the range of $2.7 to $2.3 million.

Deer-vehicle crashes are often unavoidable, but here are a few defensive driving tips to minimize your chances:

If your vehicle strikes a deer, contact the authorities. You may be legally required to report an accident with significant vehicle damage, depending on state laws. Also contact your insurance company to report your claim. Collision with an animal is covered under the comprehensive section of your auto insurance policy.