Your chances of hitting a deer while driving in the coming year fell by 4.3 percent, but the average property-damage cost for deer-collisions inched up 3.3 percent from a year earlier, according to a new State Farm report.
State Farm, in an analysis of its own insurance claims and accident statistics gathered from the Federal Highway Administration, predicts that motorists face a one in 174 chance of crashing into a deer during the next 12 months. That compares to the one in 167 odds the year before.
The average property-damage cost of incidents during the last half of 2012 and the first six months of this year was $3,414, compared to $3,305 for the same period last year.
The insurer calculated the deer collision numbers for each state by comparing accident totals with the amount of licensed drivers. Among the 41 states where these encounters are most likely, here are those that are expected to have the biggest declines, according to State Farm:
West Virginia, for the seventh year in a row, is where deer-related collisions are most likely. Here are the states with the biggest chances of a crash:
As with West Virginia, State Farm says the probability of a deer-crash in those four states has declined from the earlier 12-month period.
Hawaii has the lowest odds of an accident, one in 6,787. The insurer says that's about the same as "a middle-of-the-pack National Football League team running off 13 wins in a row."
Deer collisions are covered by your car insurer if you've opted for comprehensive coverage on your policy -- comprehensive ensures that you're reimbursed for repair costs after a collision with an animal.
But many people consider dropping comprehensive and collision insurance to save money, especially if they have an older vehicle. If you're leaning that way, be sure to consider the consequences, especially if you live in an area with a large deer population. Also keep in mind that used cars are retaining their value longer.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests protecting yourself by taking these steps:
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