Animal-strike-related insurance claims are more than twice as frequent as the yearly average in November, according to an analysis of claims from 2006 to 2018 conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute.
That means drivers need to be vigilant and on the lookout for wildlife crossing the road, especially in rural areas.
Hitting an animal can lead to serious injury for driver and occupants. A previous study of point-of-impact distribution during calendar years 2004 to 2017 showed that almost nine out of ten animal-strike collisions are front-impact crashes.
The recent HLDI data shows that severity of claims, measured in dollars insurers pay to cover losses, also soars during the peak month of November.
The average cost of November animal-strike claims over the 13-year period was $3,560, compared with $2,801 for February, the month with the least severe crashes.
Both the timing of the spike in crashes, which is deer mating season — and the greater damage they cause — suggest that most of these collisions involve deer.
The HLDI analysis also explored which states had the highest November animal-strike claims. West Virginia took first place with more than three times the national average for the peak month — 47.8 claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years.
Other states that ranked among the top five include Iowa with 31.8 claims, followed by Pennsylvania (29.3), Kentucky (28.1) and Michigan (23.4).
Six of the 10 counties with the highest November claim frequencies were in Pennsylvania, with list-topper Butler County, showing a claim frequency more than 3.5 times the national average for the month. The four other highest counties were in Maryland, New York and Virginia.