State Farm Insurance recently released the results of its study on animal-related crashes in the U.S. The report estimated that there were around 1,546,739 deer collision insurance claims in the U.S. across the car insurance industry between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
Though Ohio didn’t make State Farm’s list of the top 10 states most likely to have animal collisions, Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeremy Grillot told The Times-Gazette that OSP saw 40 deer-related crashes in Highland County throughout 2018. From Jan. 1, 2018 to Oct. 17, 2018, Grillot said there had already been 25 crashes involving deer. So far, Grillot said, the state patrol has seen 22 deer-related crashes for this year to date in Highland County.
”They’ll pick up quite a bit this fall,” Grillot said. “They move a lot more as it gets cooler because of mating season. As the crops start coming off, they have less cover and get chased out of corn fields. Hunting season also chases them out. You definitely see an uptick in deer crashes as the fall weather comes.”
Cpl. Scott Miller from the Highland County Sheriff’s Office told The Times-Gazette that the sheriff’s office has taken less reports on deer-related crashes since the mid-2000s.
”Most of the time we just instruct people to call their insurance company, and that’s all they have to do,” Miller said. “We used to handle almost 300 [deer-related crashes] a year, but over the years, it’s dropped off since insurance companies don’t require reports anymore.”
Miller told The Times-Gazette that the sheriff’s office took 291 reports on deer-related crashes in 2008, but since then, the number of reports has been steadily decreasing. In 2018, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office only took 14 reports of deer-related crashes. Though they have only taken seven reports on deer-related crashes for all of 2019 to date, Miller said they took six calls about deer collisions in an hour on Thursday morning.
“We’re getting calls on it. We’re just not having to handle reports,” Miller said.
State Farm Agent Amatha Farrens told The Times-Gazette that while it depends on the case and the circumstances, many times, damage can be covered without a report as long as the damage to the vehicle matches what the driver says happened and coverage was in place at the time of the collision.
”Police reports help document and time stamp when a deer strike happened. If there are injuries, most definitely file a report. If there is other property damage, file a policy report,” Farrens said. “In any claim, my team will always ask first, ‘Is everyone OK? Were there any injuries?’ It’s funny that at times we are the first call made and instead of 911. People just ask, ‘What do I do now?’”
State Farm recommends staying alert when in areas deer frequent, especially around dusk and dawn. It recommends using high beams to illuminate dark roads. If a live deer is in the road, State Farm suggests flicking the high beams on and off as well as using the car horn to get it to move on. State Farm warns against swerving if you encounter a deer, instead encouraging drivers to brake hard as long as no other drivers are behind them and to reduce speed as necessary, invoking the saying, “if you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.