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Does insurance cover hitting an animal?

Yes, car insurance covers hitting an animal, but only if you have a comprehensive policy.

Car insurance can cover hitting a kangaroo or other animal in Australia. It's considered an at-fault accident so you might lose your no claims bonus and you will probably have to pay an excess too. However, depending on the severity of the damage, it could be worth it.

Insurance claim for hitting an animal

The steps for making an insurance claim after hitting an animal are similar to those for any other accident on the road. Stop your vehicle, get the name, registration and contact details of anybody else involved in the accident, and take photographs of the damage to your car. If you intend to claim on the accident - not always a good idea, as we'll discuss below - you should get a quote from a licensed repairer so you have everything your insurer will require.

While accidentally hitting an animal on the road isn't a crime, you should still report the incident to the authorities, though your insurer shouldn't require a report number for the crash. It's always advisable to call the local police or wildlife rangers to see if the animal can be saved or to dispose of the animal if it's been killed in the crash.

Does hitting an animal raise your insurance

In an ideal world, blindsiding a kangaroo that's come sprinting out of nowhere right in front of your oncoming vehicle wouldn't affect your insurance premiums. After all, you've usually done nothing wrong aside from lacking inhuman reflexes. Unfortunately, this is precisely the reason that claiming on a collision with an animal could significantly raise your premiums. Because striking an animal isn't an at-fault accident unless you were drunk or otherwise driving irresponsibly, your insurer can't seek compensation from another party and will likely offload the costs onto you in the form of inflated premiums. You'll probably lose any no-claims bonus you had saved up, too.

So when considering whether to claim on an accident, weigh up the cost of repairs to your vehicle against the potential long-term increase to your premiums. If the crash isn't extreme or the damage minimal, it might not be worth it to claim.

Law for hitting an animal

Your legal obligations after hitting an animal on the road are largely designed to make sure the road remains safe for other drivers and to ease the animal's pain. You're required to remove the animal from the road if you are able to and it is safe to do so, or else you need to contact the local police. If you hit a domestic pet, you must try and contact that pet's owner or the police. Hitting an animal by accident isn't a crime.

What to do when hitting an animal

Immediately after the collision, you should stop your car, pull over and turn on your hazard lights. Using a towel or blanket to protect yourself, you should then assess the animal's condition and check for the presence of surviving young in pouches. If the animal is alive, call up a local vet or wildlife rescue organisation (e.g. WIRES, Native Animal Rescue, Wildcare Australia) to seek medical attention for it. If you can do so safely, remove the animal from the road.

If the animal is dead or too badly injured to be saved, contact the local police to arrange for its euthanasia. By law, you're expected to do all you reasonably can to ease the animal's pain.

How common is hitting an animal?

According to the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, about 5% of total collisions a year involve hitting an animal, meaning that there are thousands of annual accidents involving animals. The most common animals struck were kangaroos, involved in 9 out of 10 incidents in rural areas, followed by dogs.

The price of hitting an animal can also be extensive, with insurer RAA saying the bill could easily come in at anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to the car simply being written off.

How to avoid hitting an animal

With all these costs in mind (as well as the trauma of the accident), the best thing to do is take precautions to avoid hitting an animal in the first place. Here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Follow warning signs on the road advertising the presence of local wildlife.
  • Be careful around dusk and dawn, when animals like kangaroos or wombats are most active.
  • If you see any animals on the road ahead, slow down. One animal could indicate the presence of more. Your car horn can be used to scare them away from the roadside.
  • If you see livestock on the road, report it to the local authorities to help out other drivers.

Bottom line

If you ever spend your time on rural roads around Australia, or even in areas of the city where there are parks or where people may have pets wandering around the neighbourhood, consider getting comprehensive car insurance. It may not save the animal's life, but it can certainly save you a lot of financial heartaches.

Want cover? Compare comprehensive car insurance

Name Product Roadside assistance Accidental damage Storm Choice of repairer Agreed or market value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: The 2023 winner of our Best Value Car Insurance award. It's cheaper than most, plus you can lower costs by adding age restrictions.

⭐ Current offer: 15% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Anyone who wants a good value policy.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: The 2023 winner of our Best Features Car Insurance award. Plus, it's one of the only insurers to automatically include roadside assistance.

Who it might be good for: Those who want good customer service with lots of inclusions.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Covers a little more than other insurers. You don’t need to pay an excess for windscreen repairs and cover applies to anyone who uses your car.

⭐ Current offer: Get $100 off your first year's comprehensive car insurance premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Multiple people using one car.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Our data shows it’s the cheapest comprehensive policy. It just covers the basics such as damage to your car, theft and storms – it doesn’t go in for add-ons and extras.

Who it might be good for: Those wanting a low-cost, no-frills policy.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Our best-rated Car Insurer for Customer Satisfaction in 2021/2022 and Green Insurer for the last 3 years.

⭐ Current offer: Save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those who want a trustworthy insurer and more cover than other brands, such as 3-year new car replacement (e.g. they'll give you money for a new car for up to 3 years if yours is written off).
Kogan Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Kogan comes with all the perks that most comprehensive car insurance policies include, but you'll also be entitled to some benefits from its online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online.

⭐ Current offer: Get $115 off first year premiums when you purchase Kogan Comprehensive Car Insurance online + $10 monthly kogan.com credit. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those after a good range of policy options.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You need car insurance so why not get one that lets you earn Qantas Points? It's good value too (it's underwritten by the same insurer as Budget Direct). .

⭐ Current offer: Earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points with every Qantas Car Insurance policy you take out by 7 February. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want more bang for their buck with Qantas Points.
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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MarilynNovember 12, 2019

    In NSW can a driver claim on CTP if they hit a kangaroo?

      AvatarFinder
      CharisseNovember 13, 2019Finder

      Hi Marilyn,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      Standard car insurance (CTP) does not cover damage caused by hitting a kangaroo with your car. In the event that an animal hits your car (or you hit an animal on the road), you will only be covered if you have a comprehensive insurance.

      Please review the fine print of your car insurance policy or speak with your insurer directly for further assistance.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

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