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Does insurance cover hitting an animal?

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Hitting an animal on the road is a horrible experience to go through. Not only do you have to deal with the mental stress of striking and possibly killing another living thing, but it's likely that such a collision will do a number on your car. While bearing the guilt of the accident, will you have to also bear the costs or will your car insurance cover you?

The answer is yes, if you have comprehensive car insurance. If you often head out on road trips or travel along roads and highways where kangaroos or cows could leap onto the road in front of you, it's worth investing in a comprehensive policy to avoid having to pay to get your car reconstructed after impact.

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: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently come up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. They only cover the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps their premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be thanks to optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer, and the option of agreed or market value. Plus, you'll earn Qantas Points when you join and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription - you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at anytime. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who only need cover for a short period of time.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. They'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. They offer higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. You get a free Bauer magazine subscription when you sign up and a portion of your premiums go to supporting female-led businesses.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (they'll cover men too!).
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. You'll get 15% off when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Real Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
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 on their online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online. Plus, Kogan offer a pay as you drive option, which could be good if you're not on the road that much.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those that don't drive much.
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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MarilynNovember 12, 2019

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

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseNovember 13, 2019Staff

      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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