What should you do if you hit a kangaroo while driving?

What should you do if you hit a kangaroo while driving? | RateCity

Hitting a roo while driving isn't uncommon in Australia, but it can cause severe damage to your car. Kangaroos are large and powerful animals weighing between 30-90 kilograms. They can cover almost 25 feet in a single leap and attain high speeds over short distances. 

Colliding with an animal as strong and fast as a kangaroo can cause different types of damage to your car, depending on your speed at the time of the collision and how you hit the roo. It could be as insignificant as a smashed headlight if you were driving slowly or a crushed bumper with possible internal damage in case of a head-on collision. The damage to life and property is often worse if you swerve the car to avoid hitting the animal and then hit trees or other passers-by. 

Irrespective of the damage caused, hitting a kangaroo is likely to be a traumatic experience, and it's important to know what to do next if you are involved in a collision.

What should you do if you accidentally hit a kangaroo?

Depending on your car’s speed and how quickly you hit the brakes, a surprise encounter with a roo could seriously damage your car and even kill the animal. Even if it's just a brush, it's natural to panic, which could cloud your judgement of what to do next. Familiarising yourself with the steps to take on hitting an animal by mistake will help you keep calm if you end up in such a situation and possibly save the animal’s life.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you should do if you end up hitting a kangaroo by mistake:

  • If you have hit a kangaroo or any other animal, the first thing to do is pull over if it is safe to stop on the road. Once you have pulled over and ensured the safety of everybody in the car (call 000 for medical help), the next step is to check on the animal to confirm whether it's alive or needs any assistance. It's important to approach the animal with caution, as it can injure you if you go too near. An animal in distress can act in unexpected ways, and it's vital to ensure your safety in such situations.

  • If the roo isn't breathing and you feel confident, you could check its pouch for a joey. You may also try to pull the animal (depending on its size and your strength) off the road to ensure the safety of other motorists.

  • If the kangaroo is still alive, don't attempt to move it. Instead, call the injured wildlife hotline at 1300 596 457 or the nearest wildlife organisation you are aware of. If you find yourself in a rural area without mobile connectivity, you could consider going to the nearest police station to notify them of the incident.

  • If you find the kangaroo isn't breathing, but you find a joey in the pouch, seek instructions from a wildlife organisation, such as WIRES, on how to remove it and keep it safe until help is at hand. You may also mark the location of the accident and take some pictures of the mum to help the rescue organisation identify the species, which could greatly help in the rehabilitation of the joey.

  • Click some pictures of the accident site and the damage caused to your car (and any other vehicles involved) provided you feel safe and able to do so. It's also helpful to get the name, registration and contact details of anybody else involved in the accident.

Can you claim insurance for damage due to an animal hit?

Kangaroos collisions can cost up to $5,000 in damages. In extreme cases, you may have to write off your car, as the cost of repairs can exceed the car's value. Thankfully, it's possible to claim these expenses from your insurer, provided you have a comprehensive car insurance policy that covers animal damage.

Is hitting an animal an at-fault accident?

If you happen to hit a kangaroo (or any other animal) accidentally, your car insurer will not find you at fault unless you were drunk or driving irresponsibly. Still, your future premiums may increase after you make a claim for hitting an animal. 

This happens because the insurer can't seek compensation from another party in such cases and may want to pass on the costs to you in the form of future premiums. You could also lose any no-claims bonus you had saved up. 

For this reason, it’s worth weighing up the cost of repairs to your vehicle and the potential increase in your premiums before you file a claim on an accident. If the damage caused to the car is minimal, it could be better to pay for the repairs from your pocket in some cases. 

If you decide to make a claim, the process for claiming on your insurance after hitting an animal is similar to that for any other road accident.

How to prevent hitting a kangaroo with your vehicle?

Kangaroos are responsible for the majority of animal accidents on the roads in Australia. Changing weather conditions have further increased the risk of kangaroos wandering on roads in search of fresh food. 

However, you are not likely to see kangaroos on the roads throughout the day. Roos are typically the most active at dawn and dusk, which is when most of the hits happen. Avoiding kangaroo hotspots during these hours can reduce your risk of hitting a roo to an extent. 

Kangaroos usually move around in groups. If you spot a kangaroo in the distance, it could be worth slowing down your vehicle as you can expect some more of these muscular marsupials in the vicinity.

In the event that a kangaroo hops in front of your car, it's advisable to brake in a straight line rather than swerving, which could lead you to hit the trees or a passer-by. Swerving the car to avoid the roo after you brake in a straight line gives you better control of the vehicle and a chance to judge the direction in which the roo will head. 

Unfortunately, it may just be an unavoidable fact of driving in areas with kangaroos that this does happen. Be cautious of signage indicating animals are around and to ‘please drive slowly’, so you may have a better chance of avoiding this happening. 

It’s also worth checking your insurance coverage, especially if you are planning to drive in the outbacks or rural areas to check whether or not your insurance includes animal damage. If you find your cover to be inadequate, you may want to compare insurance deals to upgrade your cover.


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Product database updated 11 Dec, 2023
Fact Checked

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.