RACV received nearly 15 animal collision insurance claims each day in the last financial year, as the frequency and cost of collisions between motor vehicles and animals increased more than five per cent, new RACV Insurance figures show.
RACV Insurance paid out more than $24 million to members involved in more than 5300 animal collisions in 2015-16. The average cost of claims was 2.1 per cent higher than the previous year.
Kangaroos were involved in 82 per cent of all animal collisions resulting in an RACV claim.
Wombats were the second most common animal involved in collisions, accounting for 240 claims, followed by dogs with 218 claims.
RACV General Manager Motor Insurance Mark Geraghty said most animal collisions happened near dawn and after dusk.
“For kangaroos, the greatest risk periods are around 6am and 6pm. Collisions with wombats peak about 9pm and incidents involving dogs are fairly evenly spread throughout the day from 8am to 10pm,” Mr Geraghty said.
RACV’s community partner Wildlife Victoria is helping to create awareness of how to live sustainably with wildlife. Chief Executive Officer Karen Masson said that kangaroos and other animals will often feed beside roads, where the grass tends to be fresher from water run-off.
“These areas are attractive to wildlife but it unfortunately creates a heightened risk for the animals and for road users, so it’s important to always be on the lookout for them,” she said.
Mr Geraghty said that while animal collisions could happen at any time during the year, the number of collisions involving kangaroos spiked in autumn and 30 per cent of wombat accidents were recorded in winter.
RACV Insurance received animal collision claims from every Victorian municipality, ranging from 413 in Greater Bendigo to two in Stonnington and one in Yarra. Of the Bendigo claims, 402 involved kangaroos, while a kangaroo and a dog were involved in the Stonnington collisions and a dog in the Yarra collision.
Mr Geraghty said motorists should always drive at a speed suitable for the conditions and remember that rapidly expanding urban areas increasingly bring us into contact with wildlife when we may not expect to.
“Whether a collision happens on a country road, highway or urban street, colliding with an animal can be heartbreaking. It can put you and your family at risk and also prove costly if your vehicle needs repairing,” he said.
“While avoiding collisions is always best, motorists should hold adequate comprehensive insurance coverage to ensure that costs associated with a collision are recovered.”
Motorists are advised to call 1300 094 535 to report injured or sick native animals to Wildlife Victoria, which can treat injured animals or, if the animal didn’t survive check for young.