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Accidents with wild animals: this is what you should do

In the autumn, more wild animals are on the move seeking food, especially in the twilight hours. Drivers should thus be cautious when on the roads, as around 20,000 accidents involving wild animals occur each year. Deer are the most common victims, followed by red foxes and badgers. This is what you should do if you hit an animal.

16 november 2020, text: Jens Wiesenhütter, photo: Pixabay

four deer at the roadside
If a wild animal is hit by a vehicle, the incident must be reported to the police.

Initial steps in the event of an accident involving a deer, stag, red fox, etc.

These are the steps you must take if you hit a wild animal:

  1. Stop and switch on your hazard lights
  2. Use a warning triangle to secure the site of the accident
  3. Report the accident to the police (telephone number 117)
  4. Wait until the gamekeeper or the police are at the scene
  5. Do not approach the animal; you will put it under additional stress
  6. Inform your insurance company

The police call in a gamekeeper, hunter or vet to help the animal as quickly as possible, so it is important to report the accident as soon as you can. If you do not call, you are at risk of being reported to the authorities. If the collision was unavoidable in spite of driving correctly and the report was made promptly, there is also no risk of incurring a fine in the event of an accident involving a wild animal.

Avoid a collision

To avoid an accident, pay attention to signs warning of animals crossing. In such places, adjust your speed and the distance to the driver in front so that you can brake promptly. If there is an animal on the carriageway, this is what you should do:

  1. Brake immediately
  2. Dim your headlights
  3. If necessary, sound your horn
  4. Under no circumstances, swerve in an uncontrolled manner

How are accidents involving wild animals insured?

Damage caused to a vehicle in a collision with an animal – whether it be a domestic or a wild animal – is covered by a comprehensive insurance policy. It is important to bear in mind here that a partially comprehensive insurance policy only pays out for the damage if a collision with an animal actually occurs. Damage to a vehicle as a result of the driver merely swerving is only covered by a comprehensive insurance policy. In the event of a collision with a wild animal, the driver must ensure that the bodies responsible – that is, the police or the gamekeeper – log the incident. If he fails to do so, the loss event will only be covered provided he holds a comprehensive insurance policy.

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