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Wildlife accidents: how to protect both yourself and the animals

Wildlife collision
Wildlife collision
Suddenly, a deer appears out of nowhere on the road in front of you. How should you react? Accidents involving wild animals usually occur without warning – and but are more frequent than you think. Find out what to do if you collide with a wild animal and which insurance covers the damage to your vehicle.

How are accidents involving wild animals insured?

Collisions with wild animals can cause serious damage, leaving big dents and scratches on your car. As a general rule, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle. But not every accident involving wild animals is insured in the same way. Depending on how the accident occurs, either partially comprehensive insurance or fully comprehensive insurance (i.e. partially comprehensive plus collision insurance) will cover the damage to your car.

What should I do if I have an accident involving a wild animal?

Even if you are always attentive and careful behind the wheel, unexpected situations can arise at any time. If a wild animal appears on the road in front of you at the last second, a collision is unavoidable. Swerving to avoid the animal is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, slam on the brakes, keep a firm hold on the steering wheel and keep in your lane. Stay calm after a collision and proceed as follows:

  1. Bring the car to standstill and activate your hazard warning lights.
  2. Put up your breakdown triangle to warn other drivers.
  3. Notify the police (tel. 117); you are obliged to report accidents involving wild animals. If you fail to notify the police or inform them too late, you are liable to prosecution and risk having to pay a fine. By reporting the accident straight away, you can save an injured animal from a painful death.
  4. The police will organize the necessary professionals, such as game wardens and vets.
  5. Under no circumstances should you go near the animal. The proximity of people means enormous stress for an injured animal and makes it even more afraid.
  6. Report the accident to your insurer. To do this you will need the accident report form that the police or game warden will give you.

Report vehicle damage

Have you secured the accident site and notified the police? Report your claim quickly and easily online.

How can I avoid accidents involving wild animals?

If you drive attentively and take special care, you can substantially reduce the risk of accidents involving wild animals. The following tips are designed to protect you – and the animals.

When an animal suddenly appears at the side of the road

Slow down

Reduce your speed and switch on your lights to low beam. Strong light frightens off animals.

Sound your horn to scare the animal away

If the animal doesn’t disappear, sound your horn to scare it off.

Further animals on forest and field borders

If one animal is crossing the road, more may follow. Wild animals often move in herds.

As a general rule: pay attention to the ambient conditions

Dangerous locations

When driving along the edges of forests or fields, or on stretches of road marked with warning signs for wild animals, slow down, keep a safe distance from other vehicles and be ready to brake at any time.


You are particularly likely to encounter wild animals crossing roads in autumn and winter. But an accident involving wild animals can happen at any time of year.

Time of day

Accidents involving wild animals often occur at dawn, dusk and night-time. That is why you should be especially attentive at those times of day.