NSW experienced the biggest increase, with claims involving the iconic marsupial jumping by almost 40 per cent in 2023 compared to 2022.
IAG collated data from four major insurance brands it underwrites - NRMA, CGU, WFI, and RACV - and supplied the results to Yahoo Finance. Claims involving kangaroos were up in every state except Western Australia where they remained steady.
The reason behind the increase is probably quite simple, according to the insurer. Animal collisions decreased during the COVID pandemic because there were fewer cars on the roads of states impacted by lockdowns.
Western Australia was not as affected by COVID as the eastern states and it was business as usual within its closed borders. Since life returned to normal in states like NSW and Victoria, claim numbers have surged towards pre-COVID levels and this likely explains the increase.
As well as being tragic for the animal, motorists who strike a kangaroo can also face a significant financial burden. Those making a claim will have to pay an excess.
Kangaroo collision claims by the numbers
In NSW, claims involving kangaroos were up 39 per cent - from 6,567 in 2022 to 9,144 in 2023. ACT also experienced an increase, with numbers rising from 539 in 2022 to 762 the following year.
Numbers were also up in Victoria - 5,980 in 2022 to 6,788 in 2023, and Queensland jumped from 1,239 to 1,614. Claims in South Australia remained largely stagnant.
With 269 claims over the two-year period, the Central-West NSW city of Dubbo had the largest number, and 160 of them were in 2023. The town or city with the second-highest toll was Goulburn at 176, followed by Mudgee at 126, Armidale at 124 and Canberra with 121.
In South Australia, Mt Gambier had the highest number of claims (60) across 2022 and 2023, while at 119, Sunbury had the most in Victoria. For Western Australia it was Collie with 41 and in Queensland it was Goondiwindi with 39.
Some places close to bushland had few claims. They included Mount Isa in Queensland, which only had 17, and Lake Clifton in Western Australia, which had 12.
Some months were much worse for collisions in NSW, with July to October particularly bad. While the data gives insight into how drivers are impacting wildlife, it's important to note the figures do not represent the total number of kangaroos hit by cars, but rather the number of claims IAG processed involving them.
How to avoid hitting a kangaroo
In a statement, IAG’s head of claims, Luke Gallagher, said because animals were unpredictable, it was important to be particularly aware in regional areas, and when driving at dawn or dusk.
“Any accident on the road with wildlife is very distressing for people. The damage to a vehicle can be significant and can cause injuries to drivers and passengers,” he said.
“If you see an animal on the road while driving, try to slow down, brake and don’t swerve to avoid it, as you run the risk of colliding with another car or running off the road.”