Insurance claims for car accidents involving wild animals rocketed last year, following a relaxation in the rules.
According to latest figures from the French Environment Ministry, in 2007 there were 6000 claims to the state guarantee fund (Fond de garantie) for road traffic accidents involving wild animals.
Last year, this figure rose sevenfold, to over 42,000 claims, with the level of indemnity rising from EUR9 million to EUR21 million.
Three main animal species, wild boar (40%), deer (36%) and stag (8%), accounted the vast majority of the accidents.
Regions most affected were the forests of Landes, Alsace, Lorraine, Seine-et-Marne and Sologne.
The explanation for such a large increase in claims does not lie in an inexplicable surge in the number of wild animals traversing the road network, or an increase in the inattentiveness of drivers.
The reason is simply that the regulations changed midway through 2007, so there is no longer an insurance excess that applies for such claims. Instead, the state backed Fonds de garantie picks up all the costs of the accident, irrespective of any excess clauses in your own vehicle insurance policy.
The regulations were introduced in order to comply with the 5th European Directive on car insurance.
If you are fully insured then your insurance policy will cover such accidents, although if an excess applies, then this will be picked up by the Fonds de garantie.
Those with third party only insurance polices will have their costs fully met by the Fonds de garantie, although the claim needs to be lodged with your insurer.