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Car insurance excuses: ‘We crashed after mistaking handbrake for puppy’

Peacocks proved particularly problematical for drivers. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Peacocks proved particularly problematical for drivers. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

  • by STEPHEN MCGINTY
 

ANIMALS do the funniest things. The lighter side of the mundane world of car insurance has been revealed in a new survey that identifies hidden perils such as puppies, mice and unprovoked attacks by peacocks.

The report detailed the strangest claims that a car insurance company processed during the past two years and identified that our furry and feathered friends were often the most surprising culprits.

Among the claims was one from an unfortunate motorist whose pride and joy was destroyed by a nest of mice who took a liking to its stylish leather interior.

Another driver collided with a bollard after the front-seat passenger pulled up the handbrake, having mistaken it for a puppy which had jumped down from their lap. A third driver hit a telephone pole while trying to swat a fly inside their vehicle.

In a curious twist, peacocks seem to be particularly troublesome for many motorists and four out of the twelve most unusual animal claims involve the feathered birds launching violent attacks on vehicles.

These include a car clawed by a peacock after seeing its reflection in the paintwork and another damaged by a group of peacocks which had escaped from a neighbour’s garden.

Dave Halliday, managing director of the insurance firm Admiral, said: “We asked our claims handlers to tell us about any unusual claims they had dealt with that really stood out for them and found that animals featured in the most memorable ones. Although amusing to read about now, any incident is distressing for those involved and our handlers are trained to be understanding and professional. However, it goes to show car insurance is not always as dull as you may think.”

Among the dozen most unusual animal claims Admiral has handled include:

A car was damaged at a village fete when a miniature pony broke loose and climbed over the bonnet.

A driver was distracted by a camel and an elephant tethered at the side of the road and collided with a bollard.

While driving, a man leaned over to stroke his dog, got distracted and crashed his car.

A driver caused a multi car shunt after being startled by a spider dangling from the rear view mirror.

Last night, Keith Peat of the Association of British Drivers, said: “How funny. Like most people I think of damage caused by accidents or vandalism and would never think of the danger caused by a peacock.

“Then again, I’m sure I’ve had a low tension cable chewed through by some animal – I would just never think of claiming for it. Admiral have opened a can of worms here, now we are aware of what we can claim for.”

Mr Halliday said: “These unusual incidents illustrate how important it is to remain focused on the road at all times and not to get distracted by animals – inside or outside your vehicle.

“While it’s more difficult to protect your car exterior from a frantic peacock, if you are transporting pets, make sure they are safely secured so as not to cause any distraction.”

 

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