Peacocks, puppies, and other hazards of the road: strange car insurance claims

April 3, 2023



Peacock attacks, a puppy mistaken for a handbrake, hungry mice, and a series of small but distracting creepy crawlies are behind some of the UK’s strangest motor insurance claims.

Image via Meena uba on Flickr

Car insurance specialists Admiral requested their employees to submit the oddest reasons they’ve encountered for making an insurance claim, and the winning list – released late last week – reveals that the clear leaders came from the animal kingdom.

Peacocks were particularly well represented, with 4 of the top 12 animal claims involving the showy birds and their apparently vicious dislike of motorised vehicles.  Also well represented were dogs, most unusually in the case of a passenger in a car who reached down to pick up a puppy which had escaped from their lap and accidentally seized the car’s handbrake instead.

An elephant, a camel, and a miniature horse were among the more unusual critters that made an appearance on the list. Mice and rats showed an unfortunate tendency to treat vehicle parts as food, and a spider and fly proved that you don’t have to be large to create havoc on the road.

Dave Halliday, Admiral’s managing director, pointed out that:

“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!”

Indeed, when you realise just how many bizarre things can go wrong in regards to your car, it becomes obvious how important it is to have good car insurance. This is not as expensive or complicated as you might think – if you have numerous vehicles consider multicar insurance to get the best deal.

The 12 most unusual animal claims Admiral has handled are:

  1. The front seat passenger had a puppy on their lap which jumped down from the seat. The passenger reached down to pick up the puppy but accidently pulled up the handbrake causing the car to skid into another vehicle.
  2. A car was damaged at a village fete when a miniature pony broke loose and climbed over the bonnet.
  3. A car was damaged by a peacock which, on seeing its reflection, clawed the car.
  4. A driver was distracted by a camel and an elephant tethered at the side of the road and collided with a bollard.
  5. A driver drove into a telephone pole while trying to swat a fly inside the vehicle.
  6. A rare show car, a Lancia Delta Intergrale, was destroyed while in storage by a nest of mice which chewed through the leather and foam of the two front seats, partially devoured the rear seats and completely stripped the leather from all four door interiors.
  7. A car was damaged by a group of peacocks which escaped from the owner’s neighbour’s garden.
  8. While driving, a man leaned over to stroke his dog, got distracted and crashed his car.
  9. A driver caused a multi car shunt after being startled by a spider dangling from the rear view mirror.
  10. A car was parked in a woodland car park and was damaged by a male peacock which took a dislike to the vehicle.
  11. A car was damaged by rats which entered the engine compartment and chewed through internal parts.
  12. A car was damaged while parked in a hotel car park after it was attacked by a peacock owned by the hotel.

(And check out our Pinspire board with images of the usual culprits here.)

Dave Halliday continues:

“From territorial peacocks, creepy crawlies and cute puppies, it seems it’s not just other road users motorists should be aware of. These unusual incidents illustrate how important it is to remain focused on the road ahead at all times and not to get distracted by animals whether they’re inside or outside your vehicle. Whilst 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.”

Have you ever experienced an animal-related mishap while driving? Tell us your stories below…

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