Squirrel caused £5,500 motor insurance claim
A falling squirrel which dropped into an open-topped car triggered a £5,500 insurance claim, it has emerged.The incident was one of the more spectacular encounters involving motorists and animals recorded by AA insurance.
In this case the woman motorist was so startled by the sudden and unannounced arrival of a bushy-tailed furry passenger that she lost control of the car and ploughed into a tree.
The AA alone dealt with 112 “animal strike” cases in October and November. This would be equivalent to 4,000 incidents in which the encounter was sufficient to trigger an insurance claim.
In November alone, there were 30 claims relating to incidents with deer, five involving foxes, three badger encounters and 11 dog-linked crashes.
“Deer are by far the biggest culprit and this time of the year is the rutting season.” said an AA spokesman.
“Also deer tend to move at dusk or very early in the morning and, during the winter, this puts their movements right in the time when people are commuting."
Only last week the Department for Transport disclosed that there had been a sharp rise in fatal accidents involving animals, with eight people being killed last year compared with only one in 2010.
It is also estimated that 450 people are injured in accidents involving deer a year, while more than 40,000 of the animals are killed after being hit by cars.
It has led to North Yorkshire County Council posting signs to warn motorists of the dangers of wandering sheep on the moors.
The danger posed by animals is acknowledged in the Highway Code, which advises shepherds and those herding cattle not to do so after dusk.