Most of the time, car insurance claims are humdrum affairs involving fender benders or storm damage. Once in a while, police reports might contain a funny sentence or two regarding accident-scene kerfuffles. (The picture of an angry granny swatting a young punk over the head with her purse comes to mind.)
Truly bizarre claims, however, are rare and elusive. Some have become the stuff of legend. If you Google “weird insurance claim,” you’ll find multiple improbable rumors involving wrecks caused by drivers ogling naked pedestrians, windshields damaged in squirrel nut attacks, and even one report by a driver who claimed his windscreen melted when a plane crash-landed nearby and burst into flames.
Claims with legitimate sources are harder to come by, but we’ve unearthed a few for your amusement. Here are 5 genuine, real-deal, truly off-the-wall insurance claims that you’ll have to read to believe. First up, a mattress that caused a three-car pile-up.
In December 2011, Seattle news outlets reported a bizarre story involving a mattress and a three-car pile-up. Apparently, a couple — a man and a woman — had failed to tie their mattress securely to the top of their SUV. As they were driving on I-5, the mattress loosed itself from its moorings and landed in the middle of the highway, causing a three-way crash.
As two good Samaritans stopped to help, the female driver hopped back into her SUV and fled the scene, leaving her male passenger to deal with the aftermath. Shortly thereafter, one of the good Samaritans also left. A few miles down the road, however, he spied a man’s head “bobbing around in the backseat.” It turned out to be the male passenger from the mattress incident, who had stowed away, hoping to escape the accident scene undetected [source:Komo News]!
As ludicrous and laughable as that police report must have been, the three innocent passersby whose cars were damaged in the accident were probably not amused. To protect yourself fromliability in crazy incidents like this one, be sure to invest in uninsured motorist coverage.
Next up, we introduce one at-fault driver whose incredible misfortune resulted in three separate insurance claims.
Remember the Three Stooges? The characters Larry, Moe and Curly were a trio of none-too-bright gentleman who were always getting themselves into improbable scrapes. Known for their gut-busting slapstick, the Three Stooges perfected the art of chain-reaction physical comedy: Moe would slap Larry, who would fall backward into Curly, who would stumble into the stove, causing his pants to catch on fire, causing Moe to slap down the flames, causing Curly to slap Moe and so on.
Our next weird insurance claim reads like it was hand-crafted to be performed by the Stooges; unfortunately for the shamefaced driver, it was not. As the driver reported on his insurance claim, he was involved in a minor rear-end collision in which he smashed the taillight of a car ahead. He then reversed slightly so that he could survey the damage, but in a stroke of ill luck, he hit the front bumper of the driver behind him. Then, when he opened his door to exit his vehicle, he knocked down a passing cyclist! While those who witnessed the accident were probably in stitches by the time it was over, we imagine the unfortunate driver was less than amused.
Tim Hyland, president of Block and Hyland Inc., recalls a hail storm back in the 1990s that caused a “hail” of a lot of insurance claims. Among them was one rather suspicious claim for heavy hail damage to a car. When the adjuster inspected the damage, he was skeptical that hail could have caused the perfectly symmetrical, round divots that peppered the entire surface of the damaged car.
Hyland’s company rejected the claim, telling the claimant that clearly, the vehicle had been purposefully damaged, not by hail, but by a ball-peen hammer. Hyland figured the client would be so embarrassed at being caught in an obvious attempt at insurance fraud that he would simply drop the entire matter. Instead, the man filed a police report claiming that an unknown assailant had beaten his car with a ball-peen hammer! The client then filed a new insurance claim, and this time, because they couldn’t prove that the client had inflicted the damage himself, Hyland’s company was forced to pay the claim.
This incident was sneaky and purposeful, but our next weird insurance claim was a random shot in the dark, literally. Intrigued? Read on.
Ron Hettler of Hettler Insurance Agency vividly remembers a claim from his first year in the business. A client of his was driving around in his pickup truck and had his shotgun riding, well, shotgun. Arriving at his destination, the client grabbed his gun and hopped out of the cab. Unfortunately, he lost his grip and the gun discharged. The client wasn’t sure if he’d fired the gun while grabbing for it or if it went off by itself as it hit the ground.
The gun was loaded with buckshot and while thankfully, the man was uninjured, the truck’s interior wasn’t as fortunate. The entire cab of the truck — headliner, seat covers and dashboard — had suffered extensive damage. Luckily, the client had comprehensive (also called OTC, orOther Than Collision) insurance. As Hettler says, comprehensive insurance “is very broad and covers many weird incidents,” including, apparently, shooting your own pickup truck