Car insurance claims are typically routine occurrences involving minor collisions or storm damage. Police reports occasionally include a humorous sentence or two about mishaps at the accident scene. (I had the image of an enraged grandmother hitting a young punk over the head with her purse.)
However, truly absurd claims are hard to come by. Some have grown to be legends. If you Google “weird insurance claim,” you’ll come across a number of improbable tales about accidents brought on by motorists gawking at nude pedestrians, windshields cracked by squirrel nut attacks, and even one account from a driver who claimed his windscreen melted when a plane crash-landed nearby and burst into flames.
It can be difficult to find claims from reliable sources, but we have found a few for your amusement. Here are 5 actual, truthful, and utterly absurd insurance claims that you must read to believe. The first accident included a mattress and involved three cars.
5: A Mattress That Caused a Pile-Up of Three Cars and More!
News organizations in Seattle covered a strange incident involving a mattress and a three-car collision in December 2011. Evidently, a man and a woman had neglected to safely fasten their mattress to the roof of their SUV. The mattress detached from its fastenings and fell into the middle of I-5 as they were traveling there, resulting in a three-car collision.
The female driver jumped back into her SUV and fled the scene while two helpful bystanders halted to offer assistance, leaving her male passenger to handle the consequences. One of the helpful people left shortly after that. However, he noticed a man’s head “bobbing around in the backseat” a few miles farther down the road. The man passenger from the mattress mishap who had stowed away in an effort to flee the site of the accident unnoticed turned out to be it [source: Komo News]!
Even though that police report must have been absurd and ridiculous, it is unlikely that the three innocent bystanders whose cars were involved in the accident found it funny. Make sure to invest in uninsured motorist policy to shield yourself from culpability in odd accidents like this one.
The next driver is introduced, whose terrible misfortune led to three different insurance claims.
4: A Larry, Moe, and Curly moment for one man
The Three Stooges come to mind. A trio of dim-witted gentlemen named Larry, Moe, and Curly frequently found themselves in ridiculous situations. The Three Stooges, famous for their heart-pounding slapstick, were masters of chain-reaction physical comedy. For example, Moe would slap Larry, who would fall backward into Curly, who would stumble into the stove, setting his pants on fire, prompting Moe to slap down the flames, prompting Curly to slap Moe, and so on.
The bizarre insurance claim that follows sounds like it was written just to be performed by the Three Stooges, but sadly for the embarrassed driver, it wasn’t. The motorist was engaged in a small rear-end collision and damaged the taillight of a car ahead when he reported the incident to his insurance company. A stroke of bad luck caused him to crash into the driver’s front bumper as he slowly reversed to inspect the damage. Then, as he was about to depart his car, he accidentally ran over a nearby cyclist! By the time the collision was over, people who saw it were probably in stitches, but we suppose the unfortunate motorist was anything but amused.
Oh hail no, third! A Car Insurance Company Complains
Block and Hyland Inc. president Tim Hyland recalls a hailstorm from the 1990s that resulted in a “hail” of insurance claims. One of them was an automobile with significant hail damage, which raised some red flags. The adjuster examined the damage, and he wasn’t convinced that hail could have been to blame for the round, symmetrical divots that covered the whole surface of the wrecked car.
The claim was denied by Hyland’s company, which informed the claimant that it was obvious the car had been intentionally damaged—not by hail, but by a ball-peen hammer. Hyland believed the client would dismiss the case out of sheer embarrassment at being discovered engaging in blatant insurance fraud. Instead, the man reported the incident to the police, saying that an unidentified attacker had hit his car with a ball-peen hammer! The client then submitted a second insurance claim, and this time Hyland’s company was compelled to pay the claim because they couldn’t establish that the client had caused the damage themselves.
This act was cunning and intentional, but our subsequent bizarre insurance claim was a genuine shot in the dark. Intrigued? Read on.
Have Insurance? Next, fire away.
Hettler Insurance Agency’s Ron Hettler can still clearly recall a claim from his first year of operation. He was following a client around in his pickup truck while the customer was riding shotgun. The customer got out of the cab and grabbed his revolver as he approached his location. Unfortunately, he slipped, and the rifle went off. The customer wasn’t sure if the gun went off on its own as it hit the ground or if he had discharged it while reaching for it.
The man was happily unharmed, but the interior of the truck wasn’t as lucky because the rifle was filled with buckshot. The dashboard, seat covers, and headliner of the truck’s cab had all sustained significant damage. Fortunately, the client possessed comprehensive insurance, usually known as OTC (other than collision) coverage. Comprehensive insurance, according to Hettler, “is very broad and covers many unusual situations,” presumably including shooting your own pickup truck.
A Hippie Van’s Long, Strange Journey, Part 1
In order to have a fold-down bed fitted in the back of her beloved “hippie van” in 1974, Chattaroy, Washington resident Michelle Squires drove to an upholstery shop. After the van vanished from the parking lot of the store, Squires, distraught, made a claim with her insurance provider, Allstate. They paid her back around $600 for the car, which was what she had originally paid.
After 35 years had passed, United States Customs and Border Protection agents in Los Angeles discovered a fully restored, functional VW minibus inside a shipping container headed for the Netherlands. Following a VIN (vehicle identification number) check, they learned that the car was the same one that had been taken from Squires in 1974.
The minibus is currently owned by Allstate and is valued roughly $25,000. Squires believes she can work out a deal with her insurance company and get her minibus back. If it could talk, just think of the tales it would tell!
We’d be interested in hearing about any strange insurance stories you may have. You can find more useful links and a ton of additional information in the section after you leave a remark.