Home and Contents Insurance - Cute, cuddly and costly

By: Michael Challiner
Not everyone will remember the road safety campaign aimed at toddlers and small children and called the “Tufty Club". Tufty’s full name was Tufty Fluffytail and the cute and very sensible squirrel was the logo for the scheme. Road safety scenarios were acted out using roll-out plastic crossings, pedal cars and children acting as “lollipop ladies". Squashed fruit and flattened footballs demonstrated what would happen should you not obey Tufty’s rules. The club started in the early 1960’s and continued into the 1980’s. By the mid 1970’s it’s understood that there was a membership of 2m youngsters.

One of the main life assurance companies featured a squirrel as its logo too. Presumably he was perceived as cute, friendly and reliable and policies were referred to as “the one with the squirrel on", when customers were at a loss for the name of the company.

Whether a couple who recently had ?10,000 worth of damage done by a rampaging squirrel would agree with these images is another matter. It was reported recently that this was the final figure to put right the damage caused as a result one of these fluffy friends falling down a chimney.

Returning to their home after a weekend away, they were met with a scene of devastation. Carpets and soft furnishings were chewed and ripped. Wooden furniture was gnawed and even the window frames had been gnawed through in the squirrel’s desperate attempt to escape from the house. Wallpaper had been scratched off the wall and even the light fittings had been damaged. In its panic it had sprayed urine and faeces all over the room and the smell was horrific. Fortunately the door of the room was closed and damage was limited to one room. It appears that the squirrel had dropped down the chimney – a fall of 30ft. The unfortunate squirrel was found dead behind a coffee table. It’s terror at not being able to escape from the unfamiliar surroundings had apparently resulted in a heart attack.

An RSPCA spokesman has said that this was a rare and unfortunate incident. He advised that if a householder hears odd noises or has cause to suspect that anything is trapped in the chimney, they should call out the RSPCA without delay.

In another report a squirrel was blamed for eating through a power cable and causing havoc by cutting off the power supply to thousands of homes and businesses for five hours, not to mention causing the failure of traffic lights in the town on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon in Exeter.

Householders should be aware that whilst the soft furnishings and contents of the home would be part of a claim against the house contents policy, the damage to the window frames would come under buildings insurance. Therefore there would be two separate claims to be made as a result of the marauding squirrel in the first incident. Not all insurance companies cover damage caused by squirrels and obviously this should be checked on your policy.

When taking out insurance, then, both for contents and buildings, it is important that possible damage by squirrels and other rodents should be included. Read the small print carefully and specifically. As Tufty himself would have said “Take care."

Insurance
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Insurance