Earlier this month, an Uber driver in France was getting ready for another day of work when his Kia e-Niro wouldn’t startup. The dashboard was showing multiple system failures as it illuminated. Samil Sanal, the Uber driver, checked under the e-Niro’s bonnet to see what the matter was. Something has made a meal out of the electric crossover’s internal wiring. The wires were either gnawed at or bitten off entirely by the looks of it. The extent of the damage wasn’t shallow either. Wires that were deep within the engine were also feasted upon as Reinfeld from Bela Lugosi’s Dracula said, rats!
While electrical wiring isn’t part of a rat’s natural diet, recent studies have found that animals can be attracted to the soy and organic-based compounds used to make this environmentally friendly car hardware. Regardless, animals getting into a car and causing damage isn’t unusual. It can be due to food left in the car or looking for shelter, and the car was unlocked. Animals as large as foxes are reported to be involved in this kind of vehicle damage too. The main question is, does car insurance provide protection for damages such as these? The truth is not really. While comprehensive coverage was available, Sanal was stuck with the repair bill for EUR 5,000. Neither his car insurance nor car warranty would cover it. We’ll look at why that is, along with ways to prevent rats and other vermin from invading your car.
Car Insurance And Small Animal Damage is Uncertain
Almost always, good cheap car insurance will cover you if you were to hit a deer or other such animal while driving. You are behind the wheel and operating your car and thus entitled to your policy’s protection. Rats and smaller animals often do their handiwork when the car isn’t in use or parked. When rats enter your car, it’s because they are attracted to something that is kept inside. Pictures from Sanal’s car showed crumbs which also may have been a factor in attracting rats. It’s this reckless behavior that may lead car insurance companies to not cover such damages. Instead, you can treat your car with approved rat repellent to keep animals out and store it in a garage. The good news is that damage caused by rats or other small animals won’t cause your insurance rates to increase.
Damage That Rats And Small Animals Can Cause to Your Car
Rats and other small animals like to nest in cars due to the heat of the engine or material that attracts them. Damage tends to be minor, assuming they aren’t hungry. To avoid serious damage, you can check under the hood for any stowaways and shoo them off. When they start gnawing and biting on things, that’s when you have a problem. In Sanal’s case, the rats ate at the main wiring harness of his hybrid vehicle. This meant that each wire would have to be individually replaced. The work required to do so can be an expensive job. Car insurance companies will be very hesitant to provide coverage for that type of damage.
Why Rats Cause Damage to a Car
The original theory why rats ate away at Sanal’s car is that they were attracted to the organic or soy-based products used to assemble some components of the car. This would explain why they would bite wires. However, they found that the rats also ate away at the seatbelt, which isn’t made from such materials. For that reason, the car insurance company decided that it was a common freak accident like an earthquake or flood causing damage. This is different from when you hit a deer, as every driver runs that risk.
What to do When Rats Cause Damage to Your Car
Your car will immediately let you know if there are any issues when you start it up with lighted notices on the dashboard. The break, acceleration, or even safety systems can be compromised if rats munch on some wires. You can make the attempt to file a claim with your insurance company, but it may not be accepted. If this is the case, you can reach out to the original seller or automaker to see if your warranty is still active. Of course, getting a replacement can also be in your best interest. Your car insurance provider may even help you do so.
Preventing Rats From Infesting Your Car
As previously mentioned, there are specialized repellents designed to keep animals from nesting in your car. For larger animals like foxes or raccoons, some use hypersound emitters with tones that only they can hear to repel them. Animals are selective with the cars they are attracted to. Another reason why Sanal rejected coverage was that the cars next to his weren’t damaged at all. Perhaps they had repellent. In the future, car insurance companies may give this hazard more thought and maybe have insurance for it. But for now, rats eating your car are seen the same as an earthquake damaging your car.