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Potatoes chipped my car and my phone fell in custard

Still from Aviva advert, showing a rabbit and lizard on a car bonnet

Aviva reveals a selection of its more unusual insurance claims to support new marketing campaign

From phones dropped in custard, to cars pelted by potatoes, to deer in swimming pools, Aviva’s claims handlers have seen it all.

Today the insurer reveals some of the more unusual claims settled for its UK general insurance customers. The accounts of these incidents have been released to coincide with a new TV advertising campaign which launched on Boxing Day. 

The advert focuses on a situation where “you had to be there.” And as the examples below demonstrate, Aviva has experienced its fair share of out-of-the-ordinary claims: 

  • Salt and vinegar with that? A motor insurance customer encountered an oncoming tractor pulling a trailer of potatoes. The potatoes flew off the trailer and the policyholder’s car was bombarded. When reporting the incident he commented: “There were no injuries but there were some chips from where the potatoes hit the car.”
  • There’s a deer in my swimming pool! A deer fell into a customer’s outdoor swimming pool, damaging the cover and tearing the pool lining, causing it to leak. Thankfully a local animal charity was able to look after the deer and Aviva settled the claim.
  • Why did the chicken cross the road? We’re not sure, but one policyholder had a “fowl” day when she braked to avoid a hen in the highway, only to be hit in the rear bumper by another car. Reports that the customer was spitting feathers were swiftly denied.
  • Bless you! A home insurance customer was about to eat his lunch while resting on the sofa. He sneezed just at the point of sitting and catapulted soup all over the carpet and couch.
  • Eight-legged invader: One customer panicked when a spider ran up her leg while driving, causing her to bump into a parked vehicle. No people or arachnids were injured in the settling of this claim.
  • A cautionary “tail”: An excitable dog wagged its tail into a can of beer which spilled over its owner’s laptop.
  • Droning on. A drone hit a customer’s house, knocking off a roof-tile. Both the roof-tile and the drone then fell onto the customer’s car which was parked in the drive, damaging the vehicle’s door and roof.
  • Pudding the customer first… One home insurance customer claimed for a replacement phone when it suddenly stopped working… after she had dropped it in a bowl of custard.
  • It’s not cricket: One policyholder was waiting in their vehicle outside a cricket club when a cricket ball flew out of the ground and dented the bonnet. The club advised it was the third time that week such an incident had happened. Howzat?!
  • A truly smashing baker. One customer was making a carrot cake when her oven door suddenly exploded.
  • Toilet troubles: Aviva assisted one customer after his car was struck by a toilet cistern which fell from a passing tipper truck.
  • Cat amongst the painters: A customer was decorating when he tripped over the family kitten, spilling paint on the living room carpet and furniture.
  • A sticky situation: One customer spilt a can of cola in her car boot after being startled by a wasp. The sticky liquid unfortunately seeped into the vehicle’s electrics, causing damage to the audio and sat-nav system.
  • Rotten luck: A customer put her grocery shopping bags on her sofa in her kitchen-diner. She didn’t realise that a couple of bananas had fallen behind the scatter cushions until they started to smell a few days later, staining the sofa as they rotted. 

Gareth Hemming, MD, Personal Lines for Aviva says: “From the everyday unusual to the downright bizarre, we encounter all sorts of claims from our customers – the kinds where people say “you had to be there!” Insurance is designed in case of the unforeseen and unexpected - and as our claims experience shows, we see plenty of situations which couldn’t have been predicted!

"Whatever the circumstances, our priority is to help to put things right for our customers – whether this means getting them back on the road, replacing shattered windows or supplying new carpets."

“Whatever the circumstances, our priority is to help to put things right for our customers – whether this means getting them back on the road, replacing shattered windows or supplying new carpets.

“We’re open 24 hours a day, including throughout the holiday season, and customers can report claims online, over the phone or via our MyAviva app. So while we hope that the festive period goes as planned, our handlers are available for our customers if things do take a turn for the unexpected.” 

More about Aviva’s UK general insurance claims:

  • Aviva paid nearly 800,000 UK general insurance claims in 2019, approximately one claim every 39 seconds.
  • More than half (56%) of Aviva home and motor claims are reported online.
  • 2020 has seen an 85% increase in same-day claim payments to Aviva UK general insurance customers (compared to 2019).
  • Around three fifths of motor claims inquiry calls can now be self-served online (e.g. reporting claims, selecting repair garages or arranging car hire).  


Media Enquiries

Sarah Poulter

UK External Communications

Notes to editors:

  • We are the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth & Retirement business and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in Singapore, China and India.
  • We help our 18.5 million customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2021, we paid £30.2 billion in claims and benefits to our customers. 
  • Aviva is a market leader in sustainability. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a Net Zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030.  Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition at www.aviva.com/sustainability.
  • Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
  • As at 30 June 2022, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group are £353 billion and our Solvency II shareholder capital surplus is £10.3 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us
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