Weasels cause millions of francs' worth of damage to cars in Switzerland

Weasels cause millions of francs' worth of damage to cars in Switzerland

Weasels may not look it on the outside, but when drivers in Switzerland find their car won’t start, they can actually be the most likely culprit. The latest figures from AXA show that weasels cause up to 40 million francs' worth of damage to vehicles in Switzerland every year.

Weasels cost Swiss car insurers up to 40 million francs in damage

Over the last year, AXA, a Swiss car insurance provider, had to deal with 17.000 claims related to weasel damage. The claims amounted to 8 million Swiss francs, and AXA predicted that once all insurance providers are taken into account, the furry creatures are responsible for 40 million Swiss francs' worth of damage every year.

In terms of Swiss cantons, AXA found that you were 80 percent more likely to experience weasel damage in Jura, Glarus, Thurgau and Schaffhausen than in the rest of Switzerland. Other hotspots include Thurgau, both Appenzells, St. Gallen and Vaud.

The insurer noted that martens, the species of weasel most often blamed for the damage, rarely inhabit the mountains, meaning problems in Graubünden and Valais are quite rare. They are also not common in densely populated cities, meaning Geneva, Zug and the city of Zurich are usually safer.

Martens cause the damage when they enter the engine compartments of cars, either in search of warmth or because they have tracked the scent of another weasel. If agitated or hungry, the weasels can bite through vital wiring and cables, which can lead to the engine being immobilised and can also short-circuit vital components. 

Weasels prefer to bite the wiring in engines, causing huge damage

To stop weasel damage, AXA's advice is to park your car in a closed-off garage, if possible. If this is not an option, marten traps, alarms and protective tubing and mesh can also be bought to stop the weasels getting to vital engine components. They also recommend washing your engine compartment regularly, as odours left by other weasels can make the creatures aggressive and more likely to bite through something they shouldn’t.

AXA were quick to stress that weasel damage is covered by comprehensive and partial-accidental damage insurance. In the months of May through June, when the creatures are at their most active, AXA recommended taking all the necessary precautions to stop these critters from damaging your car.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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