Fears of spreading a deadly virus have prompted a general insurer to assume the total loss of an SUV. Saskatchewan General Insurance opted to replace the full market value of the 2008 Land Rover after mice chewed through the wiring and littered the interior with droppings, which can lead to the spread of hantavirus to humans.
The SUV was deemed unrepairable due to the potential health risk.
The decision, which was posted on May 10 on the Canlii legal database states "SGI felt that the vehicle should be written off. Their investigation revealed that a significant portion of the electrical wiring had been eaten through by mice."
"Because there were mouse droppings in and throughout the vehicle, it could not be fixed for fear of contracting hantavirus, a particularly deadly virus found in mouse droppings.”
Because the damage was due to accidental factors rather than mechanical failure, SGI agreed to cover the losses, paying out $25,000 to the owner.
Hantavirus has led to 10 deaths in Saskatchewan since 1994. Symptoms include the often-fatal lung disease known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. The virus is carried and spread by deer mice, which are present in Saskatchewan. According to a government of Saskatchewan release, “If you develop a fever, coughing and shortness of breath within one to six weeks of potential exposure to mouse-infested areas, seek medical attention immediately.”
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