Bear attack raises insurance questions

Posted: Tuesday, October 02, 2001

FAIRBANKS -- An insurance agent in Cincinnati had a hard time believing a bear caused $7,400 in damage to Jim Geier's truck.

The bear was apparently attracted by the smell of wrappings from fast food Geier ate just before he began a hunting trip 70 miles south of Fairbanks near Delta Junction.

Geier himself could barely believe the destruction he encountered on the Sept. 8 trip.

The truck was covered in muddy paw prints, nose prints, scratch marks at the window and around the door handle and dents on the hood, left fender, both doors and right rear quarter panel. The side mirrors were dangling on both sides.

"One of the windshield wipers was sticking out," Geier said. "My first response was to laugh out loud."

Geier had stopped at McDonald's restaurant before hunting the evening before. The aroma of the meal probably still lingered in the cab of the 1999 Ford F-250 and the wrappers were left on the seats.

Unbeknownst to Geier, his 17-year-old daughter had left half a bag of Fritos, Pop Tarts and a trash bag with food wrappers under the seat. The smells enticed the bear, which tried unsuccessfully to get inside the cab.

There were dents on the hood and paw prints on the windshield that looked like the bear placed its back paws on the window and jumped up and down on the hood. There are scratch marks near the door handle. Geier left the tailgate down and the bear crawled in the back and left nose prints on the back window.

"Some of the glass has to be replaced because of the scratches," Geier told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Geier said he didn't have any problems with a local insurance adjuster, but the agent in Cincinnati wasn't as easily swayed.

"He asked me the address and I told him in the woods," Geier said. "Then he asked, 'Where was the nearest parking lot.' He just didn't have a clue."

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