14 Bizarre Insurance Policies You Won’t Believe are Actually True

June 14th, 2010
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Lady gasps at insurance rate

1. Alien Abduction Insurance

The Skinny:
If you’re worried about potential loss of health, life, property or sanity as a result of alien abduction, you’re not alone. But luckily, there are number of insurance agencies willing to sell you a policy to protect you in case of a close encounter of the third kind. More of a lark than a serious protection of one’s assets, alien abduction insurance policies have been issued to over 20,000 people since the 1990s. “Of course, the burden of proof lies with the claimant,” says Simon Burgess, managing director of British Insurance. “Let’s face it – insurance is so tedious that if I can enlighten my dreary life with a bit of humor every now and again, I will.” It’s not all for laughs, though. The infamous Heaven’s Gate cult purchases insurance policies for all of its members before the group’s mass suicide, leading Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson (GRIP), the company that issued the policy, to cease offering the service. If you’re wondering how much alien abduction insurance might cost you, you couldn’t do much better than $9.95, the price of a lifetime policy from the Alien Abduction Insurance Corporation.

The Payout:
The value of a policy varies from $10,000 to as much as $10,000,000, and the St. Lawrence Agency has even paid out at least two such claims. The company pays the owner of the policy $1 a year for one million years, or until death, whichever comes first.- Source

2.  Mustache Insurance

The Skinny:
Although many celebrities have insured the body parts that make them famous, few have gone the extra mile and insured their facial hair. Except, of course, for Merv Hughes. The powerful right-handed bowler for Australia’s national cricket team was so worried about his trademark mustache that he purchased a large policy to cover the walrus-like whiskers, while leaving his bowling arm uninsured. Along with his impressive playing ability and large 6’4″ frame, the bodacious mustache made him one of the world’s most recognizable cricket stars.

The Payout:
Hughes’ mustache was insured for a whopping $317,000 (Australian) during his time spent as Australia’s star bowler from 1985-1994.- Source

The mustache in action:

3.  Run-For-Your-Life Insurance

The Skinny:
In some respects, cheaper insurance for fast runners makes a lot of sense. After all, you don’t need to be able to outrun a bear to survive a bear attack, just outrun the slower hikers. That’s not the philosophy behind Indianapolis Insurance Company’s discount for 5k runners, however. The real reason is much simpler: statistically, runners are healthier and live longer. Run America Club, an organization geared toward promoting fitness through running, has teamed with the insurance provider to secure discounts for its members, sort of as an incentive to encourage more Americans to take up the sport. It benefits the insurance company too; after all, who wouldn’t want to ensure a bunch of health nuts?

The Payout:
The monetary reward is a “competitive, discounted term insurance policy,” but don’t think you can just sign up and get it. You actually need to participate in a 5k race and achieve a qualifying time. – Source

4. Paternity Insurance

The Skinny:
Taking out an insurance policy just in case you accidentally become a father may seem extreme, but when you’re a rockstar on the road, you can’t be too safe. Van Halen front man David Lee Roth did exactly that while he was on tour in the 1980s. As Van Halen’s popularity was waxing in 1981, Lloyds of London issued the policy, which stated that if “Diamond Dave” were ever the victim of a paternity suit, the company would cover the expenses. It was obviously worth it to David Lee Roth: “I get letters all the time saying, ‘I got a kid and it looks like you and it needs a bicycle now and some pencils and a notebook by next year.”

The Payout:
Roth was so worried about a paternity suit that he was willing to shell out $10,000 a year to Lloyds. The policy’s value: $1,000,000.- Source

Dave at his best:

5. Riot Insurance

The Skinny:
In Thailand, where political upheaval is a way of life, insurance against riot damage is a sensible thing to have, especially if you’re just a visiting tourist, worried about having your vacation spoiled. The Thai government has recently grown so concerned about the effect rioting has on the tourism industry that it has issued a blanket, free insurance policy to all visitors. The policy, first instated in 2008 after protesters seized control of two of the country’s airports, has been extended through the end of 2010, and covers “any foreign visitor who experiences loss or damage from political upheavals.” This measure failed to placate potential visitors, however. 2009 saw an 8% reduction in tourist dollars spent from the previous year, even with the promise of insurance.

The Payout:
If you’re unfortunate enough to be the victim of a riot in Thailand, the government will pay you $10,000. – Source

You don’t want to be in Thailand when this happens:

6. Leg Insurance

The Skinny:
Numerous celebrities have insured their legs against career-ending accidents. Models, actors and hosts have all signed up with Lloyds of London to make sure they’re compensated if they can no longer proffer a living out of their legs. Mary Hart, co-anchor for Entertainment Tonight, is well known for her shapely legs, and has taken out a sizable insurance policy for them. It’s rumored that the producers of the show even had a glass desk installed just to show them off to Hart’s adoring viewers.

Mariah Carey became leg insurance policy holder after Gillette awarded her the “Legs of a Goddess Award,” though it’s unclear why she insured her legs instead of her singing voice.

The Payout:
Mary Hart’s policy will pay her $1 million if anything happens to her legs. Heidi Klum took out a $2.2 million policy. Perhaps most shocking of all is Mariah Carey’s policy, worth an unprecedented $1 billion. – Source

Billion dollar legs? You decide:

7. Rapture Insurance

The Skinny:
Not a true form of insurance, but pretty close, YouveBeenLeftBehind.com gives Christians one last chance to reach their friends and loved ones during “the time of tribulation after the rapture.” By delivering personalized messages to non-believers in the event that good Christians are called up to heaven, the website claims it can give its customers one last chance to save the ones closest to them. Although weird, it’s hard to deny that the offer is tempting to True Believers. Yet, this bizarre form of insurance does raise one very important question: if all the Christians are called up to heaven, who’s left at the company to click “send” on all those messages?

The Payout:
It’s hard to put a price on saving a soul, but You’ve Been Left behind will do it for $14.95. Paypal is accepted. – Source

8. Cow Dehydration Insurance

The Skinny:
Up until 2010, it has been virtually impossible for farmers in rural Africa to insure their herds of livestock, an advantage that farmers in the rest of the world have long enjoyed. This has led to numerous disasters, such as the massive drought in Kenya back in 2009 which killed hundreds of thousands of animals, all of them uninsured. The reason for the region’s lack of insurance was purely logistical. It was almost impossible for adjusters to come out and count every single dead animal. However, this operation can now be performed easily and remotely via satellite.

The Payout:
The policy pays about $150 per cow, but the premiums vary depending on region, since some places are drier, hotter or just more hazardous than others. According to a spokesman for the International Livestock Research Institute, “Upper Marsabit is more drought-prone and the premium will be 5.5% of the value of the livestock whereas in Lower Marsabit people will pay 3.25%.” – Source

Kenyan drought:

9. Crossed Eye Insurance

The Skinny:
It’s hard to over state the importance of vision, and out of all our body parts, eyes are one of the more reasonable to want to insure. But only one man in history has purchased insurance to cover him in case his eyes become uncrossed. Silent film star Ben Turpin’s stock in trade were his trademark crossed eyes, which lent him comedic stage presence and made him one of the world’s most recognizable film stars. As his fame grew, he became increasingly paranoid about his eyes coming uncrossed. Reportedly, any time he sustained a blow to the head, he immediately rushed to a mirror, or else asked an onlooker, to check that his eyes had not come uncrossed.

The Payout:
Ben Turpin purchased an insurance policy valued at $25,000 from Lloyds of London. Adjusted for inflation, that would be almost $300,000 in 2010. – Source

The man himself:

10. Chest Hair Insurance

The Skinny:
Perhaps the only insurance stranger than mustache insurance is chest hair insurance. Yet, Tom Jones, one of the world’s most enduring and iconic singers, holds a preposterously huge policy from Lloyd’s on his chest hair. A purchase this bizarre has to raise a lot of questions. Why would he insure his chest hair instead of his voice, or even his face? What does he think would happen to his career if something happened to his hirsute physique? And what precisely does he believe puts his chest hair in such jeopardy? An explosion at the Nair factory? Chemotherapy? A mad fan with a razor? All that’s known is the enigmatic singer felt his chest hair was so valuable that he couldn’t afford not to purchase insurance for it.

The Payout:
Should any of the above scenarios befall Tom Jones’ chest, he’ll receive a whopping $7,000,000. – Source

The chest in action:

11. Taco Insurance

The Skinny:
Back in 2001, Taco Bell ran an unusual promotional stunt. At the time, the Mir space station was scheduled to make its splashdown in the South Pacific Ocean. Taco Bell took advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event by placing a 40′ x 40′ target in the Pacific, with a promise that if the space station hit it, everyone in American could receive a free taco. The promotion yielded a large increase in traffic at Taco Bell’s website, and “captured the imaginations of millions of people,” admirable goals to be sure. However, in the event that the space station actually hit the floating target, the restaurant chain stood to lose a lot of money. An insurance policy was purchased in case the long shot came through.

The Payout:
The policy covered the anticipated value of the taco promotion, though the company did not issue a statement saying what that amount was. If everyone in America took advantage of the free taco deal, the retail value of the promotion would be $272.8 million dollars. – Source

12. Nose Insurance

The Skinny:
They say the nose knows, and nobody knows that better than Dutch winemaker Ilja Gort. After winning several major awards for his wine, he had a revelation. “We won some important medals and I realized how necessary it was to have a nose,” he told The Times. “It is my most important asset. A lot of people feel that wine making is about the taste buds but we do it with the nose, in fact.” With a hefty insurance policy in place, he can afford to be a little more cavalier about his olfactory organ, but he’s not.

“Every time I look in the mirror now I feel rich. I just hope I fall on my face . . . No, actually, I’m a bit more careful with my nose than before. I’ve stopped nose-picking. And I like skiing very much but from now on, no more.” The agreement he signed actually forbids him from taking part in winter sports, as well as several other hazardous activities including fire-breathing and acting as a knife-thrower’s assistant.

The Payout:
As careful as Gort is, if something did happen to damage his sense of smell, Watkins Syndicate would pay out 5 million euro, or just over six million US dollars. – Source

13. Fantasy Football Insurance

The Skinny:
You can insure almost anything you own, and now you can insure things that you only wish you owned, too. If you’re in a paid Fantasy Football league, where participants draft real NFL players into theoretical teams, and your star player is injured, you can recoup your losses by buying an insurance policy from Fantasy Sports Insurance. The service came into being after Tom Brady’s untimely injury in the first game of the 2008 season. Henry Olszewski was crushed when his #1 draft pick had to sit out the entire season. “That Monday, [Olszewski] came in the office, and he was bummed out,” said Anthony Giaccone, president of Intermarket Insurance. “He asked, ‘Why can’t we buy insurance for fantasy team players?’”

“Why not,” indeed?

The Payout:
If your star player sits out a certain number of games, FSI will refund your entire entry fee. Other companies offer their services to mediate “disputes” between players and fantasy sports leagues. – Source

14. Erectile Dysfunction Insurance… For Horses

The Skinny:
Horse racing is big business, so it’s no surprise that many companies will issue life insurance policies for horses. Horse breeding is big business as well, but it doesn’t make it any less weird that those same companies will cover your stallion’s nether regions with a comprehensive policy. Redland Insurance Co., in Council Bluffs, Iowa as well as at least six other companies sell breeding insurance, which allows you to claim damages on a horse even if he is otherwise alive and healthy, if for some reason he cannot breed.

The Payout:
Redland’s life insurance plan for quarter horses are valued at $10,000. For an extra $100 in yearly premiums, the policy will pay the same amount for a horse that shoots blanks. – Source


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