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Protecting yourself in the event of damage, loss, illness or death is what insurance is for. As an adult, you most likely have several types of insurance: car, life, homeowners, etc. If your house catches on fire or you get into an auto accident, you file a claim to receive compensation for replacing or fixing what you’ve insured.
However, insurance can go far beyond auto, home and life. There are many strange insurance claims made on normal policies, some fraudulent and others just extremely bizarre. There are also many strange policies that show just how far insurance can protect you.
A livestock farmer in Devon, UK filed an insurance claim on his iPhone, which he lost one dark and stormy night helping one of his livestock give birth. He claimed the phone disappeared in the cow. The phone made a reappearance but, as expected, failed to work. The insurance company paid out the claim in full.
Losing your baggage while traveling is not uncommon, which is where Travel Insurance comes in handy. But what exactly do insurance companies consider baggage? One man filed a lost baggage claim to his travel insurers over lost dentures. How did he lose his dentures? They fell out while vomiting over the side of the cruise ship while on vacation. Lucky for him, his insurer complied.
Most people have homeowners insurance to cover things like house fires or robberies, but what if your burglar suffers from mental anguish due to a faulty garage door opener? This happened to one couple who went away on vacation for a week. While on vacation a burglar robbed their home and tried escaping through the garage. The burglar ended up locking himself in their garage because the garage door opener wouldn’t work. He was trapped there for a week and forced to dine on dog food and soda – the only edible items he could find. The burglar escaped when the family came home and promptly filed an insurance claim against the owner for mental anguish. He was awarded $1 million.
People from the south are very familiar with how snakes love cool, dark areas. One Texas family was in for a surprise when someone went to the bathroom and noticed a rattlesnake’s head peeking out of the toilet. Once they had the one rattlesnake removed, experts discovered 23 more of them around the plumbing system resulting in some damage.
One couple was greeted with an awful welcome home gift after traveling to Greece for a month. During their trip, the power went out in their home and all the food in their freezer defrosted causing everything to spill out onto the garage floor. But wait it gets worse: The couple’s home was ravaged with mice hunting for food. They had to have their home exterminated before the repairs could be made. Thank goodness for homeowners insurance right?
Have you ever seen a giant flying frisbee? When a powerful gust of wind passes through a neighborhood trampolines can be transformed into frisbees. Texans are all too familiar with strong winds that can reach speeds up to 50 MPH. The Lonestar State has had multiple incidents reported of trampolines flying into neighbor’s homes that led to serious damages. If you have a trampoline, you might want to check out our post on backyard liabilities so you can find out how to better protect yourself from financial liability.
The Royal Falcon Hotel in Lowestoft, England insured its staff and customers against death and disability caused by ghosts, poltergeists and other abnormal activity.
Hot tubs can be a relaxing place to unwind after a long day, but be sure to always check the temperature before you hop in. One man unfortunately jumped into a hot tub that malfunctioned and it had risen to a skin-burning 150 degrees. He had to quickly rush to the emergency room and was treated for third-degree burns. Yikes!
A dog named Skyler accidentally turned the stove on when he reached for a one-year-old’s birthday cake that was sitting on the burner. Instead of eating the cake, he set it on fire. Fortunately, no humans or dogs were injured.
While driving on country roads in a fancy red sportscar, one man attempted to get a herd of goats out of the middle of the road by honking at them – which startled the goats so much they jumped on top of the car! One even battered his horns on the driver’s side door. Needless to say, this driver was thankful for carrying comprehensive coverage on his Webb Auto Insurance
A motivational speaker had to get their insurance company involved when a volunteer from their audience sustained injuries, after being encouraged by the speaker to break a board with their hands.
One Homeowner’s Insurance claim was denied when the policyholder said the damages from turning her hardwood floor into a bowling alley were the result of her floor not being “hard enough.”
Wine enthusiasts know that a rare, properly aged bottle of wine can fetch for a pretty penny. When a sewage pipe backed up and overflowed, one homeowner filed a claim for wine in the basement cellar, which had been spoiled by heat from the damages. Talk about an un-happy hour.
While vacationing in Australia, one man filed a claim after his car door was kicked in by a wild camel. Fortunately, his claim was approved because he had video evidence to prove he wasn’t making it up.
On a particularly sunny day, one woman decided to take her pricey, brand-new drone on a test ride. She turned away mid-flight to avoid the glare of the sun. When she looked back, her unmanned drone had vanished into thin air.
One family was in for a huge surprise when they saw a cluster of bats flying from their 150-year-old farmhouse. As it turns out, the attic was infested and coated in almost two feet of bat poop. Thank goodness for homeowners insurance, right?
A hunter in southwest Missouri polished his prized 4WD pickup truck with a carnauba car wax that had a distinct banana scent. When he returned from a hunting trip, he found a group of horses licking his truck. As he got closer, he noticed the truck was also covered in bite marks!
After buying a brand-new pair of skis for her trip to the Alpines, one woman filed a Travel Insurance claim because there was hardly any snow on the ground when she arrived. Pretty wacky, right?
Once upon a time, an insured filed a claim saying their boat was stolen from a closed garage. The problem? The boat was 30 feet long, and the garage was only 24 feet. Instead of having their claim paid out, they received a fine.
Two children buried their parents’ video camera in the sand during a family beach vacation. Unfortunately, they couldn’t remember where they put it!
One woman filed an insurance claim after a goose swallowed her diamond ring. She searched through its droppings for a few weeks until the goose flew away and never did find the ring. Yikes!
Despite filing a $10K claim for a lost fur coat, one woman’s plans were foiled when the coat was found sitting in storage with her name monogrammed on the inside – along with a $1K receipt for the coat.
One woman discovered a colorful mess after her dog accidentally dipped its tail in an open can of paint – and then proceeded to shake and wag paint drippings all over the house! Lesson learned: two-legged painters are better than the four-legged variety. No word on whether the damages included a trip to the dog groomer.
Isabel Parker, the 72-year-old queen of the slip-and-fall scam, prostrated herself in department stores, supermarkets and liquor stores 49 times during her long career – a sad byproduct of her gambling addiction. Prosecutors said that she treated insurance claims like her job – and she kept very busy. The woman filed a total of 49 bogus personal-injury claims in Philadelphia, Delaware County and New Jersey, and collected $500,115 between 1993 and 2000. She pleaded guilty to 29 counts of insurance fraud and theft in New Jersey alone. She earned herself a four-year sentence under house arrest.
A man from Delaware torched his own home and his own convertible to collect on his homeowners and auto insurance. Nicholas Di Puma said it all started when pans on his wood stove ignited while he was cooking. Then buckets of coals caught on fire. After trying to extinguish the inferno, Di Puma said he threw the first bucket out the door, where it apparently landed in the backseat of his convertible. While en route to tossing the second pan outside, he tripped and the second landed on his sofa. Unbelievable? That’s what local law enforcement thought, too. Di Puma pleaded guilty to second and third degree attempted insurance fraud and got five-years of probation with no insurance benefits. His home and car were completely destroyed.
A lawyer from North Carolina purchased a box of expensive cigars and insured them against flooding, storm damage and – of all things – fire. Needless to say, his investment went up in smoke within a month – after which the lawyer filed a claim with his homeowners insurance company, stating that he was owed compensation because “the cigars were lost in a series of small fires”. The insurer refused to pay, assuming (correctly) that the man had smoked the cigars himself. A judge ruled, however, that since the insurer had never stated what was considered to be “unacceptable” fire, the company did, in fact, owe him $15,000 to replace his property. The insurance company paid the claim, but then had the lawyer arrested. He was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine for 24 counts of arson and insurance fraud.
Did you know that falling coconuts kill 150 people worldwide a year? That fact was the basis for the Travel Agency Club Direct to include injuries by falling coconuts in their insurance policies. While there are no reports that anyone has filed a claim through Club Direct related to coconut injuries, there was a case dealing with a coconut and payout in Hawaii. A police officer was struck in the head by a falling coconut while removing fronds from a public sidewalk. The officer was awarded $39,000.
How much do you think your chest hair is worth? If you’re singer Tom Jones, the answer is $7,000,000. Believe it or not, Lloyds of London agreed to issue an insurance policy to cover Tom Jones’ chest hair.
Miley Cyrus and Gene Simmons have one thing in common and it’s not being iconic singers. The Kiss rock and roll legend and former Disney pop star both have $1 million insurance policies on their tongues.
If you’re a food critic, your taste buds are crucial to your livelihood. Food Critic Egon Ronay decided his taste buds were not to be taken lightly, so he insured them for an incredible $393,000.
Dutch winemaker, Llja Gort purchased an $8 million policy on his nose after hearing about a man who lost his sense of smell in a car accident. The terms and conditions of his policy forbid him from riding a motorcycle, working as a knife thrower’s assistant, fire-breather and other activities that put him at risk of losing his sense of smell.
International businesses are notorious for purchasing insurance policies for kidnapping in case one of their executives are abducted in another country while on a trip. But now you don’t have to be a multinational business worker to purchase this type of coverage! The insurance company will send a team of negotiators to rescue you and will reimburse the kidnappers with a compensation price up to your policy limits.
Do you believe in aliens? Have a fear of extraterrestrial activity? You’re in luck. Alien Abduction Insurance can be purchased from the St. Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida. In the event of an alien abduction, if you can prove you’ve been abducted, the company will pay you $1/year until death or for 1 million years. A London based insurance company also sold over 30,000 alien abduction insurance policies throughout Europe. Again, policyholders will have to provide legitimate proof of the abduction to file a claim.
Some companies do. A jewelry company in North Carolina offered to refund $500,000 in sales if the city got more than three inches of snow on Christmas Day. Good thing they got insurance, as Wilmington, N.C. saw eight inches.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you’re famous, get an insurance policy on it. That’s what Jennifer Lopez did. J. Lo has an insurance policy in the amount of $27 million dollars for her butt.
After signing a deal with Gillette, Mariah Carey took out $1 billion in insurance coverage on her legs. Her management team thought that this coverage was essential because she was getting ready to go on a big tour and her popular reputation made that investment necessary.
In the event that you conceive more than the one baby you planned, Lloyds of London can help you out. It’s called Multiple Birth Insurance, and it covers the financial impact of more than one baby. One couple collected after having twins, purchased the insurance again and ended up having another set of twins.
Some wedding days just don’t turn out the way you would hope. Everything seemed to be going well on the day for Paula Catelli from Rimini, Italy, until her beautiful, hand-made wedding dress came slightly too close to the barbecue. The synthetic material went up in flames immediately, and within moments Catelli was what no girl on her wedding day ever wants to be – a bride on fire. Her loving husband saved the day by picking her up and throwing her into the sea. Fortunately, both bride and groom were excellent swimmers. The insurance company paid out 50% compensation for the disaster – possibly out of sympathy.
As a bonus, here are some crazy insurance claims made during Christmas time.
One homeowner claimed damage to a carpet caused by sooty footprints left on Christmas morning. Proof of Santa, perhaps? No, a hungry squirrel had apparently been tempted down the chimney by the array of nuts left out in the fireplace.
An insurer received a report that Santa’s sleigh had been stolen. “Apparently, Santa stores his sleigh at a gift shop in Connecticut and this was stolen from the rear of the store,” one insurance adjuster wrote about the case they received (the sleigh was actually part of a holiday display at a gift shop.) But, the question remains, what would the insured value of Santa’s sleigh be???
A six-year-old cocker spaniel, Suki, wolfed down 12 mincemeat pies during the Christmas holidays in Great Britain, including the foil and the packaging. When the dog’s owner returned home that evening, the dog was lying on her back, feet in the air, and reportedly “twice the size she usually is.” As the owner rushed the poor dog to the emergency vet, the dog got sick all over the owner’s brand new car. The vet said there was not much more he could do and prescribed medicine to help Suki “pass” the foil, which risked puncturing her gut. The insurer covered the cost of the medicine and the visit to the vet, but the policy did not cover the cost of cleaning her car.
Any families intending to buy a game system for Christmas should take heed of the accident that befell two youngsters insured by Home & Legacy, according to one British newspaper. Perhaps too intently focused on the game, the kids threw the handset of their new Nintendo Wii through the equally new plasma-screen TV. The insurer paid out almost $1,400 for a replacement.
One insurance company in Indiana reported that a claimant was driving home from Christmas shopping when large Christmas tree badly tied to the roof of the car in front of him came loose and smashed through his front windshield. “He was driving too fast and I saw the tree lift off and it flew straight at me,” the claimant reported. The car didn’t stop and they never came back for the tree or to take responsibility for the damage they were responsible for. The man’s windshield was covered by his insurance and the police let him take home the rogue tree. Despite the inconvenience, it’s hard to turn down a free Christmas tree.
It used to be that in days of old, people in various parts of Europe and in the United States would put real candles on their Christmas tree. Lovely, right? Dangerous? Absolutely! Recently, one insurance claim described how one homeowner attached candles to their Christmas tree and left the room. The tree caught fire, which spread to the rest of the house. The homeowner claimed almost $400,000 damage on their home insurance policy. No word on whether the insurer paid out.
A claimant reported opening the oven holding a baster and a pair of oven gloves. But the turkey was heavier than expected; it flew out of the oven and onto the floor. It looks like the three-second rule applied, as the family enjoyed the remnants of the mess, while the insurer paid out for a new carpet.