When you think of the world of insurance and its numerous policies, the first things which springs to mind are the standard forms of automobile, life and home coverage utilized by citizens throughout the U.S. However, the worlds glorious history is littered with examples of far more imaginative and creative insurance policies, ranging from the coverage of talented sportsmen's body parts to individuals who wish to be protected from the most unusual and unlikely of occurrences. Join us as we take a look at some old and new examples of outrageous insurance policies from across the globe. (For more on how insurance began in the U.S. read, The History Of Insurance In America.)
TUTORIAL: Intro to Insurance
The Case of the $400,000 Mustache
Sports teams and franchises often insure their star players for extortionate sums, and generally take the stand of insuring an entire player rather than their individual parts. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals were so concerned about their star player Mark McGuire's long term fitness, that they took out a $12 million disability policy, which paid dividends once he eventually retired. Also, it is not uncommon for individual players to take out protection on themselves, and the injury prone baseball outfielder Juan Gonzalez once procured a $50 million personal insurance policy to improve his appeal to potential suitors.
Occasionally, however, an individual player will go to extraordinary lengths to protect parts of their anatomy, regardless of whether they are crucial to their performance or not. Take the famous Australian cricketer Merv Hughes as an example, who terrorized batsmen across the globe throughout the 1980s with his barrel chested physique and fast arm. Just as notorious, however, was his iconic mustache, which he chose to insure for nearly U.S. $400,000 (£225,000) during the peak of his career. (For more on uncommon insurance policies, read Lesser Known Insurance Policies.)
Alien Abduction Insurance Policies
As bizarre and as strange as it may seem, alien abduction insurance policies are becoming increasingly popular throughout Europe and the U.K. London-based firm Goodfellow Rebecca Ingram Pearson, have sold more than 30,000 such policies, a state of affairs which has prompted numerous companies to offer similar coverage to their clients. These policies can be redeemed in the event of an alien abduction, provided, of course, that the applicant can provide proof of their experience.
Should you be burdened with a particular fear of the supernatural, then you are well looked after when it comes to unusual insurance policies. Ghost, werewolf and vampire insurance can also be procured very easily, with each policy redeemable in the event of an attack by these creatures of the night. Similarly, those of a suspicious mindset can also source and purchase asteroid insurance, to protect them in the case of sudden and unpredictable acts of nature.
The Weird and Wonderful Worlds of the Celebrity and the Everyday
We live in the age of the celebrity, and this unique collection of well known individuals are renowned for their liking of weird and wonderful insurance policies. Take the famous Welsh crooner Tom Jones, who is still wowing audiences throughout the U.S. with his wild and raucous stage persona. He was rumored to be insuring his famous swathes of chest hair for an astonishing $7 million. In 2006 at the age of 67, Jones was thought to be concerned that an overly amorous fan could tear a chunk away in her excitement. In the end, no policy ever existed or was considered according to his managment team.
However, if our cousins over in the U.K. are anything to go by, then ordinary members of the public are just as prone to the lure of strange insurance policies. Fearing a typically poor performance by his beloved England, at the 2002 soccer World Cup, Paul Hucker insured himself in the sum of £1 million in the event of any subsequent psychological trauma. This was just one year after British citizen Nicola Jones insured herself against becoming ugly, also to the princely sum of £1 million. Interestingly, the policy stipulated that her appearance would be judged and determined by 10 independent building workers.
The Bottom Line
While celebrities and sportsmen have always been the subject of some strange and extraordinary insurance policies, it is becoming increasingly clear that ordinary members of the public, across the globe, are falling prey to the same temptations. From insuring themselves against a loss of beauty to the threat of the supernatural, it is likely that just about any phenomenon you could think of, on which to base an insurance policy on, has already been considered by one person or another. Even so, we can look forward to even more far fetched and entirely unnecessary policies to be conceived throughout the next 10 years and beyond, whether in the U.S., the U.K. or any point in between. (For insurance policies for the everyday, read 5 Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have.)