Ah, the magic of insurance. If you can dream up a risk, you can probably insure it.
Insurance is any type of coverage that you purchase for a relatively small amount that can protect you from a potentially massive financial loss. Of course, there are the run-of-the-mill things that people generally insure: cars, homes, health and lives. Many families who live near bodies of water are required to purchase flood insurance, and some homeowners near major fault lines purchase earthquake coverage. (Learn more in our Intro To Insurance Tutorial.)
Then, there are the not-so-typical items folks have chosen to insure, whether it's their beautiful legs, the threat of paranormal encounters or even their perfectly coiffed mustache. Here are five of the weirdest insurance policies, ranging from interesting to shocking to downright bizarre:
- Alien Abduction Policies
Do you toss and turn at night worrying about how your family would survive if evil aliens took you away? Have no fear. You can always purchase an alien abduction insurance policy to cover this risk. No joke: if you are abducted by Marvin the Martian and never return to Earth, your beneficiary will receive a sizable payout. Of course, your family will have to prove that an extraterrestrial actually snatched you … which is no easy task.
Believe it or not, London-based insurance company Goodfellow Rebecca Ingram Pearson (GRIP) offers this surprisingly popular alien abduction coverage. As a matter of fact, they have sold a total of 30,000 policies. The company even sold a $1,000 group alien abduction policy to the Heaven's Gate cult shortly before their mass suicide. The company took a short break from selling these policies after the tragic event, but now the coverage is available again.
Let's say you're not so concerned about aliens, but the thought of other supernatural phenomena has you quaking in your boots. No worries. GRIP also offers insurance that will cover you if you are hit by an asteroid, injured by a ghost or even if you are transformed into a werewolf. They also offer Immaculate Conception coverage - just in case you discover the father of your child is actually the Heavenly Father.
- Body Part Coverage
Rumor has it that certain celebrities purchase some hefty insurance policies on various high-value body parts: from Mary Hart's shapely gams to Tom Jones' lush chest hair to J Lo's bootylicious rump. Here are just a few more examples of these bizarre celebrity policies:
- Heidi Klum allegedly insured her legs for $2.2 million. After all, she gets paid big bucks to strut those lovely stems down the catwalk.
- In 2006, Mariah Carey also insured her legs for a whopping $1 billion. That's right: a billion dollars. She purchased the coverage shortly after agreeing to represent Gillette's "Legs of a Goddess" campaign. Her spokesperson said, "The sum reflects her popularity. She's about to start a U.S. tour and she'll have to be careful."
- Merv Hughes, a famous Australian cricket player, insured his impressively bushy mustache for $370,000. That's one costly flavor saver!
- Word on the street is that America Ferrera, star of the hit TV series Ugly Betty, insured her smile for $10 million.
- In 1957, food critic Egon Ronay insured his taste buds for $400,000.
- In the 1980s, Bruce Springsteen bought an insurance policy for his signature gravelly singing voice to the tune of $6 million. And the list goes on and on. You get the point: If a celebrity thinks something on their body is valuable, beautiful or profitable, they can (and will) insure it.
- Wedding Insurance
Weddings have always been expensive, but the price has skyrocketed to record levels in recent years. These days, the average cost of a U.S. wedding falls between $21,000 and $24,000 - and that doesn't include in the honeymoon. After shelling out some major moolah for a wedding, many families are forced to cancel or postpone the celebration in the eleventh hour. Whether the couple comes down with some serious cold feet, the panicked groom makes a run for it or there's a sudden death in the family, there are a million and one reasons for a last-minute wedding cancellation.
And that's exactly why many insurance companies offer wedding insurance. Not only can couples purchase insurance to cover the wedding itself, but often these policies also cover damage to wedding photos, the bride's gown, stolen or broken wedding gifts and even property damage drunken revelers cause at the reception site. (Learn more about wedding finances in Have A Princess Wedding On A Pauper Budget and Revealing The Hidden Costs Of Weddings.)
- Kidnapping Coverage
If your family is worth a pretty penny, you could be a prime target for kidnappers and extortionists. Fortunately, many insurance companies offer Kidnap and Ransom insurance (also known as K&R). Not only are K&R policies popular with wealthy families, but many professionals and corporations purchase this coverage, as well - particularly those who operate in kidnapping hot-spots around the world, such as Russia, the Philippines, Mexico, Columbia and parts of Eastern Europe. While the insurance company doesn't actually shell out the ransom, they will reimburse the family or corporation after they pay off the kidnappers.
- Judge Insurance
That's right - if you are taking part in a high-stakes trial, you can even insure your judge. In the 1980s, one of the parties in an expensive civil lawsuit purchased an insurance policy to cover the judge. Because both sides had spent millions of dollars on the suit, they did not want to run the risk of losing all the money they'd invested if something happened to the precious judge during the trial. After all, what if he was abducted by aliens, turned into a werewolf or was kidnapped by Russian extortionists?
Of course, we've only scratched the surface of wacky insurance policies. If you own it, love it, feel threatened by it or can imagine it, you can probably buy insurance for it. And you thought insurance was boring. (Learn more about insurance in 5 Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have and 15 Insurance Policies You Don't Need.)