At The Zebra, insurance is our bread and butter. But in this enormous and complicated industry, there are lines of coverage and insurance policies that even make us scratch our heads. When we hear of insuring wild things like legs or multiple births, we have to wonder what risks folks are actually trying to protect against. The question leads to a larger definition of what insurance really is: loss prevention. If you insure a body part, for example, what you’re claiming is that the loss of use (or loss of perfection) of that body part would impact your ability to use that body part to, say, earn your living, so you’d need insurance coverage for it. Maybe it makes sense when you put it that way, but that doesn’t mean some insurance policies aren’t downright odd. Here are some of the strangest insurance policies we’ve ever heard of:
The Strangest Types of Insurance Coverage:
- Alien abduction insurance, alien invasion insurance, and supernatural insurance are all policies that exist.
- Multiple birth insurance: worried you’ll have twins (or triplets?) and worried you can’t cover the extra expense? There’s insurance for that.
- Heartbreak insurance: yes, you can take out a policy to cover your financial losses if your beloved moves on.
- Change-of-heart insurance: engaged couples can take out a policy against wedding expenses if one of them backs out last-minute (cheaper than a divorce!). But, the coverage actually only covers so-called innocent parties (like parents), not the unhappily unwed themselves.
- Asteroid or meteor insurance exists for the highly anxious among us.
- Finding the Loch Ness Monster: This one is sort of a contest, too. In 1971, Scottish whiskey company Cutty Sark offered £1 million (about $2.4 million at the time) to anyone who could catch the beast in the Scottish Highlands — they took out an insurance policy (with Lloyd’s of London), but so far no claims have been filed.
- Lottery insurance: companies can take out insurance policies that would cover them in the event an office lottery pool hit the big-time and a large portion of employees suddenly quit.
- Contest insurance: insurance policies exist for hosts of contests like charity golf tournaments with a hole-in-one prize, or half-time contests at sporting events like attempting to make a basket from half-court. The policies are reportedly fairly cheap, too, because the likelihood of someone actually winning is incredibly low.
The 20 Strangest Insurance Policies for Body Parts
Though it may seem beyond strange to us mere mortals, insuring particular body parts is big business: if a performer is injured and can’t finish a concert tour, or if a model or actress damages her mile-long legs, that might derail her lucrative career.
However, “Many of the body part policies are really more for publicity purposes because it gets a hit, the entertainment reporters report it,” attorney Michael Cornacchia told Fox.
Regardless, the fact remains that insuring body parts and other attributes (like one’s voice) is an actual thing.
1. During World War II Betty Grable (actress, dancer, and pin-up icon) was a huge box office star. In the 1940s she became the first celebrity to have her legs insured when 20th Century Fox took out a $1 million policy from Lloyd’s of London. Her policy, which would be worth about $17 million today, was reportedly the inspiration for the phrase, “million-dollar legs.”
2. Catherine Bach, star of “The Dukes of Hazzard” in the 1980s, also carried a $1 million insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London for her legs — that would be $3 million today.
3. Julia Roberts insured her smile for $30 million.
4. America Ferrera’s smile is also insured for $10 million and is owned by Aquafresh White Trays. Ferrera partnered with the brand to raise money for their Smiles for Success campaign.
5. Heidi Klum’s legs were insured by Braun when she was a spokesperson for their epilator hair removal device. Her right leg was insured for $1.2 million, but her left leg was only insured for a paltry $1 million. Why? She has a small scar on her left leg.
6. After winning Gillette’s Legs of a Goddess award in 2007, Rihanna took out a $1 million policy for her legs.
7. Beloved Dolly Parton used to (and may still!) carry an insurance policy for her breasts, for $600,000.
8. David Beckham took out an insurance policy against a career-ending injury to his legs (or feet or toes) for £100 million in 2006 (which would’ve been $195 million). The policy was also rumored to cover him in the event he was disfigured (since his dashing good looks were part of his brand, too). A few different companies covered the policy since it was so large, reportedly.
9. Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Troy Polamalu had an insurance policy on a very valuable body part too — but not one you might guess: his gorgeous mane of hair was insured by Head and Shoulders for $1 million. Polamalu was a spokesperson for them.
10. Comedian and movie star during the 1930s Jimmy Durante insured his trademark nose (which he called “Schnozzola”) for between $50,000 and $140,000 (that’s $2 million today).
11. In other nose insurance news, a Dutch winemaker and taster Ilja Gort, owner of Chateau de la Garde, insured his nose and sense of smell for $8 million in 2008. As for why he insured his nose and not his tongue, he says it’s because the tongue has five areas of taste but the nose can distinguish millions of scents. Lloyd’s of London issued the policy, of course.
12. Gennaro Pelliccia, chief taster for Costa Coffee (the world’s second largest coffee chain after Starbucks), had his tongue insured by his employer for £10 million ($16 million) in 2009, which amounts to roughly $1,600 per taste bud.
13. And ice cream taster John Harrison, who samples 50 packages a day, had his taste buds insured by Edy’s, his employer, for $1 million.
14. Speaking of tongues — KISS frontman Gene Simmons insured his tongue for $1 million with Lloyd’s of London in the 1970s during the band’s heyday.
15. Mariah Carey reportedly insured her voice and her hamstrings for $70 million before her Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour (happening now). Carey is reportedly paying several thousand dollars a month for the coverage.
16. In 1932, 13-year-old Harvey Lowe won the World Yo-Yo championship in London, after which The Cheerio Yo-Yo Company of Canada took out a $150,000 insurance policy on his hands (that would be $2.5 million today).
17. Michael Flatley, of Riverdance fame, had his legs insured for nearly $40 million to cover him in case of career-ending injury.
18. Merv Hughes, an Australian Cricket Player and owner of one luscious mustache actually had his facial hair insured because it was part of his trademark look. He reportedly insured it for $370,000.
19. Bruce Springsteen reportedly insured his voice with Lloyd’s of London for $6 million.
And finally, one insurance policy many of us have heard of, but it turns out, it’s not real.
20. JLo sets the record straight: Though multiple outlets have reported that Jennifer Lopez insured her famous derriere for $27 million dollars, she says it isn’t so. In March 2016, while a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden, JLo denied the claims in no uncertain terms saying, “No, there is no such thing as that.”
And how do you go about getting an eccentric insurance policy, you may wonder? You can’t exactly go to Progressive or Allstate — instead, certain insurers specialize in unique policies. Lloyd’s of London, as you’ve read, is the world’s largest specialty insurance market, and is the most often cited insurer in our compilation of the weird and fascinating insurables.
Have you heard rumors of any other truly strange insurance policies? Tell us in the comments!