Virgin Money is now offering to pay out life cover should the policyholder be exterminated by a Dalek or struck down by Lord Voldemort. Welcome to the crazy world of insurance
You can always count on the Virgin Group to come up with a PR angle that will attract a lot of media attention. Not to let the side down Virgin Money has come up with an interesting way to help promote their life insurance products.
Virgin Money is now offering to pay out life cover should the policyholder be exterminated by a Dalek or struck down by Lord Voldemort. Policyholders will also be covered for a payout if they fall foul of the Loch Ness Monster.
These types of cover are not new in the world of insurance. The world leader is Lloyds of London who have been offering ‘wacky’ policies since the 1920’s, when silent film comedian Ben Turpin famously bought a $25,000 insurance policy with Lloyd’s, payable if his trademark crossed eyes ever uncrossed.
1930s Jimmy ‘the Schnozzle’ Durante’s infamously large nose was insured by Lloyd’s for $140,000 And in no particular order: Marlene Dietrich insured her vonderful voice for $1m and years later, Bruce Springsteen insured his for £3.5m; Bette Davis insured her tiny waist against weight gain to the tune of $28,000; and 1940s actress, dancer and pin-up girl Betty Grable insured her stupendous pins for $1,000,000 (hence the phrase ‘million-dollar legs’).
Fast forward to 2015, and celebrities are still insuring their ‘assets’ but now for millions of pounds or dollars, including Taylor Swift who recently insured her legs for $40 million.
Looking at the global media attention Miss Swift attracted because she announced her new insurance policy does lead you to conclude that these types of policies are more a publicity stunt than anything else.
But it’s not just people in the public eye who are asking for weird or strange insurance cover. Did you know you can insure yourself against pretty much anything, as long as you’re willing to pay the premium? Below are just ten of the types of cover you can take out to protect yourself against anything from alien abduction to ghost insurance.
1. UFO abduction insurance
If you live in fear of being beamed up by aliens, who are you going to call? Lloyds of London of course. They claim to have around 20,000 insurance policies covering UFO or alien abduction. Just be warned: you’d need to take a lie detector test and have a third party witness to get your payout. While you could get covered up to $10million the policy would only pay out $1 a week if your claim was successful.
2. Fantasy Sports Insurance
You might think playing the manager of a fantasy football team is a bit of fun, but for some it’s clearly serious business. There are insurance policies available that reimburse ‘managers’ if one of their key players is injured for a set number of games.
3. Falling coconuts
Believe it or not, falling coconuts cause about 150 deaths each year. In 1984, a UK travel company insured their guests against injuries caused by falling coconuts. One customer who received a coconut conk on the head in Sri-Lanka actually received a payout – and lived to tell the tale.
4. Ghost insurance
It’s possible to insure yourself against haunting and even ghostly happenings. One English hotel owner took out insurance after being convinced he saw a ghost at his bar. The policy would pay out a whopping £1million if a customer were unlucky enough to be killed or disabled by the spooky spectre.
5. Lottery winners’ insurance
Sadly not insurance that pays out when you don’t win the lottery. It’s actually insurance to protect the bosses who get left in the lurch. This policy covers the cost of hiring temps and training new employees if the office lottery syndicate just so happens to scoop the jackpot and all do a moonlight flit to paradise.
6. Body part insurance
Celebrities’ insuring their prized body parts isn’t a new thing. Back in the 40s, Bette Davis insured her waistline against expansion. Today, Dolly Parton has each breast insured for a rather fulsome $300,000 and Tom Jones has his trademark chest hair insured against thinning. But its not just people in the public eye who take out this type of insurance. Gemma Howorth, a hand model based in the United Kingdom has her legs, feet and hands insured for £5 million.
7. Sports fan insurance
Worried your beloved footy team might let you down? There’s a policy for that. In 2006 an English football fan took out insurance to cover him for any “severe trauma” caused if England went out of the World Cup in the early rounds. The boys made it to the quarter-finals, so no pay out was made but probably wise to renew this policy every year!
8. Cold feet insurance
Weddings insurance is nothing new but in the States one company includes “change of heart” cover should the bride or groom do a runner. Counselling for a broken heart is an optional extra. A successful claim could be tricky though, seeing as the jilting must be done 180 days in advance of the wedding, so last minute wobbles are excluded.
9. Immaculate conception insurance
In 2006, three sisters in Scotland had insurance to cover the costs if they were to give birth to the second incarnation of Jesus Christ. In 1999, Lloyds also insured a woman named Mary Murphy against a virgin birth triggered by the arrival of the Millennium.
10. Werewolf/vampire attack insurance
Panic not. You can cover yourself against attacks from hairy wolves and bloodsucking beings. Once again Lloyds of London steps into the breach, offering policies for all such eventualities, even a zombie apocalypse.
However bizarre these insurance policies are, someone somewhere gets peace of mind from being covered. You may not feel the need to insure your fabulous pins or protect yourself against zombies, but if you’re thinking about life insurance, you could read our article