December 31, 2014
If you have had to do battle with an insurance company to settle a straightforward damage claim, you may be surprised to discover some of the odd things that have been covered and paid under an insurance policy. Actually, a few cases are so outrageous you will probably be surprised whether or not you have ever filed a claim.
Here are some of the more interesting insurance company payments on unusual claims, in roughly increasing order of outrageousness. They involve everything from cows to coconuts – just not in the same claim.
- Spoiled Wine –The use of heat to dry out a flood-damaged storage area ruined the quality of nearby wine by heating the vino up to damaging temperatures. The insurance company originally balked at the high value of the claim, but eventually agreed that the resale value was drastically decreased and paid the claim.
- Homegrown Pot –The pot itself was not covered, but the home in which it was grown was. One claimant was illegally growing marijuana in the attic of his home. Unfortunately, his house burned down as a result of a mishap with the heating lamps.
The claimant was arrested but pleaded down to a misdemeanor charge – escaping the policy exclusion for the commission of a felony. The insurance company ultimately paid the claim.
- Digested Jewelry –The dog may have eaten your homework, but did it eat your jewelry, too? One insurance company was faced with such a claim and demanded rights to the dog for “salvage” value. Needless to say, this was poorly received by the distraught owner.
After legal threats, the insurance company eventually relented and paid the claim, sparing the “salvage value” of the dog. It was not reported whether the jewelry was ever recovered.
- Flying Trees – This has nothing to do with the prior marijuana claim. It actually refers to a Christmas tree that came loose from its moorings on the roof of a car and flew into the path of other vehicles.
One car sustained damage from the tree (as well as the resulting swerve into a hedge) but nobody was harmed. The insurance company paid for the damages, and the driver of the wrecked car got a free but slightly damaged Christmas tree out of the deal.
- Lost Phone – Insurance for the loss of a phone is not uncommon, but the loss of one inside a cow is unusual, to say the least. The claim was filed by a farmer in the UK who was using the light of an iPhone to assist a cow during calving on the stereotypical “dark and stormy night”.
The phone was “recovered” naturally some time later. To no one’s surprise, it didn’t work properly (what an advertisement that would have been for Apple if it had!). The insurance company paid in full. Perhaps they now have cattle exclusions.
- Falling Coconuts –Would you believe that people could be injured and even killed by falling coconuts? Your risk may be pretty low in Cleveland, but in tropical climates, the risk is real.
The British travel group Club Direct offers falling coconut insurance, and paid out to a woman who was knocked cold by a coconut as she sat reading a book in Sri Lanka.
Conclusion #1: Don’t sit under a palm tree. Conclusion #2: if you do, consider falling coconut insurance.
While these are some amusing examples, consider that these are claims that were ultimately paid. If you need another laugh, just imagine some of the outrageous insurance claims that have been denied.