Strange Insurance: You Can’t Really Get Coverage for That, Can You?


Insurance topics, on a whole, tend to be pretty straightforward. People want to know how to get the cheapest auto insurance or the most inexpensive, but comprehensive, health insurance. They look for articles to explain loopholes in homeowners insurance and explanations of why flood insurance might be necessary. Very, very few people think about insuring themselves against alien abduction or paranormal activity.

And yet, those kinds of policies do exist.

ET Phoned The Insurance Agent

British Insurance, a company well known for issuing strange policies, began writing alien abduction or UFO coverage in the 1990s. They sold about 4,000 policies and even insured some members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult, a group that ended its own existence tragically with a mass suicide in 1997.

Although the London-based company got out of the ET underwriting game in the aftermath of that event, there are still a number of companies that issue coverage in amounts of $10,000 to $10 million at a cost of approximately $150 a year. Depending on the terms, events covered not only include abduction, but impregnation, invasive “medical” examination, and death.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Insurance

Now granted, the Alien Abduction Insurance Corporation’s offer to sell you a lifetime policy for $9.95 — complete with a certificate of coverage suitable for framing — falls under the category of gag gift, but this is not necessarily the case with paranormal insurance, which isn’t quite as wacky as it might sound.

There was a case of a British hotel owner who saw a ghost in his bar and took out a policy that would pay up if a guest or employee was killed or permanently disabled by said spirit. That’s not, however, the point of the most popular kind of paranormal coverage, which is actually liability insurance for people who own supposedly haunted locations or similar coverage for groups that host investigations.

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Odd Insurance May Actually Be Realistic

The real need for coverage in those ghostly situations highlights the fact that not all seemingly odd insurance is, indeed, off the wall. For instance, it is not at all unusual for a wedding today to cost in excess of $25,000. At least a quarter of those costs are likely to be in non-refundable deposits. If someone gets cold feet or the event has to be delayed, you lose that money. Does a $500 wedding policy to hedge a $6,250 potential loss make sense? Probably.

Or take the case of pet insurance, which once seemed the exclusive purview of crazy cat ladies. Advances in veterinary medicine have given pet owners real life-saving options for their seriously ill and dearly beloved companions. Common medical treatments for pets generally cost $700 to $875 a year, but expenses for things like radiation or chemotherapy can run into the thousands. In those cases, medical coverage on Fido or Fluffy pays for itself very quickly.

There have been some truly bizarre forms of coverage. For instance, policies covering:

  • fantasy sports,
  • gambling losses,
  • immaculate conception,
  • and a wide range of valuable celebrity body parts.

Insurance is a game of risk and often the sense of feeling threatened is highly personal. For some people, alien abduction is a real threat. Heck, Shirley MacLaine took out one of those policies. Bottom line? If there’s something you’re afraid of or something you value, you can probably find an insurer willing to take your premium dollars to protect it or you.

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