Insurance is something that most people rarely think about. We pay our premiums, make claims when necessary, and everything usually works out just fine. Most claims are typical — people report items lost or stolen, or damaged in some way, perhaps by fire or flood. Left to their own devices, when filling out a claim form, policyholders generally present clear and concise information. There is a minority, though, whose claim forms provide occasions for unintended amusement. Here are some excerpts that you may enjoy.
A cigar aficionado, having recently purchased a case of expensive and rare cigars, elected to insure them against — of all things — fire. Then, over the course of a few weeks, he smoked the cigars, even though he hadn’t made a single premium payment on the policy. This man had the audacity to file a claim against his policy, stating that the cigars were destroyed “in a series of small fires.” Needless to say, the insurer refused to pay because the man had consumed the cigars in the usual way. The man sued the insurance company and was successful, because the judge ruled that cigars are insurable possessions. The insurance company paid the claim, but later had the man arrested on 24 counts of arson. There was ample evidence to convict this dishonest person who was sentenced to 24 consecutive one-year terms, one for each cigar he “destroyed” by smoking it.
If you’re an absent-minded person, pay close attention to this story. A policeman is on a crusade to curtail spurious insurance claims made by vehicle owners. Frustrated that a large percentage of drivers leave parcels and boxes unattended in unlocked cars, the official has started a one-person campaign against the sort of carelessness that results in claims being paid, even though the vehicle was left unlocked, making it a perfect and convenient target for thieves. The superintendent has pledged to notify the insurance company if a break-in has been the result of an owner’s negligence.
A famous cruise ship company has taken out insurance against its vessels being damaged by the Loch Ness monster. The payout is reputed to be in the 6-figure range. This occurred on the 80th anniversary of the first sighting of the monster, affectionately called “Nessie.” Those who don’t believe in the Loch Ness monster have blamed sightings on everything from over-active imaginations to a giant-sized sturgeon.
Good news for homeowners: in the past year, the number of home burglaries has dropped by about 20 percent, which has resulted in reduced premiums for high value home insurance, as well as standard home insurance. Overall, premiums have dropped an average of 9 percent. However, personal theft crimes continue to rise, so it pays to be circumspect when insuring your home, high value or not.
A woman’s car was hit by a foreign lorry that was travelling on the wrong side of the road. Things got worse because the lorry driver gave false information, so the woman’s insurance company was unable to trace him. Her car was scrapped for a paltry £150.00. The case resulted in a movement to synchronise lorry driving standards across the UK and EU. Statistics show that foreign-registered HGVs accounted for 8% of accidents, despite the fact that they account for just 3.6% of HGVs on the road today.
A man was thought to have lost a hand in an horrific accident. He placed claims totalling nearly £2 million against a number of insurance providers. In the process of investigating the claims, insurers discovered that the hand was severed too cleanly, without affecting the bone, which is nearly impossible for the sort of accident that the man claimed caused the injury. Things simply didn’t add up, so the claim was denied. Although a desperate case, this is more common than you would think. Last year, another man cut off his entire arm and placed a fraudulent £500,000 insurance claim that blamed the accident on an electric saw.
Historically, women drivers have paid lower insurance premiums than their male counterparts. However, the EU’s Gender Directive put an end to this privilege. The directive prevents insurance companies from setting premiums based on gender, despite the fact that women have proven to be much safer on the roads. The result? Comprehensive cover for women has increased by nearly 21%.
Although most people wax prolific on their insurance claim forms, others are highly (and humorously) brief, sometimes consisting of a single sentence or even a single word. Consider these: “I pulled into a lay-by with smoke coming from under the bonnet. I realised the car was on fire so took my dog and smothered it with a blanket.” Poor Fido! A police constable at the scene of a crash asked whether either driver could have done anything to avoid the accident. One replied, “Travel by bus?” In another incident, a policyholder had an unfortunate collision with a cow. The claim form queried, “What warning was given by you?” The man said, “Horn.” In response to the question, “What warning was given by the other party?” he stated succinctly, “Moo.” This one requires no introduction: “I started to turn and it was at this point I noticed a camel and an elephant tethered at the verge. This distraction caused me to lose
concentration and hit a bollard.”
Here are a few more claim form one-liners: “I didn’t think the speed limit applied after midnight.” “I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked
her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk.” When asked whether he engaged in any pastimes of a hazardous nature, such as motorcycling or hunting, a man said brightly, “I watch the lottery show and listen to Terry Wogan.” Time for a snack: “The first car stopped suddenly and hit the second car. Then, a haggis ran into the rear of the second car.”
Although humorous, these anecdotes underscore the need for adequate insurance. Why not contact us today?