Every year, insurance companies read thousands of claims. In 2018 alone, Canadian Property and Casualty Insurers paid out over $2 billion to claimants.
While most insurance claims are run-of-the-mill, a few are truly out there. From auto to renters insurances, agents have seen it all. Today, let's look at some of the weirdest, funniest, most ridiculous insurance claims of all time.
1. Falling Faster than a Speeding Bullet, It's--Poop?!
On a list of things to worry about, terminal-velocity feces probably wouldn't crack the top ten.
So when one Ontario woman woke to find a frozen brick of poo had swan-dived from the sky, crashed into her home, and tore a three-foot hole right through her roof, "shocked" might be the understatement of a century when describing her reaction.
The 36-year-old teacher called a roofer to investigate the damage. The roofing repairman noted that the frozen excrement was probably "blue ice": disinfected human waste that accidentally leaked from an airplane.
It's unlawful for an airplane to dump anything mid-flight since even a small object can cause real damage at terminal velocity. Transport Canada pledged to investigate the incident. But, accidents happen.
Fortunately, the Insurance Bureau of Canada notes you can protect yourself from damage like this. Falling objects--no matter how strange!--are considered "perils," and homeowners' insurance plans cover them.
2. Technically, An Accurate Answer
Sometimes, it's not the event that's funny so much as the claim itself.
When you go through the mandatory paperwork, it's easy to feel frustrated or even baffled--particularly when a standard question can't really apply to your case. So when someone takes a form less-than-seriously, can you blame them?
In one insurance urban legend, an Irish driver filled an auto-insurance claim after colliding with a cow on the road. The short-answer section of his claim-form read:
Q: What warning was given by you?
Q: What warning was given by the other party?
3. Maximum Snakes
Some insurance policies cover wildlife removal. This is good because you never know what schemes the local fauna have been plotting.
For example, you want coverage if a bunch of snakes try to move into your pipes. Now, you might think, no problem. You're thinking: how many snakes?
Hey, you can remove a couple of snakes yourself--you're tough! You're basically the Canadian Steve Irwin of snakes! Really, how many snakes could possibly try to inhabit a single home's plumbing at once?
Twenty-three snakes tried to live in a solitary set of pipes, all in the plumbing of a single Texas family's house. The story made headlines when, in 2017, wildlife control removed the large nest of rattlesnakes. All made a home in one family's water system.
The family alerted control when, one morning, a single snake slithered up from the tank and poked its head into the toilet bowl. Ultimately, authorities had to take the system apart to relocate the snakes safely.
According to reports, that wasn't even the largest snake removal in that year alone! When animals decide to live where you live, insurance definitely helps.
4. Accidents, Water Damage, and... Cats?
As countless YouTube videos have taught us, cats love running water. Running water is up there with catnip, laser pointers, and literally every box on the list of feline faves. Unfortunately, furbabies caused a swath of crazy home insurance claims.
In 2018, the Ontario Insurance Adjusters Association (OIAA) reported an uptick in water-damage claims. The culprit? Cats.
Increasingly, Canadians have installed touch-free faucets in their sinks. These fixtures turn the water on in response to motion and then automatically shut off. Under normal circumstances, touch-free faucets save you on your water bill.
Under more cat-oriented circumstances, well...you can see where this goes. Some cats figured out how to leap onto the sink, swipe their paws in front of the sensor, and play with their new favourite toy.
They did it a lot.
In some homes, running water overflowed a sinkful of soaking dishes. In others, cats' rapid movements caused the system to glitch, defaulting the flow to "on."
Homeowners' insurance covers many sources of water damage. But, insurers hesitate to cover damage that's easily prevented. For all the cat parents out there, that might mean picking faucets that require thumbs to use.
5. Grand Theft Garden Gnome
David Baddeley has been the director of Scottish Trust Deed for a while, so he has a good sense of when a claimant's trying to pull one over on him. Nobody was more surprised than he was to learn one claim was legit.
A local man collected $47,000 on a stolen property claim. The theft? 403 garden gnomes.
The anonymous claimant had built his collection since the 1960s. The gnomes varied: tall, short, differently-coloured pointy hats. He'd consulted appraisers to value each and every gnome.
And, no one can dispute the claim of theft. He'd recorded the entirety of the world's greatest garden gnome heist on security cameras.
6. Insurance Doesn't... Do That
Some insurance claims are out there. But, sometimes the craziest stories happen when a policyholder doesn't want to file a claim at all!
Not Always Right is a blog where anonymous customer service agents vent about customers who are, well...wrong. In one April 2021 post, an insurance agent relates a stressful back-and-forth with a member.
A caller phoned his insurance because a storm damaged his shed. Throughout the conversation, the caller keeps insisting that the agent should just "tell [him] what to do!"
The agent tries to explain--repeatedly--that he should take pictures of the damage. This way, they can estimate the cost of repairs.
Eventually, the caller just explodes. He doesn't want to take any pictures.
Instead, he makes a bold statement! "You need to tell me," the caller snaps, "how to fix my roof!"
Listen: insurance can do a lot for you after a storm. But, no insurance doles out repair carpentry instruction. That's what YouTube's for.
7. Please Don't Shoot Your Car
Auto insurance comes in varying degrees of coverage. The lowest-tier insurance merely offsets the costs of a car accident. As you go up the list, insurance pays out more, for more issues.
The highest-grade auto insurance is Comprehensive. Some insurers call this Other-Than-Collision (OTC) insurance. It turns out, Comprehensive insurance even protects your vehicle from your own dumb decisions.
That's good news for one memorable client.
In his first year as an agent, Ron Hettler dealt with some weird car insurance claims. In this case, he processed a claim for an eccentric policyholder. This client brought his shotgun everywhere.
No exaggeration! Whether he went to church, to a party, or out to eat, this policyholder had a hand on his rifle.
One day, he was riding shotgun with his shotgun. When he got to his destination, he jumped out of the cab--and lost his grip on the gun. The dropped rifle fired.
Good news: nobody got hurt! Bad news: that cab was toast. The buckshot shredded everything.
The lead damaged the headliner. The dashboard and seats were beyond repair. Good news again: insurance covered the full replacement cost.
So, Shotgun-Joe got to drive another day. Still, while everything turned out okay, don't take away the wrong lesson here. No matter how good your insurance is, please: do not shoot your vehicle.
8. Ridiculous Insurance Claims: Goat Attack
Here's a question for drivers. Which fearsome creatures do you least want to meet on the road? Are they:
Most Canadian drivers could make good cases for any of the first three. After all, moose curiousity results in reliably funny insurance claims. But few drivers worry about goats.
In 2014, a driver in Maine slowed down. His neighbours' goats were on the road. He stopped and honked at them, hoping they would shuffle away.
Instead, they charged the car. Then, they lept onto it! The pair of stubborn goats steadied themselves on the car's hood and roof.
They refused to budge.
Ultimately, the driver had to call the local police. Officers helped corral the goats safely away.
The goats didn't damage the car much. Still, the driver's insurance covered the scratches and dings they left.
9. Some Celebs Aren't Like Everyone Else
You might have heard of celebrities taking out unique insurance policies. It's not unusual for a physical professional to ensure the body parts that keep them in the black.
For instance, America Ferrera is a popular actress and brand spokesperson. Toothpaste company Aquafresh signed Ferrera as an official sponsor in 2007.
Part of the deal was insurance. Specifically, the company insured Ferrera's smile for roughly $10 million.
She's not the most out-there policyholder either. In 1993, Egon Ranay was one of the most influential food critics in the entire United Kingdom. His work defined taste.
At some point, he concluded that to continue to define taste, he couldn't afford to lose one critical asset: his tastebuds. So, he insured them.
Egon Ranay's tastebuds are now worth $375,000. His might be the most expensive tongue in the world.
You may not be a world-renowned taste-tester. Yet, you still need a healthy body to work.
Insuring a specific body part is probably off the table. But! Many Canadians take out general disability insurance plans. This way, you can maintain an income even after an injury.
Insurance Information At Your Fingertips
Sometimes you can't avoid filing ridiculous insurance claims! When crazy things happen, how do you know if you're covered?
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