Insurance is not just for homes and vehicles, but can also protect you financially against the loss of... your tongue. While this may seem ridiculous, people-from athletes to actors-have taken out policies to protect the body parts they need to make their living.
The accident-and-health underwriter at Lloyd's of London, Jonathan Thomas, estimates that body-part insurance premiums could total as much as $2 million. Here's a few of the most ridiculous things ever to be insured.
A food critic, Egon Ronay, insured his taste buds with Lloyds of London back in 1957 when he first published his Egon Ronay Guide to British Eateries. Ronay-or his taste buds-were so influential that a bad review could break a new restaurant, and a glowing review was worth his tongue's weight in gold. Ronay insured his taste buds for $400,000.
Inflation even effects body-part insurance. In 2009, the chief coffee taster for Costa Coffee, Gennaro Pelliccia, insured his tongue for $16 million.
Bruce Springsteen insured his voice with Lloyd's of London for $5.7 million. But the insurance firm, and Springsteen's publicist, remains tight-lipped about any details. This policy is rumoured to date from 1988.
A wine producer needs his nose like a food critic needs his taste buds. Ilja Gort, who owns the Chateau la Tulipe de la Garde winery in France, insured his nose in 2008. The policy covers a complete loss of sense of smell.
The policy-for an undisclosed amount-has some restrictive clauses. Gort is not permitted to ski, or box, for instance. But as he says, his sense of smell and the wines he produces have resulted in "a chateau of people hanging on my nose."
Movie star Betty Grable's famous legs were insured in the 1940s, for $1 million per leg. Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart also insured her legs, for $1 million in total.
An NFL football player had his hair insured in what is likely a publicity stunt. Pittsburg Steelers Troy Polamalu is often seen on TV-in shampoo commercials! Head and Shoulders insured the huge athlete's long curly hair for $1 million.
Insuring the taste buds, voice, and nose all make economic sense. But is there a good economic argument for insuring sperm?
David Lee Roth took out an insurance policy on his sperm in his Diamond Dave heyday in the 80s. This $1 million policy was to protect him from paternity suits!
In addition to actual body parts, insurance policies have been taken out on a fantasy player.
Fantasy Adrian Peterson
There's real money in fantasy sports. Fans' fortunes ride on their fantasy pick, so if a real player has a bad season the fan can lose their investment. Fantasy Sports Insurance insured NFL Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for $1,500, for a policy which cost $150. As it turned out, Peterson had a good season, finishing fifth in the league.