Insurance can protect against just about everything, even curly fries in your engine. But that’s just a regular auto policy, and claims agents get all sorts of funny stories about those.
Some very specialized insurance types exist, though. Trying to get back those nonrefundable deposits after your daughter breaks up with her husband-to-be? Surprised by more than one heartbeat on the sonogram? In mourning because a star quarterback broke his leg and ruined your fantasy football team’s prospects?
You could have bought insurance for those. Following are several of the weirdest types of insurance you can buy.
1. Hole-in-one insurance
Golf tournaments and charity golf events sometimes offer big payouts for getting a hole-in-one. The chances are slim (about 1 in 12,500 for an amateur) but it’s not impossible. That’s why organizers buy hole-in-one insurance. The Hustle reports that Hole In One International, one of the oldest U.S. hole-in-one insurance companies, has paid out some $56 million in claims since 1991.
Hole-in-one insurance is a subset of an insurance category called “prize indemnity insurance.” Ever been at a basketball game with a half-court shot promotion? It’s almost certainly insured. So are things like guessing the weight of a giant pumpkin at the fair, choosing the winning toy in a rubber duck race or cow patty bingo.
Yep: They insure against someone choosing the correct numbered square on which a cow will relieve itself. Insurance isn’t as dull as you might think.
2. ‘Change of heart’ insurance
Is someone getting cold feet about the wedding? You could have bought insurance for that. If the wedding gets canceled more than a year before the planned date, Wedsure.com offers change of heart coverage — but only if the wedding is canceled more than a year before the planned date.
Initially that figure was four months, but the company changed it after a few fraudulent claims. (“Gosh, her father and I had no idea that they were going to split up! Now: Reimburse us for those nonrefundable deposits.”)
Other types of wedding coverage are available through Wedsure and other insurance companies. These policies cover things like special attire, postponement, liability or a venue going out of business. The Wedsure blog noted the top 20 wedding mishaps it had covered, including “a tornado rendered the venue uninhabitable,” “the wedding gifts were stolen at the reception,” “the guests got food poisoning” and “the minister failed to show.”
3. Concealed carry insurance
Gun Digest reports that more than 21.5 million Americans are licensed to carry firearms. Being the good guy with the gun might cost you big-time if things go south. That’s why you can now buy concealed carry insurance, also known as firearm liability insurance.
Depending on the policy, you’ll be covered for things like criminal or civil lawsuits (bail money, defense costs, damages), loss of work, property damage and the cost of expert witnesses.
Potential buyers should compare their options carefully; for example, one company has its own group of lawyers and won’t let you choose one from outside that list.
4. ‘Key personnel’ insurance
Ever worked at a place where one or two people seem to do almost everything? There’s a policy for that. “Key personnel” insurance is designed to protect companies against the loss of one or several essential employees.
If one (or all) of these key personnel were to die, the company could lose important accounts or even be left temporarily unable to conduct business. The policy would keep the lights on until replacements can be found; in cases where a company can no longer function, the insurance payout would provide severance pay to remaining workers and close the business (including distributing monies to any investors).
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the description “key” isn’t necessarily limited to C-suite personnel. For example, it can be tough to replace certain top salespeople or the head of product development. Some companies will opt to insure those folks, for a bit of financial support during the hiring search.
5. Multiple-birth insurance
Don’t wait until the doctor confirms the presence of more than one fetus in your womb to purchase multiple-birth insurance. The coverage must be bought early in the pregnancy.
If you wind up delivering twins, or what seasoned parents of multiples call “supertwins” (triplets, quads or quints), the policy pays a lump sum. You’d need it, since multiple kids will mean multiple costs for clothing, food, child care, gifts, medical visits and, eventually, college or trade school.
Since only about 3% of U.S. births are multiples, the risk is fairly low. But if you’re undergoing fertility treatment, have a family history of multiples or are just really (un)lucky, it might not be a risk you’re willing to take.
6. Fantasy sports insurance
Fantasy sports can range from a casual office bracket during the Final Four to elaborate setups with big entry fees and big money prizes. More than 81 million adults in the U.S. and Canada participate in fantasy sports, according to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association. For the uninitiated, each “manager” picks a team of current sports professionals and battles against other team managers, using the real-life stats of their players.
But what if a player on your make-believe roster gets hurt in real life? It costs money to pick up replacement players.
Insurance to the rescue! Some insurers now offer fantasy sports coverage that pays out if key players are injured for a certain number of games. Forbes reports that in the case of a major injury, the policy might cover the entire entry fee. While it can cost as little as $25 to register, some fantasy sports leagues have higher-echelon fees ranging as high as $1,000 to $2,000. In those cases, insurance might make sense.
7. Kidnapping and ransom insurance
The August 2023 release of a kidnapped nurse and her child in Haiti highlights the very real dangers of abduction in some countries. Since 2019, the U.S. State Department has added a “K” designation to its travel advisories to emphasize the threat in certain countries.
Just avoid those places, right? But if your employer sends you there, better make sure they’ve got a kidnapping and ransom policy in place. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a K&R policy will also likely cover illegal detention, hijacking and extortion demands.
These policies tend to cover preventive measures, to reduce the threat of kidnapping. If the worst happens, a K&R policy might pay not just the ransom itself but also for things like private investigation, forensic analysis, a professional negotiator, and “rest and rehabilitation” expenses. On a more somber note, it also pays death or dismemberment benefits.
8. Houseplant insurance
You can spend a small fortune on indoor plants, only to have them wither and die. A plant-selling company called Horti has two forms of plant insurance that can help.
The Plant Reassurance plan focuses on preventive care. Send pictures of your struggling greenery to Horti’s “plant doctor” and get best-practice tips and information on how to nurse your plants back to good health.
The Plant Resurrection plan is only for plants you bought from Horti. If the plant doctor’s tips can’t bring your baby back from the brink, Horti will replace the plant.
Both insurance types are intended to be short-term. The idea is that you shouldn’t need it after you’ve learned what plants crave. “Our hope is that you won’t need insurance beyond three to six months,” the website states.
Note: If your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover houseplants as part of the home’s contents you might be able to purchase additional coverage, according to a Florida-based insurance company called The Sena Group. Doing this might be the right move for someone with “plants that are rare, exotic, endangered or expensive.”
Incidentally, houseplants offer more benefits than mere beauty. One of the biggest benefits is their ability to improve your home’s air quality. Learn more at “9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air.”
9. Active shooter insurance
Previously, a company that fell victim to a bad guy with a gun would rely on something called a “commercial general liability” (CGL) policy to help with the aftermath. These days, insurers are offering policies that specifically address the dreadful modern phenomenon of the active shooter. According to the FBI, 50 such events occurred in 2022; however, that number doesn’t include all “active shooter” scenarios. Of those, 13 were considered “mass killing incidents.”
This sadly necessary coverage can be an endorsement to an existing policy, or a dedicated active shooter policy. Typically they have the same protections offered by a CGL policy, including business interruption, physical damage and any legal liability.
However, they may add coverage for things like victim crisis management, counseling and “loss of attraction” and “brand rehabilitation” costs. Such policies also can offer risk assessment and crisis management help once an active shooter event has happened.
10. Alien abduction insurance
Okay, this one’s not real. Even if you want to believe, we have to disclose that the “insurance” is a novelty policy sold by the Saint Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida. (Of course, it’s in Florida.) The policy, such as it is, is for $10 million but the payout term is heavily weighted toward the company: $1 a year for 10 million years.
The policy features coverage for things like multidimensional joy rides, sarcasm from relatives or alien/human hybrid offspring that might result from those close encounters.
In an interview with industry publication Leader’s Edge, the company owner said he’s paid out just two claims — mostly for the yuks. Apparently he waived one of the claim requirements: “You have to get a signature of an onboard alien.”
Again: This isn’t real. But it would make a great gift for someone who knows that the truth is out there.