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The world's wackiest insurance policies

Three weddings and an insurance claim

While you're covered for acts of God, there's one important exclusion: Changes of heart are not covered.

Wedding policies serve as protection in case bad weather prevents the majority of guests or someone essential to the wedding ceremony from arriving. The policies can also be invaluable should something happen to the wedding or reception facility. Nuccio says that half of the facilities in California require the wedding party to carry at least $500,000 in liability insurance.

"We paid off when hurricane Floyd hit [North Carolina] because the facility they were going to use was no longer in existence," Nuccio says. "I mean the reception hall was gone. We got three or four claims from that hurricane."

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In addition to event coverage, specialty insurers also offer travel-related policies. Worldwide Weather Insurance Agencies in Manhasset, N.Y., sells vacation policies to protect against Mother Nature's wrath. The price of a policy depends on where you travel. A two-week trip to Italy in June carries a $150 premium for $5,000 in insurance. The catch is that it must rain at least .01 inches or more a day during at least 60 percent of your stay for your expenses to be reimbursed. If the official rain gauge holds .04 inches because it rained four out of seven days, you're in.

The vacation policies are available online, but you won't always be able to buy the kind of insurance you'd like. For example, the company wouldn't insure a trip to Florida in August because of the high risk of rain, says Christie Liberio, director of marketing for Worldwide Weather.

"You won't find a quote if our computer goes into the program and sees that the premium rate is too close to what you're actually going to pay for the trip," Liberio says. "If the premium is astronomically high, then it won't give you a quote."

Of course, bad weather might not be your biggest concern in certain vacation destinations. Let's say you're planning a trip to Australia. You've made the flight reservations and lined up the hotel accommodations, but have you arranged for crocodile attack insurance? The policy is considered a tourist gimmick, but the country's northern territory is home to more than 70,000 crocodiles, according to an Associated Press report.

The rising reptile population is one reason why the Northern Territory Insurance Office in Darwin has been selling this insurance for more than a decade. Under the policy, individuals pay a premium of $25, and their families receive a payout of about $123,000 if a crocodile kills the policyholder. The bad news is that losing an arm or a leg won't get you anything except a sad story to tell about your Australian getaway.

Planning for a vacation mishap is one thing, but what if you find yourself taking an unexpected trip off the planet? The Saint Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Fla., sells alien abduction "insurance." The word is in quotes because the company isn't licensed to sell insurance. It costs $23.95, including shipping, for an official-looking $10 million policy that provides for psychiatric care and sarcasm protection, plus a double indemnity clause "if the alien insists on conjugal visits."

Saint Lawrence admits that the policies are intended for fun only and that they're usually purchased as gag gifts. "Most people don't get this for themselves," he says. "However, sometimes we do get some calls from people who are serious about it."

The lesson here is that there is insurance for almost anything imaginable. No matter whether you need to protect a musical organ or a body organ, there is probably an agency willing to sell you a policy. Just remember that the burden of proof usually lies with the policyholder. So be sure to get that alien autograph on your claim form, OK?

-- Updated: April 15, 2002

See Also
Celebrity policy: Insure the good parts
Insurance for cats and dogs
Ferocious fungus scaring homeowners and insurers
More insurance stories

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