2008 Insurance Guide
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Not your typical insurance policy

If you think the rich and famous aren't that different from the rest of us, you should read their insurance policies.

Welcome to the world of specialty lines insurance.

When clients want to cover extraordinary possessions, like high-value luxury items, collections or body parts vital to their livelihoods (think concert musicians), they don't just drop into the local insurance office and sign on the dotted line.

Instead, an individual might purchase a separate policy, often called a rider, to cover the item. And, if the situation is really unique, it might be handled by a company's specialty lines department.

“One winemaker insured his nose for a cool $7.8 million”

And this isn't off-the-rack coverage. Insurance agents who work in this area often develop a special talent for troubleshooting and problem solving, which comes in handy when policies are custom-tailored for out-of-the-ordinary items and situations. (To compare insurance policies and quotes, visit Insureme.com, a Bankrate company.)

"I love being a part of it because you get to see stuff that hasn't been done before," says Eddie Floyd, managing director with Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group, a Memphis, Tenn.-based insurance company. "Our clients are fun to work with."

Some of the more extraordinary items insurance companies have underwritten:

A railroad car. Not just any railroad car though. Purchased by a billionaire and retrofitted at a cost of nearly $7 million as a luxury motor home on the rails, this car could qualify for its own episode of "Cribs." "It's absolutely amazing," says Floyd.

Oddly enough, the owner wasn't seeking insurance on the car itself. But the railroad required that he carry $100 million in liability because his eventual goal is to hitch the car to existing lines, says Floyd. As a result, the premium is roughly $150,000 annually.

Those eyes. One pop artist, who specializes in street art, insisted on insuring his eyes for $1 million because they gave him his unique artistic vision of life. "He said that he could see things differently through his eyes than any other person," says Floyd.

With some body-part policies, there's "no real risk" for the insurance carrier, adds Floyd. Often, there are so many exclusions in the policies that "it would take a near-perfect claim situation to make it pay out." So high-dollar coverage doesn't automatically come with high premiums.


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