This is the second installment in our two-part blog post that provides a change of pace from our usual articles. In this article, we focus on unusual insurance claims that sometimes border on unbelievable. However, these types of claims can prove problematic for people with legitimate claims for damage to their home or business because the cost of such claims can drive up premiums and increase the complexity of the claims process for those who have claims related to property damage and other forms of loss. Our first installment presented five of the most unusual insurance claims, and Part II provides more examples:
Cell Phone Lost in a Cow’s Behind: The owner of the cell phone filed a claim indicating that his cell phone was lost in the behind of one of his cows. He claimed he was not using the phone for anything perverse but was using the flashlight function to assist a cow that was giving birth to a calf. While he eventually retrieved the phone, predictably, it no longer powered up. The insurance carrier paid the full value of the claim.
Incompetent Arsonist: A homeowner set both his home and car on fire to collect under his homeowner’s and auto policies. The insured claimed that the fires started when items cooking in pans on his wood stove ignited. He then claimed that two buckets of coal caught fire. He reported that he tossed one bucket of burning of coal into the backseat of his car when he could not extinguish the fire. The insured also claimed he was going to toss the second bucket of burning coal outside, but the coal landed on his sofa when he “tripped” on the way to the door. If you find this story improbable, you are not alone. The policyholder pleaded guilty to 2nd and 3rd degree attempted insurance fraud. He was sentenced to five years of probation.
Falling Coconut Coverage: Many people scoffed when the British travel agency Club Direct started issuing insurance policies to cover injuries caused by falling coconuts. The justification for the coverage was data indicating that 150 people are killed by falling coconuts annually, which amounts to ten times the annual number of shark attack victims. However, a claim was filed for injuries related to a falling coconut, and the insurer paid the full value of the claim.
Professional Slip and Fall Artist: Isabel Parker has been designated the “queen of slip and fall scams”. She was addicted to gambling and used the recovery from these accidents to finance her addiction. She filed a total of 49 fraudulent slip and fall claims that involved accidents in supermarkets, department stores and liquor stores. While these claims netted her $500,115 over a seven year period, they also led to her conviction on 28 counts of insurance fraud and a sentence of four years of house arrest.
Beware of Cows: A couple filed a claim for damage to the paint of their car after a herd of cows licked the paint off of the vehicle.
Burning House with Mom Inside: A cash strapped policyholder burned down his house with his 90-year-old mother inside, so he could claim she committed suicide. He filed a claim for $730,000. The insurance payout was zero, but he did receive 190 years in prison.
Monkeying Around: A vacationing couple had their clothes stolen by monkeys who carried their clothes into the jungle. The insurance company paid their claim in full.
Although these claims might seem marginal at best, insurance carriers routinely deny, delay and lowball policyholders with legitimate claims. When your insurance company is jerking you around, you should conduct research to find a top Miami insurance claims attorney. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.