When we think of insurance we usually think of practical things like life insurance, disability insurance and car insurance. There is also an extra insurance that many people consider called Personal Accident Insurance which provides coverage for unforeseen events such as accidents that cause bodily injury; injury which may cause partial disability or permanent total disability. Depending on the policy, this insurance may also cover accidental death.

However, there is an offshoot of this insurance that is rather interesting; an insurance that certain individuals are glad to have in their portfolio that is called Body Part insurance. Celebrities and athletes dating back as far as the 1920s, have had body parts insured – parts of their bodies that were vital to their livelihood; so much so that losing or damaging them would result in a massive loss of money.

Key aspects of Body Part Insurance

  • To buy a body part insurance policy, you would probably have to find a specialty insurance company. But be careful, context is everything – not every cause of your loss may be covered.
  • Most high-profile body part insurance policies come from one place: Lloyd’s of London. And your body part would have to be evaluated to determine its quality and health.
  • Because the whole process is highly personalised and somewhat rare, expect high rates for insuring a body part.
  • Important to note that the insurance only covers the body part or the talent insured, and nothing else. So if you’ve insured your legs because you are a dancer, you can be burned to a cinder but if your legs are okay, you’re not going to get any recompense.
  • There are variations on a theme: you can insure almost anything in today’s innovative insurance world, including things like your voice, your tasting ability (chefs), noses (sommeliers), hands (surgeons, pianists) – in fact anything that is a special talent or skill that if lost, will lose you a lot of money.

Some wonderful attributes that people have insured with regard to their professions

  • Ben Turpin, the silent film actor in the 1920s, was famous for his crossed eyes. He allegedly took out a policy worth thousands of dollars with Lloyds of London that would pay out if his eyes ever uncrossed.
  • Jimmy Durante, a 1930s film star famous for his large nose, and affectionately known as ‘the Schnozzle’, insured his famous hooter through Lloyds of London for a cool 140 thousand dollars.
  • Betty Grable, the famous 1930s actress, insured her ‘million dollar’ legs for…one million dollars. In fact Betty Grable’s legs insurance was the beginning of a rush of celebrities to do the same, including such luminaries as
  • Rudolph Nureyev and Michael ‘Riverdance’ Flatley.
  • Bette Davis, famous actress of the 1940s, insured her tiny waist (can you believe it) against weight gain to the tune of 28,000 dollars.

More recently, the famous have insured their vital, valuable assets for millions of dollars:

  • Footballer, David Beckham, has insured his legs and face for over 100 million dollars.
  • Bruce Springsteen has insured his voice for 5 million dollars.
  • Rock star Keith Richard, insured his guitar plucking hands for over 1.5 million pounds.
  • Dolly Parton has insured her reputedly 40DD sized breasts for nearly 4 million dollars.
  • Food critic Egon Ronay insured his taste buds for 400,000 dollars.
  • Former Australian cricketer Merv Hughes insured his moustache, which became his trademark, for 200,000 dollars.
  • And if you can insure a moustaches, you can insure a smile. Ugly Betty star, America Ferrera, (whose smile without those braces was actually rather beautiful) had her smile insured for ten million dollars. The policy was taken out by the makers of a teeth-whitening product Aquafresh White Trays, as part of a promotion aimed at raising money for the USA charity ‘Smiles for Success’. As Ferrera said: ‘…having my smile insured…not something I ever imagined.’

Perhaps you have something personal, particular and valuable within the broad sphere of talent and skills? Consult with a professional financial and insurance advisor. It may actually prove an important step in finding a specialised insurance policy to protect your income.

Check your policies, check your life

VeriFi is an online tool that provides you with an immediate and up-to-date overview of all your life insurance and investment policies by sourcing information from all the major life insurance companies – and presenting the information in a comprehensive report.

With VeriFi you are able, for no charge, to access information on all your life and investment policies at a glance. You are able to check the types of policies you have, the names of the insurance companies providing the cover, the nature and extent of the insurance cover provided – and other vitally important information such as the details on your policies being correct.

To find out more, please visit: www.verifi.co.za

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