When people buy car insurance, they do so because it’s a way of managing risk. The plan, ideally, will pay a recovery if something goes wrong and a vehicle is damaged and/or people are hurt. However, even insurance companies can get walloped with huge financial claims for recovery when fate lines up and creates the perfect storm. Here are 10 of the most expensive car-related claims to hit insurance companies for a variety of reasons. Remember, a claim doesn’t always mean a payout.
10. Own a Ferrari, Get a Good Parts Policy
One Italian owner wrecked his Ferrari, and it clearly wasn’t a simple run down to the local Napa or O’Reilly’s Auto Part Store. His Ferarri Enzo rang up a repair bill of 170,000 British Pounds. He clearly didn’t go to an in-network mechanic provider.
9. Bad Son, Bad.
Italian cars seem to be a magnet for accidents because Lamborghini isn’t immune either. In one case a father made the oh-so-predictable mistake of lending his beloved Lamborghini sports car to his son for the day. The son goes around a corner and the car decides to get romantic with the front end of another car. Fortunately, it was the other driver’s fault, and that insurance paid out. The total bill reached approximately $310,000 at least.
8. Mr. Bean Goes Splat.
If you saw a photo of Mr. Bean, then most folks would instantly recognize the actor, Rowan Atkinson. Unfortunately, as it turns out, Mr. Atkinson’s driving of fancy cars may be as bad as his inability to carry through an evil plot as the Black Adder. He managed to total a McLaren in 1997, which triggered a repair and claim cost of over $1.5 million. Way to go, Bean!
7. Someone Should Have Fired the Test Drivers.
Car test driving has its risks, but when engineer drivers crashed not one but two Bugatti Veyrons for test work, someone in management should have stepped in. Total cost for each vehicle was at least $800,000 ($1.6 million total).
6. Cars Can’t Swim (or You’re not James Bond).
Andy Lee House filed a claim in 2009 to cover damages to his Bugatti Veyron that ended up in a lake. Fortunately for Mr. House, he had taken out a $2.2 million policy to cover his car worth about $1 million. Mr. House probably thought he was pretty doggone smart. Unfortunately, someone else was smart enough to film him intentionally dunking the car for insurance fraud. Mr. House ended up losing the money, the car, and his freedom.
5. Zebra Crossing Signs Won’t Protect You.
If a sign says an animal crosses in a given location, drivers only seem to watch out for the animals. A pedestrian walked in a zebra crossing zone and got clobbered by a runaway driver who thought the road was empty. Total cost for the claim was over $4.5 million for injuries and suffering.
4. Fake Claims Get Noticed.
Big claims can include fake ones too. A British aristocrat named Lord Brockett (or Brocket) pushed through a claim for four of his cars being stolen (3 Ferraris and 1 Maserati). The claim totaled approximately $7 million, and it got paid. All was good until Lady Brockett was irritated enough to turn her husband into the police for insurance fraud. Lord Brockett must have given someone a ride he shouldn’t have.
3. The Suicidal Truck Driver.
In January 2001, late in the winter evening when the air was crisp with cold, a disturbed truck driver designed to power drive his rig right into the California state capitol building. While the attack didn’t kill anyone aside from the driver himself, it cause extensive damage to the historic building as well as full-blown evacuation. The final claim bill, which ended up in litigation, rang in at over $18 million, including legal costs. The company owning the truck went bankrupt.
2. I Would Keep My Name Anonymous Too.
In 2008 a car auction was held for high end vintage cars and a Ferrari GTO exchanged hands for a whopping $28.5 million. One has to assume, just out of basic logic, that the car was insured by the new owner as soon as he had title. He then at some point took it on the track with other vintage racers and wrecked the car’s front end. The Ferrari world screamed when it occurred, and among them was an insurance company manager.
1. A Just Recovery.
When one realizes what it takes to get a big insurance claim payout, most would pass on the chance. Agnes Collier didn’t have a choice. A car accident left her badly paralyzed at 17 and killed her mother. Since the claim was settled for a total value of approximately $37 million over her life, Collier has gone on to potentially attending a top U.K. university and some limited use return of her arms, but she will be severely disabled for life.