4 surprisingly expensive insurance claims

Did you know that on a global scale, the insurance industry has paid out many many trillions in insurance claims over the years? We’ve based this supposition on the fact that in 2008, around R225 trillion was paid out in claims during the global financial collapse. It’s a difficult figure to wrap your head around, so we thought we’d bring it down by a trillion or 200 and talk about the 3 most surprisingly expensive insurance claims that we’ve recently discovered.

First, though, it’s important to note that there are some insurance companies who have a better reputation for dealing with and paying out claims than others. When you’re getting car insurance it’s important to factor this into your search. An affordable premium is obviously a main contender, but never forget about the company’s service reputation, because how they deal with you and your needs (especially during a claim) will definitely impact you.

Now, let’s dive into those outrageously expensive claims. It’s sure to put a bit of perspective on worrying about the claim you might have to put in for that little fender bender.


Pet insurance claim for R640,000 (America)

In 2018, in the States, a German Shepherd became infected with toxic tetanus and ended up in the ICU for around 3 weeks. The poor pooch was treated with IV fluids, antibiotics, and an antitoxin to bring her back to full health. The bill came to around $52,000 and her pet insurance policy paid out $46,569. In our money, it would be like if your pet cover paid out approximately R640,000, leaving you with around R74,480 to pay out of your own pocket.


Life insurance claim for R6 million (South Africa)

In 2021, we found a miracle. Which was tough, because the past 2 years have been somewhat chaotic, given the pandemic. So, this was like a little light in the somewhat gloomy times that many people have experienced.

What happened was that a South African life insurance company paid out R6 million to the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. A beneficiary who wasn’t expecting any money. You see, this pay-out was unclaimed, meaning that the person receiving the money wasn’t aware that they were a beneficiary in the deceased’s policy. What tends to happen in these unclaimed cases is that local insurers will routinely check with the Department of Home Affairs to see if any policyholders have died. If no claims have been made, they reach out to the beneficiaries and complete the pay-out.

A R6 million surprise is something we’d take any day.


Car insurance claim for R11.4 million (England)

Aside from R11.4 million being a huge amount of money, we’ve got say that this claim caught our attention because it involved the hilarious Mr Bean. Rowan Atkinson, the actor who played Mr Bean and zoomed around in a green Mini, booting that blue van out of its way, had a real-life car accident. An accident involving his extremely rare McLaren F1 super car. The claim resulted in a whopping £910,000 pay-out, which we don’t need to tell you is massive.

We shudder to think what that would cost now, 10 years later.


Art insurance claim for R132 million (Germany)

The final and biggest claim sounds like it’s straight out of a movie. It turns out that there were 2 paintings, 1 by JMW Turner and 1 by Caspar David Friedrich, which were loaned to an art gallery in Germany by the Tate Gallery. The paintings were stolen from the gallery in Germany (just like in the movies) and the Tate’s insurance company paid out £24 million. At the time, this would have come to about R132 million.

Again, just like in the movies, highly skilled investigators tracked down the artworks and bought them back from the thieves. To be honest, we’re not entirely sure how it works that you pay a thief to get your stuff back, but we do know that the amount paid was minor compared to the insurance pay-out. We do feel like there needs to a better ending to this particular plot, but as it’s real life and not an actual Steven Spielberg cinematic adventure, we’ll have to be satisfied with what happened in real life.

Ultimately, insurance has its place in our lives. We may not have a lot of high-priced art that needs to be covered, but most of us have valuables that we’d find it difficult to repair or replace out of our own pockets. If this article got you thinking about getting car, home or portable possessions insurance for any of your items of value, then why not get an insurance quote for an affordable policy from an insurance company that’s literally won awards for their service excellence.

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