Want to insure your arm? Your legs? What about your girth? If so, you aren’t the first. We’ve seen celebrities and athletes insure their bodies since the early 1900s. All for the publicity and fanfare? Not always—but is any human figure really worth $195 million? That’s the reported payout for David Beckham should he sustain any injury to his legs that would prevent him from playing soccer or disfigurement to his face or other body parts that might affect his modeling contracts with companies like H&M and Armani.
This well-hyped insurance practice of insuring body parts, especially among celebrities and athletes, actually sees its roots in America’s silent-film era. In the 1920s, vaudeville comedian Ben Turpin took out an insurance policy on his cross-eyes, which he maintained were a primary part of his act. Had they ever gone straight, he would have collected $20,000. Betty Grable insured her legs for $1 million long before Heidi Klum ever came along, and Bette Davis had a $28,000 policy against weight gain on her 28-inch waist.
Body-part insurance is a booming business—and one that can get pretty expensive. Reportedly, a few providers collectively bear the liability for Beckham’s gargantuan policy. Mum’s the word on the celebrity’s monthly premium, though.
Here’s the thing. As it is, most body parts are covered under general insurance policies like workers compensation and accident, dismemberment and disablement policies. Despite the media promotion around insuring celebrity body parts, even entertainment companies will often max out on standard life and disability insurance for their clients before seeking specialty policies. (Though when Daniel Craig did all his own stunts for Quantum of Solace, the studio or production company in charge surely took out a surplus line—as the specialty policies are called—to insure his entire body for a cool $9.5 million.)
In general, surplus lines from specialty firms carry pricey premiums, so those oddball body-part policies are just a means of adding extra coverage for a valuable celebrity or athlete. It’s safe to assume, too, that unless it’s a stunt to garner publicity, these famed faces are not the ones paying.
Even so, here are a few well-reported insurance policies that should make for good conversation at your next dinner party. It’s worth noting that when these kinds of policies hit the press, there’s likely some truth that they’re indeed in place—even if their reported worth varies.
- Dolly Parton has her notable 40DD bosom insured for £3.8 million.
- Keith Richard’s guitar-strumming hands are worth $1.6 million.
- Taylor Swift recently took out a $40-million policy on her stage-performing legs. Apparently, she was pretty embarrassed by the high valuation of her stems.
- Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen has his vocal chords insured for $6 million.
- Harvey Lowe, one of the world’s best yo-yoers, took out a policy for his hands for $150,000.
- Legendary cricket player Merv Hughes insured his notable mustache for $370,000.
- Head and Shoulders, whose commercials highlight NFL player Troy Polamalu’s flowing mane, insured his locks for $1 million in 2010. (The jury’s still out on what defines enough hair damage to prompt a policy-payout.)
- Manuel Neuer, one of soccer’s elite goalkeepers, valued his hands at $4.3 million in 2014.
- Food critic Egon Ronay covered his taste buds for $400,000.
- Lionel Messi has a policy for his legs worth €750 million.
- Miley Cyrus insured her tongue for $1 million.
- A Spanish bank insured Formula-One champion Fernando Alonso’s racecar-driving thumbs for $13.3 million in 2010.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.