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Top 5 big insurance pay outs

Find out why Rowan Atkinson was extremely grateful he had insurance in place when you discover some of the most expensive insurance claims ever paid out.

Posted on 21 January 2015

Some of the biggest insurance claims of all time revealed

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the largest insurance claims follow catastrophes and natural disasters. For example, claims following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 reached £45 billion. And in the UK, the 2007 floods saw insurers paying out £3 billion in claims.

However, there have also been some hefty insurance claims related to rather less dramatic events. Here’s our top 5 pick of some of the most surprising and interesting.

close-up-of-an-insurance-policy
Source: Creative Commons Photo Credit

1) Rowan Atkinson’s car insurance claim

When you think of Rowan Atkinson’s car, you might picture Mr. Bean hunched over in his little green mini. But we’re talking about something a little more pricey.

When Mr. Atkinson slid on a patch of ice in 2013 he was driving his F1 McLaren worth an estimated £3.5 million. The result was the biggest car insurance claim ever made – £910,000! A snip really, when you consider the car is carbon fibre with an engine made partly of gold.

rowan-atkinson-as-mr-bean-riding-on-top-of-a-mini
Source: Flickr

2) Free test drive anyone?

In 2007, a car shopper in Aberdeen was glad of his insurance policy when he decided to take an Italian supercar on a test drive. Whilst trying out the Pagani Zonda S, he crashed and had to file a claim for a whopping £300,000. Only 10 of the cars are made each year and it had to be sent back to its maker in Italy to be rebuilt.

red-pagani-zonda-s
Source: Flickr

3) The huge price of fine art

Moving on from cars to art, one of the biggest claims ever made was to cover the loss of several JMW Turner paintings. The works of art created in the 17th and 18th centuries were stolen in Frankfurt in 1994 while on loan from the Tate Gallery in London.

Luckily the treasured pieces were insured, which was quite unusual at that time, and a whopping £24 million was claimed.

viewing-paintings-in-the-tate-gallery
Source: Flickr

4) A costly slip up

The ice strikes again. In Virginia in 2012, a man fell on an icy driveway with serious consequences. The unlucky victim broke several bones and developed complications further down the line. The result? A claim for $7.75 million.

The insurance pay out was so high because the victim’s landlord hadn’t cleared the drive, or treated the icy areas with salt or sand - a legal requirement in the US.

a-bicycle-abandoned-on-sheet-ice
Source: Flickr

5) Much loved cat

You might not expect to see pet insurance amongst the biggest insurance payouts of all time, but one poorly moggy broke all the records in 2010.

The well-loved cat had to go through a kidney operation that resulted in a payout of $22,000 - the single biggest pet insurance claim ever filed. What makes this story more surprising is the fact that the puss was a very ordinary mixed breed with no unique characteristics – except the love of his owners.

ginger-cat-sitting-on-the-lawn
Source: Flickr

If these costly claims have made you hungry for more bite-sized insurance madness, read our list of the 10 strangest things to be insured. We’re talking body parts and cigars, not cars and pets. We’re talking body parts and cigars, not cars and pets. Or for the pure fun of it, 10 of the funniest pet fails ever.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50 life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, pet insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.