The business of insuring cars for accident damage, loss, theft, and medical injuries caused by a vehicle involved in an accident has been around for decades. In most cases the figures for claims, the request to pay for covered losses, has been within expectations, and auto insurance companies build their rates charged to customers accordingly, eventually charging enough from a pool to cover potential new claims, the cost of running the company and making a profit. However, once in a great while a claim comes in that really just exceeds any normal expectations and, regardless of argument, the insurance provider is going to end up paying the bill. These big insurance claims often come from extremely expensive coverage plans covering unique assets or a lawsuit for damages and a great loss the insurance company was involved with. Here are 13 of the biggest claims seen in modern times associated with a covered vehicle, which are well beyond the typical fender-bender.
13. Parts Are Big Business
One of the problems with expensive cars is that their parts are super darn expensive. That of course contributes largely to what makes a given vehicle a luxury car, but it also contributes heavily to the repair costs in claim too. And one-off part purchases are far more than factory pricing. One Ferrari owner found this out when he wrecked his Ferrari Enzo, racking up a repair bill claim of over $170,000 British Sterling Pounds.
12. With Family Like This, Who Needs Enemies?
How much does it take before a family considers disowning a relative? How about a bill over $300,000? That was the case with a father whose son immediately went and inserted the man’s Lamborghini into a head-on accident taking the car out for a spin. Fortunately, the son was innocent (probably a good thing for him personally in Italy), and the other driver was responsible.
11. Funny Actors Make Bad Drivers.
The McLaren is a racing luxury car that burps out money from the exhaust when its run, the thing is that expensive. Most buyers easily spend over $1 million just to obtain one. So when Rowan Atkinson, the comedy actor famous for the Black Adder and Mr. Bean, decides to play chicken with a traffic pole and his car, the car world cringed like a kick in the shorts. The related insurance claim exceeded $1.5 million.
10. Don’t Get a Truck Driver Angry.
Pickup truck drivers can be forgiven for being a bit irritated when a small car tries to tell them to move. They are passed up every day by everyone in a hurry. But trying to get into a pushing match when you’re behind the wheel of a Mercedes Benz SL 300 Gullwing versus a construction grade truck is dumb. The estimated claim hit was somewhere between $1 million and $4 million. And looking at the photo, it’s probably every pickup driver’s dream to be the one to squash one of these cars too.
9. They Have Computers for Testing…
A Bugatti Veyron is so expensive, many would agree it should only be used as a museum piece and not a car outright. Unfortunately, a pair of engineers in the company felt that two prototypes needed extra “hands-on” testing, promptly driving the two cars into test track walls doing so. The total insurance claim submitted by the company was approximately $1.6 million.
8. It Swims? Really?
The insurance world is not immune to fraud, and when big claims can offer extreme payouts, criminals pay attention. That was the case when one Andy Lee House decided to purchase a $2.2 million insurance plan on his $1 million Bugatti Veyron. Clearly, someone in the insurance office should have noticed early on, but they definitely noticed his claim after the car ended up in a lake. Mr. House would have doubled his money too had someone not caught his little scam on film and exposed him.
7. Car Clubs Promote Bad Behavior.
A Japanese car club thought it would be a good idea for all of its members to go out and drive hard on a wet day with wet roads. Clearly, no one was thinking about the logic of that idea because 14 of the club members ended up in a combined car crash costing over $3.85 million to various insurance companies.
6. Caldecott Tunnel Crash
6. In 1982 a drunk driver triggered a multi-car accident inside the Caldecott Tunnel just north of Berkeley California. Leaking gasoline caught on fire and triggered a fireball that engulfed 20 vehicles, killed 7 people and cost millions in damage. Resulting lawsuits and damages ended up trigger expenses of at least $4 million in environmental cleanup and repair as well as $3 million in negligence claims against everyone from the drunk driver’s insurance company to the AC Transit agency operating the tunnel.
5. It May be a Luxury Car, But It Hurts
One of things about people on big estates is that they drive around the place like they own it (because they do). So when neighbors of large estates share the same road, bad things can happen. That occurred for one pedestrian clobbered by her neighbor when she decided to pass to the other side at a zebra crossing. Since she wasn’t a zebra, obviously, her neighbor ran the woman over. Her injuries caused a $4.5 million payout.
4. You Really Got Your Wife Angry at You.
If you’re going to pull off an insurance claim, it may be a good idea to tell no one, not even your wife. One Lord Brocket tried to pull off a multi-car insurance claim for theft (1 Maserati and 3 Ferraris), stating someone broke into his garage and took the cars. However, his wife wasn’t in on the plan and turned Lord Brocket into the police.
3. Politics and Driving Don’t Mix.
Late one winter evening in 2001, after being denied an employment claim by a government office, a truck driver took his company’s tractor trailer and drove it right into the California state capitol building. The crash killed the driver, whose trainer three months earlier told the company he was nuts, and caused significant damage to the building. The state ended up suing the company’s insurer for well over $18 million. The truck driving company went bankrupt and taxpayers ended up paying for a lot of the repair.
2. It’s a Race Car, Lets Race It!
The Ferrari GTO is so rare and expensive, it commands multi millions of dollars when sold. One such vehicle was transferred after the seller was paid $28.5 million for the car. The new buyer, so elated with his car, went and entered it into a vintage car race. No surprise, the car was wrecked and an insurance company got hit with a massive, undisclosed repair bill.
1. Good for Her
Agnes Collier is the recipient of a lump sum award and lifetime support from a car accident, totaling approximately $37 million. She and her mother were both hit by a driver which severely paralyzed Collier as a girl and killed her mother. Since the event, Collier has been slowly but steadily recovering, gaining use of her arms again. She is now going to university but still needs permanent ongoing assistance and help to function.