The 15 Biggest Insurance Payouts Ever Made

Mar | 52 sharesEmma Guinness

Insurance is an important part of life. While it can be annoying to see payments taken out of your bank account for seemingly no reason each month, whenever you have to make a claim, you're glad that you decided to resist the temptation not to get protection.

While most insurance claims are fairly minor, when a major disaster is involved, whether it's in your personal life or part of a wider tragedy that's affected millions, the amount of money involved can be colossal. In fact, it can even amount to billions of dollars.

Check out the video below to discover 10 of the biggest insurance claims ever made:

To put the importance of having insurance into context, we've compiled a list of 15 of the biggest claims ever made. Even though many of them will come as no surprise to you, there are more than a few claims on this list which will truly come as a surprise!

15. Most-Expensive Pet

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It's expensive enough for us humans to pay for health insurance, but if we have pets, we have the added responsibility of making sure that there's help available in their time of need. For one kitty, this involved an insurance payout of $22,000 for feline renal surgery in 2010.

14. Rowan Atkinson

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British actor Rowan Atkinson managed to file the biggest insurance claim for a car in history after he crashed his $889,203 McLaren F1 in 2011. At the time of the accident, the car was worth $4.8 million, and the company in question had to shell out $1.25 million for repairs.

13. Bugatti Veyron

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This claim would top Atkinson's if it hadn't been made by the makers of the Bugatti Veyron. Worth over $800,000, engineers crashed two of these seriously impressive cars while testing a prototype, resulting in a whopping payout - although the exact figure is not known.

12. Ice Slip

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Most of us can attest to slipping on ice at least once in our lives, but for one woman in Virginia, this resulted in compensation of $7.5 million in 2012. She broke her legs as a result of the fall, which led to amputation, and the landlord of the building which she had slipped outside was held responsible because he hadn't cleared away the ice. If that's not motivation to invest in some salt, I don't know what is!

11. Car Accident

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Another example of a tragedy which led to a huge payout was that of Agnes Collier. The 17-year-old was paralyzed in a car accident. She was given $11.5 million in compensation and money to cover her medical expenses, which is estimated to come to $37 million in her lifetime.

10. SARS

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Originating in China in 2003, the SARS outbreak spread to 37 countries in just weeks. It is the biggest epidemic payout in history, and $1 billion was paid out for business interruptions and travel cancellations.

9. Indian Ocean

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One of the biggest natural disasters in recent history was the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The damage it caused resulted in $1 billion worth of payouts.

8. Volcano

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When Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, the European Union was hit with a shocking $3.5 billion insurance bill. The dust particles it scattered into the air meant that countless flights were canceled and this had a knock-on effect on airlines outside the EU too. Because planes were unable to fly, it even led to a drop in the price of gasoline!

7. US / Canada Outage

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We've all experienced a power cut before, but none can compare to the 2003 US / Canada outage which left 10 million Canadians and 45 million Americans without power. The disruption this caused resulted in $6 billion in damages.

6. China's 2008 Earthquake

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China's 2008 earthquake not only claimed the lives of more than 68,000 people, it also caused damages amounting to $20 billion.

5. Japan's Tsunami

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The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami has currently cost $40 billion, however, it is believed that the total cost could be around $100 billion.

4. 9/11

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Most of us have a very clear memory of what we were doing when news of 9/11 hit. The damages it caused, which, at this stage, don't need reiterating, amounted to a shocking $40 billion in insurance payouts.

3. Lehman Brothers

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The collapse of Lehman Brothers led to claims for not only the bank itself but collateral-damage claims from other companies related to the bank. While the exact payout figure isn't known, it is believed to be in the region of $100 billion.

2. 2005 Hurricane

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The hurricanes which hit the United States in 2005 - namely Katrina, Rita and Wilma - caused an almost insurmountable amount of damage. From the point of view of insurance companies, it was the most expensive natural disaster in history, costing around $130 billion.

1. 2008 Financial Crisis

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The biggest insurance payout ever and the number one spot on this list belongs to the 2008 financial crisis. The effects of it are still being felt to this day, and it is believed to have cost American insurance companies in excess of $1.2 trillion.

Life is inherently unpredictable. While it's good to live in the hope that we won't be unfortunate enough to find ourselves at the center of a major disaster, regardless of its cause, it's important to be insured so that we can rebuild our lives afterward.