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Insurance Against Stupidity

Dec 14, 2007
A driver in Oregan, USA lost control of his truck and careered into a mailbox, bringing down 7500 volt power lines across the truck. The driver safely emerged from the truck but then proceeded to take out some shears to cut the cables from his truck with obvious fatal consequences.

Two university students in Taiwan had a show down to win the exclusive right to try for the affections of a fellow female student. They decided to drive their scooters at each other at 50 mph. The one who didn't turn away would win. Stupid indeed but in theory should have worked. However, both were so desperate to win that neither turned away resulting in a head on collision killing both boys.

A Brazilian farmer wanted to remove a beehive from his tree but was unsure how to go about it. Instead of seeking advice, he used his limited knowledge, which consisted of knowing that the hive needed burning and that bees sting, and set about doing it himself. He protected his head with a plastic bag and set off with a torch to burn the hive. He was found dead several hours later after forgetting to add air holes to the bag.

All the above examples are true but innately stupid. However, according to a UK life insurance policy adviser, providing there was no non-disclosure clause or participation in a criminal act, claims would have been paid out.

Most people would agree these days that using a mobile phone whilst in control of a vehicle is also inherently stupid. With its huge risks to concentration and the amount of cases that have come to light of people losing their lives whilst partaking in this activity, it's not surprising that it has now been made illegal.

Inattentive driving, covering the use of mobile phones, was responsible for 6.4% of crash fatalities in the US in 2003.

In October 2004, a family in Virginia successfully sued a driver who killed their daughter whilst driving and using a mobile phone for business, to the tune of $2 million.

December 2004 saw a US civil case involving a car crashed by a driver who was on his cell phone. The driver was taking a business call and his employer paid out $5 million to the plaintiff who received severe injuries.

Companies quickly caught on to this danger and make it their policy to advise all drivers not to make or receive cell phone calls whilst driving. As long as this can be proved, then they are covered if the driver chooses to take a risk and an accident occurs.

Before these new laws were brought in, life insurance would have been paid out for accidents involving a death even when a mobile phone was being used. But this is no longer the case.

It is now illegal in as many as 40 countries to use a mobile phone whilst in control of a vehicle. In the UK, it is also illegal to supervise a learner driver whilst using a hand held mobile phone.

If UK drivers are involved in a collision whilst using a mobile they can also lose insurance coverage making it very difficult to drive legally in future. However, the most important aspect is to ensure the safety of the general public and to prevent the insurance companies from going bust.
About the Author
Financial expert Shaun Parker looks into the clauses in life insurance that will prevent payout. To find out more please visit http://www.theidol.com/
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