The insurance needs of reality TV’s Honey Boo Boo
If you can’t seem to peel your eyes away from the reality TV show centered on Honey Boo Boo, you’re not alone.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, 7-year-old Alana Thompson – otherwise known as Honey Boo Boo Child – is one of the hottest reality stars around. An average of 3 million viewers tune in weekly to track the adventures of the tiara-toting tot, chronicled in the first season of TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
And while it’s fun to watch the antics of Honey and the rest of the Thompson gang, viewers may wonder whether Honey, mom June and dad Sugar Bear have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage needed to protect them.
Here’s a look at the insurance coverage the Thompsons might need, as well as what might not be covered.
Trophies and tiaras
They seem to mean the world to Honey and her family, but the bling won by toddlers in pursuit titles – namely trophies and tiaras – typically isn’t worth more than $100 or so. These trinkets usually are covered in the event of disasters like fire, explosion or theft under a typical homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
“Jewelry theft limits are a part of many homeowner’s policies. A $1,500 limit per item is customary,” says Marlene Gerboth, State Farm agent in California.
If it’s a piece valued at more than $2,500, a separate “personal articles” policy – which insures just one item – is the way to go, Gerboth says. This extra coverage would cost the policyholder $50 more a year.
Pricing for this added coverage is based on location, the amount of coverage and the size of the deductible. A $10,000 policy with a $100 deductible would cost about $126 a year, according to Gerboth.
“A jeweler’s appraisal would likely be needed to determine the value of each item listed on the separate policy,” says Patricia Low, president and CEO of Jewelers Unblocked, a type of coverage available through Chubb.
Pageant gowns and costumes
Flouncy, glittering gowns and themed costumes for kids can run anywhere from $100 to $500 or more (depending on just how glitzy the gown or costume is).
But as long as the gowns and costumes aren’t adorned with precious stones, gems or metals, Low says, they’re covered under a standard homeowner’s or renter’s policy if they’re damaged or destroyed in a fire or another covered catastrophe.
If the value of one gown or costume exceeds the policy’s limitations (as laid out in each policy), the garments can be put on a separate policy, just like the tiaras.
It’s not clear whether the Thompsons carry home insurance. But their home appears rundown, which could jeopardize their ability to buy coverage.
“Most insurance carriers have a minimum standard for the condition of the home in order for that home to be eligible for coverage,” Gerboth says. “Often that is ‘average’ or ‘above average’ condition. If the home is falling apart or is in disrepair and does not meet the eligibility requirements, then the carrier can deny providing insurance.”
If a home isn’t properly maintained, problems such as burst pipes and roof leaks are more likely, Gerboth says. So a poorly maintained home boosts the odds that an insurer will have to pay a claim.
If an insured home falls below the insurance company’s minimum standards for being well-maintained as defined by the insurance company (generally, no peeling paint, missing shingles or broken windows), the owner may not have his policy renewed, Gerboth says. “The insurance company may also work with the insured and explore ways to bring the condition of the home back up to acceptable standards,” she says.
Generally, it’s recommended that that every child have a life insurance policy because it’s cheaper at that stage, Low says. Policy prices vary based on the amount of coverage, as well as location, gender and age, but a $25,000 policy typically costs less than $250 a year.
Parents of child stars might want to insure their little moneymakers for higher amounts of life insurance, based upon the income they generate. Normally, a physical exam would be required before securing coverage higher than $50,000 to $100,000, Low says.
In a recent episode, Honey says she thinks her family is fat. But her papa, Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, disagrees. The family is merely “pleasingly plump,” Sugar Bear replies.
Heidi Rasmussen, owner of Freshbenies, a health benefits company in Texas, says considering the weight and diet of the Thompson family, they might end up facing more health insurance claims than the average American.
Honey Boo Boo’s “juice” is a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull, and she eats a lot of junk food, such as cheese puffs and pork rinds – two habits that contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes.
Obesity and lack of physical activity are two big health risk factors. “Obese women rack up an extra $3,613 a year in medical spending,” Rasmussen says.
Rasmussen suggests the Thompsons set up a tax-free medical account like a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to “sock away some of Honey Boo Boo’s winnings to pay for allowable health expenses,” Rasmussen says.