Apocalypse pow! ‘Insurance’ protects you in case of zombie attack
If the zombies come knocking, are you covered? Several companies offer insurance to give consumers peace of mind, just in case.
One of these companies, My Zombie Insurance, sells a policy that provides lifelong coverage against the walking dead. For $9.99, consumers can sign up for coverage that provides aid – in the event of a zombie attack – for rebuilding a home, repairing a car, or replacing any personal belongings not covered by standard insurance policies, such as an iPod, a comic book collection or a stack of “Star Wars” DVD’s, according to the company website. One exclusion: medical expenses stemming from an injury.
The plan – which consists of an umbrella policy for added auto, home and life coverage – is a joke, of course. On its website, My Zombie Insurance notes it is selling lighthearted entertainment and not providing real insurance.
The zombie insurance trend
Zombie insurance may be fake, but its popularity is real. “This past year, we’ve seen a huge increase in interest and policy sales,” says June Cooper, head of customer service at My Zombie Insurance. For less than $10, the company will mail customers an insurance card, a proof-of-insurance certificate and a “Protected By” window decal. My Zombie Insurance maintains a Facebook page where fans can post pictures of themselves with their policies.
My Zombie Insurance was founded in 2008. Recently, however, other zombie insurance companies have sprung up, including Zombie Apocalypse Insurance Co. and Eighth Day International.
For $14.95 a year plus $3 for an insurance card, customers of Zombie Apocalypse Insurance, receive coverage that includes weapon replacement, ammunition restocking, medical treatment and family relocation. Policyholders even receive a zombie incineration service, should they be fortunate enough to kill the attacking zombies and simply need to get rid of them.
Eighth Day International offers a survival assurance plan for those who make it through a zombie outbreak and need a safe place to stay. For $12, the company offers customers a certificate of assurance, two decals and a membership card, along with four pages of terms and agreements.
The zombie craze
Zombies fit into a niche of pop culture that’s exploding, says Penelope Luedtke, founder and president of Zombie Apocalypse Insurance. Fans can find everything from graphic novels to zombie literature, zombie events, zombie-themed parties and zombie merchandise (zombie bed sheets, anyone?).
And while you’ll find zombie mania across the country, these creatures are far from a recent trend, says Richard Lee Byers, author of more than 30 fantasy and horror novels. “The traditional zombie is a creature of Haitian folklore that occasionally made its way into films like Bela Lugosi’s 1932 film ‘White Zombie,’” he says.
The zombie image that comes to our minds today, however, stems from the modern walking corpse first shown in George Romero’s 1968 film “Night of the Living Dead.” This creature, reanimated by forces beyond human understanding or control, has an insatiable appetite for the flesh of the living, and its condition is horribly contagious. This film ignited a zombie craze that still is going strong, Byers says.
“At this point,” Byers says, “we have multiple generations of zombie fans.”
Indeed, Zombie Apocalypse Insurance’s Facebook page, which has more than 2,000 members, includes fans ranging from 13 to over 55, with 59 percent male and 41 percent female. The single largest age group, however, is 18 to 24 years old, according to Luedtke.
Insurance for unusual events
Zombie insurance companies are meant only as entertainment. These companies explain in their terms and conditions they aren’t real insurance companies and aren’t certified or licensed to sell insurance. Other companies, however, do sell actual policies for obscure events such as alien abduction (zombies not included). Here are three ways to evaluate extra coverage for unusual situations:
1. Check for licensing. If you’re unsure whether a company is licensed to underwrite or sell actual insurance, head to your state’s insurance department website, says Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America. Some insurance departments list licensed companies on their websites; if your state doesn’t, contact the department by phone.
2. Prioritize your coverage. Insurance exists for an immense range of needs, from weddings to pet care to body parts. Before signing up for an extra policy, think carefully about what insurance you really need, Hunter says. Topping the list should be health insurance; after that, depending on your circumstances, focus on home, auto, life and disability coverage. For the rest, weigh factors such as the premiums you’ll need to pay for the coverage.
3. Follow the “two C” guideline. When buying insurance, look for protection against catastrophic events that will hurt you economically, and for comprehensive policies that cover an array of circumstances, Hunter says. For instance, you may opt for a solid health insurance policy that provides ample coverage rather than a narrow health insurance policy that covers only certain conditions, such as cancer.