As a full-service insurance agency for Munster, Hammond, and the surrounding areas, Gutierrez Family Agency knows a thing or two about strange and unlikely insurance claims. Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction—and other times, the “truth” is strangely fictional.

In this post, we’ve scoured the insurance world for the strangest insurance claims on earth. Claims like these show how important it is to protect your family, your home, and your future.

Burned by Insurance Fraud

A North Carolina lawyer bought a box of expensive cigars, and had them insured against storm damage, flooding, and—you guessed it—fire. The lawyer filed a claim with his insurance company after “the cigars were lost in a series of small fires,” and the insurance company rightly refused to pay—that is, until a judge ruled in the lawyer’s favor, stating that the insurance company never made a designation for what would be an “unacceptable” fire.

The end result? The insurance company paid the lawyer a whopping $15,000 for his “fire damage”—and immediately had the lawyer arrested. He spent two years in jail and paid a $24,000 fine for insurance fraud and—you guessed it—arson.

Death by Coconut

A british travel agency, Club Direct, earned some scrutiny and laughs after it began issuing policies to cover injuries from falling coconuts—citing a statistic that 150 people are killed every year by falling coconuts, which is more than ten times the number of people killed by shark attacks. Club Direct Managing Director Brent Escott was the inventor of the “coconut claim”—and many people accused him of falling victim to a falling coconut himself.

Did this strange and hilarious claim ever pay off? A Club Direct customer who travelled to Sri Lanka for a lavish beach vacation found out the answer the hard way, after a potentially deadly coconut struck her in the head while she was reading under a palm tree. Lucky for her, she was only hospitalized. As for the insurance claim… she was paid in full.

Cat Burglar, Dog Food

While attempting a home robbery, a not-so-bright burglar somehow locked himself in the home’s garage with no means of escape—and the homeowners had just started a week-long vacation. In order to survive, the burglar had to consume the only things available to him: luke-warm soda… and dog food. Once the homeowners returned, the burglar sued them for “undue mental anguish”—and he won the lawsuit. His total earnings were over a half million dollars—which could buy a lot of dog food.

Bad, Bad Dog

In a shocking act from an otherwise good boy, a neighborhood golden retriever dipped his fuzzy tail into a can of paint while his owners were painting their living room—and, with incredible craftsmanship and artistic integrity, wagged his tail and flung paint all across the home. The insurance company paid the claim—and the dog got a scolding and a much-needed bath.

A Marriage Up in Flames

On her wedding day, all eyes are on the bride—especially when she’s on fire. Everything was going well for Paula Catelli at her wedding on the Italian seaside, until her stunning, hand-made wedding dress came in contact with the BBQ grill and erupted into flames. The hero of the story? The groom, of course. Once his bride caught fire, he picked her up and tossed her into the sea, extinguishing the fire and earning applause from the wedding guests.

The insurance company paid out 50 percent of the compensation for the couple’s first marital mishap. As for the bride, she got exactly what all brides wish for in a wedding: a day she’ll never forget.

The Importance of Flood Insurance

Dishwashers are one of the most fickle and temperamental home appliances—especially for an unlucky couple whose dishwasher got permanently stuck in high heat mode. After several hours of high-powered dishwashing, the couple’s kitchen became engulfed in piping hot steam, causing a great deal of damage to the kitchen floors, walls, and cabinets.

While the couple’s home insurance did not accept the claim, the couple had flood insurance, which paid out the claim in full. A quick science lesson: water is water, whether it’s in the form of ice or hot steam—which means floods can come in many forms.

Pan-Fried Disaster

While cooking dinner, a New York man claimed (keyword: claimed) that two of his frying pans caught fire while cooking food on his wood stove. In an attempt to put out the fire, he allegedly threw one pan out of his front door, which miraculously landed in the backseat of his convertible. While trying to take care of the second pan, he reportedly tripped and dropped the pan right on his highly flammable sofa. Both the car and the home burned to the ground. How convenient.

The police immediately suspected insurance fraud—and after grilling the man with questions, he was arrested, charged, and convicted of insurance fraud. Five years of probation sounds tough, but it’s even tougher when you don’t have a home or a car.

The Flying Christmas Tree

After a long day of Christmas shopping, a man was driving home when he noticed a car in the opposite lane toting a poorly tied Christmas tree on the roof. The two cars met at a bend in the road, and, in a moment of yuletide mayhem, the tree launched from the car’s roof, landing right on the man’s windshield and sending his car careening off the road and into a bush.

The man’s insurance company paid for all damages, although the owner of the tree did not stop driving after the accident. While the man was victim to a Christmas catastrophe on his shopping journey, he did acquire one last Christmas gift for his home: a free Christmas tree.