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Action Insurance Gag

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"It never fails. I just washed and waxed this thing."

"The insurance company is never going to believe this!"
Valentin Zukovsky, after his caviar factory collapses, The World Is Not Enough

Action-oriented films, books, video games etc. tend to feature a great deal of very destructive behaviour: Stuff Blowing Up, car chases (and crashes), vandalism of private property. Some films will lampshade this by having a character ask another character if they have insurance immediately before destroying something of theirs (or say something similar immediately after having done so). Another way of looking at it is that it's a means of lampshading Hero Insurance.

Variants can include the owner having just paid off the mortgage on the property in question (which would make this a sort of material goods equivalent of Retirony).

Compare Pre-Mortem One-Liner, Bond One-Liner. For added irony, one can combine this trope with Impossible Insurance or Insurance Fraud.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • FLCL episode 3 "Marquis de Carabas". The robot Canti falls off the roof of the school building and smashes into the car belonging to Naota's teacher, wrecking it. One of the other students leaning out a window says that the teacher was still paying off the car's loan.
  • Both the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series and the manga by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto feature Misato getting angry (thinking about it in the series, a panicky rant in the manga) about her car being thrashed via N2 Mine going off close to it and having payments left.
  • During the climactic battle in episode 17 of Gintama, Kondo breaks his sword and dramatically frets over the fact that he hasn't finished paying it off yet.
  • Girls und Panzer: Spoofed when it's revealed that any property damaged by the schools' tank battles is automatically covered by insurance. One spectator is delighted when his shop is ruined by the tanks; he'd been wanting to renovate the place, and now he has both an excuse and the money to do so!

    Comic Books 
  • Calvin and Hobbes. Several Spaceman Spiff strips have Spiff complaining that he just paid off / washed and waxed his spaceship as it goes down in flames, or regretting not taking a better insurance policy.
  • Asterix. The pirates frequently run into the Gauls on their brand-new ships which they just paid for or had to leave some of their crew as hostages/sell into slavery for.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Frozen, when Kristoff's sled catches fire, he complains that he just paid it off.
  • In Sing 2, Ms. Crawly rents an expensive car to go to Clay Calloway's house. Between her reckless driving and Calloway's hostility, the car is completely trashed. As she hands the keys over to the attendant, she says he'll be happy to know that she did purchase the insurance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Rock, Mason yells "I hope you're insured!" out the window of a car he has stolen just after having crashed into another car.
  • RoboCop does a similar gag in RoboCop 3, when he's about to shoot his way through a hotel McDagget and the Rehabs are staying at.
  • In Speed, the protagonist Jack Traven needs to get onto a bus travelling at a high speed. Having commandeered a car, he decides to jump from the car to the bus, but the door is in the way. Jack asks the owner if his car is insured, to which he answers in the affirmative, whereupon Jack reverses the car with the door open straight into the bus, breaking the door off. The owner is suitably upset.
  • James Bond:
    • In Tomorrow Never Dies. Given that there's a Running Gag of Bond destroying the equipment he gives him, Q insists that Bond sign an insurance damage waiver before handing over his latest Bond car. Which is just as well as this car suffers the same fate as the others.
      Q: If you'd just sign here, Mr. Bond? (Bond turns to see Q disguised as an Avis car rental agent) It's the insurance damage waiver for your beautiful new car! Will you need collision coverage?
      James Bond: Yes.
      Q: [stares at Bond] Fire?
      James Bond: Probably.
      Q: Property destruction?
      James Bond: Definitely.
      Q: Personal Injury?
      James Bond: I hope not, but accidents do happen.
      Q: They frequently do with you.
      James Bond: [signs the form] Well, that takes care of the "normal" wear and tear. Is there any other protection I need?
      Q: Only from me, 007, unless you bring that car back in pristine order.
    • The World Is Not Enough
      • After the ski chase and parachute gun battle, Dr. Arkov complains to Renard about losing four parahawks during the fight. They were rented and the rental company is going to be pissed.
      • Bond goes to Valentin Zukovsky's caviar factory to interrogate him about his connection to the Big Bad, only to be ambushed by some Mooks piloting a helicopter with a saw-blade attachment; Bond and Zukovsky manage to fight them off, but the factory is almost completely destroyed in the fight. As the scene ends, Zukovsky can be heard lamenting that "The insurance company is never going to believe this!"
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine, when Victor hears Logan coming after him for killing Kayla, he asks the bartender if he has insurance. When the bartender says he doesn't, Victor says, "Too bad."
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side has the father on the phone arguing with his insurance company about how his house (in the first movie) vanished (into another dimension) without a trace.
  • Twister: After Jo's truck is destroyed, she asks her ex Bill (who's come to have her sign divorce papers so he can marry his new girlfriend) if his truck is insured. He tells her "Liability only", then says there's no way she's using it. One Gilligan Cut later...
  • In Lethal Weapon 4, Riggs and Murtaugh get promoted to captain because the LAPD can't afford to insure them as sergeants. They get busted back down the moment the department finds a way to pay the premiums again.

  • Not insurance, but just after narrowly escaping the explosive destruction of the building where his office is in Changes, Harry Dresden ruefully remarks that he'd just sent in his check for the next month's rent on the place.
  • One mission in Animorphs has a particularly rowdy fight — involving Human-Controllers with guns, Hork-Bajir, a portable Yeerk Pool, and Marco in gorilla morph — at a typical suburban home. At some point, Marco pauses.
    I hoped Russ had homeowner's insurance.
  • The Dogs of War. The mercenaries planning a coup in a small African republic are told to take out insurance for a short sea voyage from Europe to Africa. Any survivors would swear that the covered party fell overboard, or lost a limb due to shifting cargo during a storm.
  • In The Specialist by Gayle Rivers, the mercenary protagonist is recruited for a mission into Beirut. He doesn't take out insurance but mentions there's nothing to stop him from doing so, as no insurance company would be told he was thrown off the roof of a Druze command post with a knife between his shoulder blades. The most violent death that would happen to him officially would be a car accident.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A non-comedic version in one episode of NCIS when Tony gets a car totaled by the Arc Villain. The next episode he's on the phone with his insurance agent, who informs him that, since this is the third car it's happened to, the company is considering dropping him as a client.
  • In the Person of Interest episode "Allegiance", Reese bullrushes a mook straight through a floor-length plate-glass window, whereupon they fall four stories onto a parked car, leaving Shaw and Fusco staring, speechless, out the window at them. After Reese gets up off the poor schmuck, a dumbfounded Detective Fusco comments:
    Fusco: I hope that guy had health insurance.
  • In an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati Herb starts selling insurance on the side. He sells a big policy to Les, who shortly afterward gets in a big accident where his scooter runs into a house, severely injuring the two people inside. (quote paraphrased)
    Mr. Carlson: Are you OK?
    Les: I'll survive.
    Andy: Are the people you hit OK?
    Les: They're in the hospital.
    Herb: Did you mail the insurance premium check?
    Les: First thing this morning.
    Herb: WHYYY?!
  • The MythBusters often joke about this right before wrecking/blowing something up. One "coming up next" blurb featured a car hanging from a crane, and Kari with the quick-release cable saying "Find out why we can't get car insurance!" (Though on a more serious note, the show does carry some pretty hefty insurance for when a test goes wrong, and they've had to pay out a few times.)
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Knock Knock", a group of students rent a house without realising it's infested with strange, woodlouse-like aliens which the Doctor refers to as "Dryads". They escape from the house at the end as the Dryads begin devouring the house and everything in it, with one of them lamenting "Bang goes the deposit!" as she watches the house collapse.
    • In "The Pyramid at the End of the World", the Doctor firebombs a genetics laboratory in order to kill a mutant bacteria in its quarantine zone. He quips that the lab's insurance premiums are about to go sky-high, along with everything else.
    • In "Eve of the Daleks", the Doctor proposes a plan to blow up a storage unit in order to destroy some Daleks that are inside it. The unit's owner, Sarah, immediately expresses concern about what her insurers would think if they knew about the plan.
  • In Power Rangers Samurai, We get an "I hope that building was insured" quip when one gets demolished during a Combining Mecha vs. Kaiju battle.

    Video Games 
  • In Alpha Protocol, if Steven Heck is your handler for the last mission then you'll get this exchange when your evac chopper is blown up:
    Heck: Hey, Mike. Good news, bad news.
    Mike: What's the bad news?
    Heck: That chopper was our ride out of here.
    Mike: Great. What's the good news?
    Heck: I paid extra for the insurance package!
  • StarCraft II:
  • At the end of the early gameplay scenes of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Bowser's Koopa Cruiser is destroyed by Fawful. Talking to one of the Koopa Troopas found afterwards causes him to lament that they hadn't finished paying it off.
  • In Grand Theft Auto Advance, one of the things the drivers of other cars may say if you crash into them is "I hope you have insurance!"
  • In The Simpsons Hit & Run, Homer may blurt out "I have no insurance!" when he hits another car.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: When the demon attack on the city destroys Dante's shop at the start of the game, he taunts the involved demons by shouting "I hope you all have enough to cover all of this!"

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • A variant: CinemaSins has a series of videos on Youtube under the heading "What's the Damage?" that keeps a running count on particular movies.

    Western Animation 
  • Variant in The Powerpuff Girls Their battles with supervillains and giant monsters routinely leave the city in shambles, and outside a few rare instances, this isn't really commented on. Then in one episode, their class has career day. One of their classmate's father is an insurance agent. He's jaded and weary and mentions how busy an insurance agent in Townsville is.
  • In Robot Chicken, the producers of a theatrical play version of The Avengers watch as a full costume rehearsal goes wrong when the giant mechanical Hulk goes haywire and the actors all get injured. The producers look on in horror for a moment.
    Producer 1: Uhh... We're insured, right?
    Producer 2: Soup to nuts!
    [both light up Molotov cocktails to add to the destruction and run]
  • In The Simpsons episode "Strong Arms of the Ma", Homer talks a roided-up Marge out of totaling Moe's Tavern, and Moe decides to set the place on fire to cover for his losses. After he starts by burning down the counter, he's reminded of a little something:
    Carl: Oh, whoa, wait a minute. Don't you have to buy insurance first?
    Moe: Oh, crap.
  • In Transformers: Animated, Optimus Prime assures a guy whose car was just crushed in a battle not to worry, that something called 'insurance' that he's heard of will take care of it.
  • From the Looney Tunes cartoon "A Tale of Two Kitties," as an airborne Catstello is being seized upon by artillery flack:
    Catstello: [to audience] Is there an insurance salesman in the house?

    Real Life 
  • In 1970, a dead sperm whale washed up on the beach near the town of Florence, Oregon. The brilliant means of disposing of the carcass eventually decided upon was to blow it up with dynamite, which resulted in someone's new car being destroyed by a 500 pound chunk of rotten whale blubber. He was quoted by the local newspaper as saying he was never going to get his insurance agent to believe it. (For the record, he was able to do so rather easily, though the insurance agent did say that it was a new one.)


Video Example(s):


Valentin Zukovsky

Just after the second giant-chainsaw helicopter thing is destroyed:

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Example of:

Main / ActionInsuranceGag

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