Superman: There's always that kryptonite you carry around.
- he has been betrayed before.
- he doesn't trust anyone at all.
- he simply thinks you are too dangerous, might someday give in to the temptation to abuse your powers
- you are an enemy turned ally, an enemy pretending to ally with him, an enemy who's forced to work with him, or at least cooperating with him for the time being.
- most benevolently, Mind Control is real in this world, and you don't have any immunity to it.
Whatever his motives, he's sitting on Hidden Supplies of the necessary items or substances to put you down in an instant if the need arises.
Regardless of why the Betrayal Insurance policy was originally created, it is rare for it to be used.
How you feel when you find out your friend has a policy out on you will vary. Mostly depending on where the show you're in falls on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
This also occurs when the betrayal has already happened and one of the betrayed reveals he has something for just this situation.
Compare to Kryptonite Ring, where someone personally takes precautions in case he ever goes bad himself. Compare Morality Chain, another way to ensure the barely-good guy doesn't turn bad and betray the others; in rare cases this and that trope can overlap. See also Dead Man's Switch.
- Dragon Ball: In the first story arc, Bulma slips Oolong a little something that causes him severe digestive distress any time someone shouts "piggy piggy" (or "swee swee" in the manga). This was initially to stop him betraying the group or running off, but she also happily uses it to control him in more petty ways.
- Late in Psychic Squad, Minamoto is ordered to always carry the gun with which he kills Kaoru in the precog's visions, notably he feels pretty conflicted about it.
- In One Piece, Ivankov allows Crocodile to join in the break-out of Impel Down, because he knows a "terrible weakness" of his that he will expose if Crocodile backstabs them.
- Rebuild World:
- When Akira interferes in The Caper by criminal hunters to steal relics from the government, by killing Yajima, the other heist members find that their getaway truck was rigged by Yajima with one of these he got from the dark web. It works by detecting who killed him and only moving the car after that person is killed, leading to the other heist members hunting Akira.
- Viola claims she has a similar system to place a bounty of billions on her killer's head when Akira comes after her for revenge. He shoots her but we never see if it was true because it was a Deliberate Injury Gambit and Carol revived her, with Viola paying penance by serving Sheryls gang.
- In Runaways, Chase gives Niko a list of Logic Bomb questions that will shut their resident robot down if he ever does the FaceHeel Turn that a friendly time traveller warned them about. Given Niko's oft-stated feelings about the possibility of any of her friends betraying the group again no one should be surprised if she has spells thought up for all of her comrades.
- This specific dynamic, Batman holding Kryptonite, appears again and again, especially in the DCAU. In most continuities this is with the blessing, if not at the request, of Superman himself.
- Justice League of America: Tower of Babel: Deconstructed. It is revealed that Batman has very, very cynical methods set away in case any of the Justice League members go rogue. However, the plans are stolen and used against them by Ra's al Ghul. The enemy starts by using a sort of third-party Kryptonite Ring against Batman: stealing his parents' bodies from the cemetery. This works to distract the Bat, drives him nearly mad, and leads him to abandon the JLA while searching for the culprit. After it's all said and done, the JLA (who had no idea about the plans) are pissed with Batman for betraying their trust and vote him out of the team.
- Superman/Batman combines this and Kryptonite Ring: After a long-term mission to destroy all the kryptonite on Earth, Superman saves one piece, which he gives to Batman for emergencies. Batman takes it to a lead-lined room in the deepest area of the Batcave... which is already filled with multiple kinds of kryptonite!
- In New 52, Batman shows Superman boxes containing contingency plans for dealing with every member of the Justice League. He then shows him Wonder Woman's box which is empty. Batman couldn't think of anything that would allow him to stop Diana if she went rogue. He tells Superman that he has to be the "box" since he's one of the only people powerful enough to stop her. He also tells Clark that he is Batman's "box" too.
- A very dark Properly Paranoid version occurs in Irredeemable, where the Paradigm's resident Badass Normal, the Hornet, figured out that the Plutionian is spying on his teammates when Plutonian refers to Hornet's wife by name (which he'd never revealed). On top of that, even though the Hornet truly did consider the Plutonian to be his best friend, he also had a feeling there was a darker side to his friend and moreover, he knew that even if Plutonian really was the paragon of goodness everyone thought he was, there was no way a single person could carry the weight of the world on their shoulders without eventually breaking, and thus looked for some way to stop him in case that happened. His chance comes when Earth is invaded by an alien race called the Vespa. The Hornet offers them teleportation technology (incredibly rare in this universe) and the coordinates of peaceful and defenseless planets his team had encountered, on the condition that the Vespa won't attack Earth, and will return to fight the Plutonian if the Hornet asks them to (using a Dead Man's Switch failsafe so that if the Hornet doesn't signal them every month, they know it's time to come fight the Plutonian). The Hornet admits that he hated having to make such a deal, but the plan works, with the Plutonian captured and imprisoned by the Vespa. Temporarily at least.
- The Xavier Protocols in the X-Men comics are a detailed set of files compiled by Professor Xavier detailing the weaknesses of every member of the X-Men, as well as members of many of their spinoff groups, and plans for the quickest and most efficient ways to kill each of them. When the Protocols are revealed during the Onslaught event, it comes as quite a shock to Xavier's students, and they remain a sore spot in the X-Men's ongoing history.
- Notably, the Xavier Protocols include a file for Xavier himself as well, unlocked by brain-scan verification of the presence of Moira McTaggert, Cyclops, and Phoenix and containing schematics for a suit of anti-psionic armor which turns out to be essential for the fight against Onslaught.
- During Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men, the Professor revealed another, much more direct insurance against himself. In case his mind ever gets hijacked by another, more malicious telepath, he keeps a gun in his chair with which to blow his brains out.
- Iron Man is also guilty of this, having "-buster" armors for his fellow heroes should they go rogue, with the Thorbuster and, of course, the much more well-known Hulkbuster (the same name as the group that's organized by Thunderbolt Ross for the same purpose).
- In PS238, the American government create Argos's Kryptonite Factor (Argonite) in case he ever goes evil. Then they tell him it came from the destroyed remains of his homeworld, which is just Blatant Lies
- In The Search, Zuko has Team Avatar be this against Azula who requested to travel unbound with dignity as she was the only one who would know where to find Ursa, their mother. The reason for the insurance is because Azula's still not mentally stable let alone trustworthy.
- Thor: Ragnarok: During the escape from Sakaar, Thor puts an obedience disk on Loki in case he attempts to betray him again. True to form, Loki doesn't disappoint him.
- The Natural: Near the climax, the Judge and bookie Gus Sands are trying to fix the Knights' pennant game so the other team wins, paying off protagonist Roy Hobbs on the one hand, and also blackmailing him with compromising crime scene photos from his past (early in the film he ran afoul of a female Serial Killer who honey trapped him before shooting him and jumping out a hotel window). Roy returns the money and dares them to publish the photos, then plays to win despite the old gunshot wound having turned into a bleeding ulcer.
- The Anita Blake series has characters set such things up for themselves when they realize how close to the edge they're getting. Anita is none too happy about being Jean-Claude's, and it's implied later that it's because she has to find someone else to do this in case she ever goes bad.
- In Star Trek: Cold Equations, the leadership of the Breen Confederacy tries to pull this on the Gorn, telling them that the Gorn Hegemony is the weak link in the Typhon Pact alliance because of their previously almost-friendly relationship with the Federation (the Breen, along with the Tholians and Tzenkethi, view the Pact in part as a means of triumphing over the Federation). The Gorn agree to serve as a distraction as part of a Breen plot, by seeking a private summit with the Federation President at which they drag out proceedings pointlessly, but they have misgivings when it becomes clear the Breen see them as expendable. When confronted about it, the Breen tell the Gorn Imperator that they suspected his people would eventually seek to form a relationship with the Federation anyway, but if he ever tries to get close to the Federation again, they'll remember the fiasco that took place this time and reject them. The Breen call it "a preemptive investment in your loyalty". This backfires when the Gorn privately vow to repay the Breen for their treachery and start channelling intelligence on Breen politics to the Federation, while seeking to strengthen their ties with a fellow moderate Pact member, the Romulans.
- In The Lost Fleet, Rione mentions that a large part of why she had originally befriended Geary was to be able to kill him if he ever tried to take over the alliance.
- Dune includes a "Residual Poison". Once introduced into a person's system, they must take regular doses of an antidote or die. Notably, the antidote doesn't show up on poison scanners, so the victim may have no idea that they have been poisoned until they sicken and (painfully) die. The Baron Harkonnen uses said poison on captured Atreides Mentat Thufir Hawat.
- In Transitions Drizzt has a dwarf cleric cast harmless spells on fellow drow Tos'un, but he tells him that the cleric enchanted an arrow of Drizzt's to always hit his heart, if it is fired —thus ensuring that Tos'un won't run or betray them for fear of being killed.
- The Kingkiller Chronicle: Devi the Loan Shark collects a drop of blood from each client, enabling her to target them with Sympathetic Magic if they try to default on their debt or sell her out to the authorities.
- The Dresden Files: Harry pulls this on himself. In Changes, after breaking his back, he hires Kincaid to kill him shortly before agreeing to become the Winter Knight, then has Molly erase his memory of having done so. This is to prevent Queen Mab from using his wizard powers for evil. He doesn't find out the real story until the next book, Ghost Story.
- On Smallville, Chloe has (or had) caches of Kryptonite stashed around the world, in case Clark goes bad again. Clark didn't know about them for a while.
- Cordelia keeps around crosses and other anti-vampire equipment in case Angel loses his soul again.
- Subverted in one episode when he temporarily loses his soul, and Cordelia convinces him she's been routinely having ordinary bottled water blessed once a week while Angel was sleeping away most of the day. The splash doesn't hurt him, but distracts him long enough for Wesley to take him down.
- Hogan's Heroes: Colonel Hogan seems to factor this in to all his plans. When blackmailed by a Gestapo agent for a million dollars in diamonds, Hogan deliberately tips off Klink to part of the deal (obviously not telling him that Hogan is secretly running an escape and sabotage unit right under Klink's nose) so that if the Gestapo agent tries to kill them anyway, Klink will (unknowingly) save their lives, and if the agent sticks to the deal, the Heroes will cover for him and let him get away. Even day-to-day operations involve this - Sergeant Schultz "knows nussing" and turns a blind eye to their antics and even helps the crew out on occasion because if he were to report anything of what he's seen, he would immediately be transferred to the Russian front because he's responsible for preventing things like that from happening. Their insurance on him forces him to help keep the status quo.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer regularly depends on Spike's chip to control him in seasons four, five and six. It only limits his betrayal potential, however, it doesn't stop it completely.
- In Babylon 5, Londo slips a power-hungry adversary one half of a deadly poison, assuring him that if he doesn't cut ties with the Shadows, he will find a way to slip him the other half. This is actually an old Centauri tradition that had fallen into disuse, Londo was just faster in remembering about it and using it to make clear he could have him killed whenever he wanted-and distract him from the fact he could use other methods (as he eventually does, because by that point killing him wasn't enough).
- In 30 Rock, Liz gets in a conflict with Tracy's wife, and Jack tells her they're going to have to fight it out, and immediately launches into a specific discussion about how beat her.
Liz: Wait, you've already thought about fighting her?
Jack: Every time I meet a new person I figure out how I'm going to fight them. You have a gimpy right knee, right?
- The Professionals. In "Not A Very Civil Servant", a Corrupt Corporate Executive arranges for The Dragon to kill off an accountant who knows too much. Later the executive goes through the accountant's files and finds evidence that he had been making photocopies of every document as insurance. When The Dragon asks how he knew to look in the first place, the executive reveals that he's been taking exactly the same precautions against his smarter Dragon betraying him.
- A comedic example in Malcolm in the Middle; in the Grand Finale it's shown that Malcolm, Dewey, and Reese had a "nuclear option" for one of them to use as a form of Mutually Assured Destruction should the others make it so that they had nothing to lose. Said nuke was evidence of the worst thing they ever did; a fake x-ray tricking their mother Lois into thinking she had cancer so they could get away with bad report cards. Reese has Dewey burn it to symbolize his Passing the Torch, to which he responds that he knew that the day would come but thought Reese and Malcolm would be dead.
- To prevent the oldest brother Francis from blackmailing him about The Nuclear Option, Dewey says "Mom's friend Jenny" and Francis immediately lets him off the hook.
- Daredevil (2015): When skimming money from Wilson Fisk, Leland Owlsley does so with a little insurance policy: if anything bad befalls him, Carl Hoffman will go to the Feds with everything he knows about Fisk. This doesn't stop Fisk from killing Owlsley as revenge for trying to kill Vanessa, and while he does send corrupt cops to get rid of Hoffman, Matt gets to him first.
- Prison Break: In "Odd Man Out", Michael Scofield realizes that his escape group of seven individuals now has one too many of them to make a successful breakout, so it's decided that one of them has to leave. T-Bag, aware that he's the one everyone would most likely want to kick out, decides to "buy an insurance policy"; he phones his cousin James, tells him everything about the upcoming escape, and advices him to tell it all to the warden if T-Bag fails to make it out. Abruzzi attempts to resolve this by having his henchman capture James until the team has escaped, but unfortunately, James becomes hostile and uses his own son as a shield, leading to them both being killed.
- In Castle, one episode focuses on an old friend of Castle who is a suspect in a murder, because of how he is suspected of being involved in his fathers murder. Castle believes that hes innocent in both cases. However, at the end of the episode, while Castle is proven right that his friend was innocent in the case of the episode, he ultimately was involved in his fathers death, because the man who he hired to murder his father had kept the map of his fathers mansion that he gave him to sneak into the place and kill him, after he reveals him as the murderer.
- The Flash (2014)
- Early in Season 1, Cisco created a Freeze Ray in case the Flash ever goes rogue, which is eventually stolen by career criminal Leonard Snart, becoming the supervillain Captain Cold. This naturally becomes a sore point for both Barry/the Flash and Dr. Wells who was also secretly a speedster, the Reverse-Flash.
- The Flash's new suit in Season 4 has a "Babel Code" (a Mythology Gag to the comic book storyline), that would detonate with the Flash still wearing it. Cisco's justification is the previous season where a future version of the Flash is the Big Bad, so this time Barry doesn't hold it against Cisco.
- Armageddon reveals that the Justice League have set up contingencies called the "Injustice Protocols" in order to incapacitate its members. According to Barry, everyone was actually in on the plan, so no inherent breach of trust was involved, and also because the "insurance" for each hero actually involves a fellow Leaguer. (For example, to counter the Flash, Black Lightning will Depower him.)
- Played for Laughs in Crisis on Earth-X, when Supergirl is understandably alarmed to discover that Oliver carries Kryptonite arrows when he fires one at her Nazi counterpart Overgirl.
Kara: Why do you have a Kryptonite arrow?
Oliver: In case an evil you ever shows up!
- The Flash (2014)
- An important part of Shadowrun is to obtain this. Most Mysterious Employers in-game are Treacherous Quest Givers, and most of your allies outside the group tend to be fair-weather friends at best. Finding out who you're dealing with and making sure they'll regret double-crossing you is a common precaution.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us: In his ending, unsettled by his fight with his Evil Counterpart, Superman decides to ingest a Kryptonite piece that can be remotely detonated by a trigger which changes hands between each of the Justice League members, in case he ever goes down his counterpart's path. Appropriately enough, Batman has been denied a shift with the trigger.
- If you go for the Betrayal ending in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The 7th Stand User, Jotaro will take some out on the protagonist. Specifically, he starts coordinating in secret with Vins, the Greater-Scope Villain, to have her tail the party in case you really did end up backstabbing them. Sure enough, you do, and when you get to the final fight against Joseph and Jotaro (and potentially Kakyoin), Vins also enters the fight on their side.
- In L.A. Noire, you find that Leland Monroe has a report from Roy Earle stating that Monroe's co-conspirator Dr. Harlan Fontaine was behind a morphine-distribution ring, likely insurance in case Fontaine ever tries to betray him.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice For All, you find out at the end that Matt Engarde recorded Shelly de Killer murdering the victim for this reason, in case the latter ever tried to rat him out. This backfires horribly, because with this information Phoenix convinces de Killer to turn against Engarde, which puts Engarde in a precarious situation of his own doing: either confess to his own guilt and be convicted, or be a free man...with a world-famous assassin ready to hunt you down.
- In The Order of the Stick, Belkar kills a guardsman in Azure City, but instead of being locked up, Roy convinces Lord Shojo to let the bloodthirsty halfling accompany the rest of the Order on their quest to safeguard the Rifts because he accurately assumes no jail can hold Belkar. To keep Belkar from running for it, Shojo has a "Mark of Justice" planted on Belkar- it contains a spell that will make Belkar so sick he couldn't hurt anyone, it's designed to activate if he ever kills someone inside a town, goes too far away from Roy's body, or Roy invokes it with a command word. It goes off when Belkar kills The Oracle, who had deliberately crafted his previously isolated dwelling and invited other kobolds to live nearby... just enough to count as a small town for the purpose of the 'Mark of Justice'.
- Xykon and Redcloak made contingency plans against each other, thinking the other is too short-sighted to outsmart them but too ambitious to trust. Redcloak creates a decoy phylactery to give back to Xykon and stores the real one for disposal. Xykon brainwashed The Monster In The Dark to use their level 30 powers to eat Redcloak when he goes rogue.
- In the Whateley Universe novel "Ayla and the Mad Scientist", Phase has been pulling a Batman on this. As the holographic simulator jockeys run the team through a series of 'Dark Phoenix' scenarios, Phase has lists of methods for taking out all of his teammates. And himself. His team all know about this, and none of them are surprised. After all, this is a fifteen year old who doesn't plan to be a superhero but already has a loaded utility belt.
- It's shown why in a later simulator scenario, where all the heroes have to fight an 'evil teammate'. Their most POWERFUL teammate is actually easiest, since they planned best. It's the less powerful ones who got a boost that were hard.
- Much like the comics, animated Batman, in all different forms, practices this trope.
- In Batman Beyond, the aging Bruce Wayne seems to have been keeping a piece of Kryptonite locked away for years just in case.
- In Justice League, the android A.M.A.Z.O. manages to copy Superman's powers, after which Batman pulls out a piece of kryptonite and manages to subdue A.M.A.Z.O., at least temporarily.
Hawkgirl: Do you always keep that in your belt?
Batman: Call it insurance. (grapples away)
Hawkgirl: And they say I'm scary.
- It's even foreshadowed in the preceding episode, Batman and Superman have a falling out over the latter's supposed obsession with killing Darkseid. By the end of the episode, Superman glares somewhat menacingly at Batman, saying "you're not always right". Cue the next episode, where Batman shows up with kryptonite.
- The second season finale very loosely adapts the Tower of Babel storyline, where the League gets incapacitated by countermeasures used against them, but not by Batman, but rather Hawkgirl leaking their secrets to her fellow Thanagarians.
- Similarly, upon learning that Batman has a "contingency plan" to stop every single one of the League in Justice League: Doom, Superman tries to chastise Batman by demanding what he'd think if he found out Superman had a contingency plan to stop him. Batman's reply earns Superman's respect and friendship once more:
Batman: You're a fool if you don't.
- The Batman has an incredibly cynical version. When Batman gets a piece of kryptonite off of Metallo, not only does he keep it, he lies about giving it back (he gives Supes a fake one and keeps the real one). He does so to "get even" with Superman for finding out his identity. However, by the end of the episode, it's the idealistic version, as they have settled their differences, and when Batman offers to give Supes the real kryptonite, Superman says to keep it. It still goes to show you that Batman really doesn't like anyone being nearly as Crazy-Prepared as him.
- This is also used by the end of The Batman: Batman gives each member weapons that simulate each League member's weaknesses because aliens have invaded and copied their powers.
- Batman makes an oblique reference to having Kryptonite in reserve in Justice League: The New Frontier, when he warns J'onn J'onzz that he [Batman] knows his weakness [fire], too.
Batman: I have a seventy-thousand dollar sliver of radioactive meteor to stop the one in Metropolis. With you, all I need is a penny for a book of matches.
- In Young Justice, the League is brainwashed and forced to fight the team. Superboy grabs Superman so Robin could expose him to enough sliver of Kryptonite that weakens him until so that they can apply the cure-tech. Superboy comments that Kryptonite hurts, "Which is why Batman keeps it in an overwhelmingly impenetrable vault in the Batcave... well, more like a whelmingly penetrable vault."
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman reveals that information about his friends' respective weaknesses is stored in his computer just in case they go bad. Owlman, his Evil Counterpart from a Mirror Universe, uses the information to capture the other heroes.
- Justice League: Doom is an adaptation of the "Tower of Babel'' storyline, with Vandal Savage and members of each hero's Rogues' Gallery pulling it off. Batman mentions that each plan was supposed to be non-lethal, but Savage made adjustments in order to kill the League. Some of the plans were different from the comics:
- Superman is tricked by Metallo disguised as a suicidal man, and shot with a Kryptonite bullet.
- The Flash gets a bomb impaled through his wrist. The bomb has a three-mile blast radius, and will go off if he slows down.
- Green Lantern (Hal) is tricked into a faked situation in which a civilian (with a strong resemblance to Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire)) is killed, while exposing him to a variant of Scarecrow's fear gas to sap his will.
- The scenarios for Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter were the same.
- While the remains of Batman's parents are still stolen, unlike the "Tower of Babel" storyline, Batman is knocked out after finding out about the theft and is buried alive while inside the coffin of one of his parents.
- In the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, it's Brainiac 5, otherwise portrayed as Superman's very loyal Robot Buddy, who keeps Kryptonite for emergencies. This is very much the cynical version; Superman not only doesn't know Brainy has it, but he doesn't even know Kryptonite exists yet.
- Although Brainy seems conflicted about having the stuff; after it's been stolen, he says he's glad to be rid of it.
- In Generator Rex, White Knight uses a mecha suit when he is forced to leave his sanctuary in Providence to help Rex with a worldwide problem. Rex realizes that the suit was in fact originally designed to take him out if he ever went rogue on Providence.
- Agent Six was also ordered to kill Rex if he ever became his evil giant robot self again.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Dogpound attaches a collar to Baxter Stockman's neck with small canisters of mutagen attached to it, threatening to release the mutagen if Baxter doesn't play nice (he had previously trapped Dogpound and Fishface in a deadly obstacle maze). And promptly activates it because Baxter wasn't working fast enough. Baxter Took a Level in Badass.
- Played for Laughs at the end of one episode of Kim Possible. Alpha Bitch Bonnie signs a contract with Kim's brothers Jim and Tim so that they can fix her car. It doesn't take long for her to get fed up with their demands and throws them out of the car. The twins anticipated this and used their new gadget to wreck Bonnie's car.
- In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Hordak Prime's mind-control technology means they may need to battle their allies, and Netossa reveals she's already evaluated everyone's weaknesses. Glimmer complains the analysis of her having "crippling self-doubt mixed with overwhelming hubris" is really personal compared to "fire" which was the weakness of no less than three of her teammates.