In the real world, you can take out insurance on all kinds of things. If you have a stockpile of unique collectibles, someone will insure that. If you’ve got exotic vehicles that are hard to replace, someone will insure that. However, in the fictional world of Marvel Comics, there are some things so bizarre and rare that no reasonable insurance company would ever write a policy for them.
One example is Tony Stark’s signature Iron Man armor. In the comics, Stark is the CEO of the fictional Stark Industries, and he uses his vast corporate resources to create an experimental suit of personal body armor that allows him to fight crime as the legendary superhero Iron Man. His armor, being a one-of-a-kind prototype, is the sort of thing no insurance underwriter would ever authorize a policy on.
Tony’s armor would be almost impossible to get a liability policy on. It is, of course, extremely valuable: a conservative estimate of the value of such a suit of personal combat armor like Stark’s would come in around $7 billion. The real liability at stake with Stark’s armor, however, is the amount of damage that the pilot could cause.
Consider the typical comic book fight. Iron Man is being tossed into buildings by the Mandarin’s reality-warping rings, causing millions of dollars in property damage. At one point, Iron Man lands on a crowded city street, where he causes a 14-car pileup. The insurance claims for that accident alone could begin to rival the cost of replacing one of Tony’s suits.
As such, the odds that Tony finds an insurance company crazy enough to offer him a policy on one of his armored suits are extremely low. Even if he did, it’s a safe bet that the company would charge exorbitant premiums for the policy, likely as high as millions of dollars per month, just to keep the policy from bankrupting them when Stark inevitably comes to collect for his most recent supervillain smackdown.
In the comics, Tony is one of the richest people alive. His company is an extremely successful weapons contractor for the US military, and also sells numerous personal electronics. As such, Stark can afford to cover his own liability when he wrecks a suit or brings down buildings in downtown Manhattan.
But if the armored Avenger is thinking about getting an insurance policy for one of his shiny suits, he’d better think again.