Standing apart from the bog standard Vauxhall and Peugeot drivers of this world, there exists a special breed, a group who nary flinches when the word ‘insurance’ is mentioned. Such people insure tanks for the daily shopping run. Inspired by this, I decided to take on the ultimate car insurance challenge. I was going to quote me happy for the Batmobile.
I took as my example the Batmobile from The Dark Knight, or, as it’s officially known in movie lore, the ‘Tumbler’. A brief look over the specification reveals myriad possibilities for 3rd party fire and theft, including a jet burner in the rear, landing hooks for when the Batmobile jumps over rooftops, front-mounted machine guns and a built-in extinguisher system. Not to mention the fact that it weighs 2.5 tons, does 0-60 in under 6 seconds and has a top speed of over 100mph. Let me emphasise this: it’s a real car, that works on real roads.
Initial signs were not good. The website insurancerate.com delivered a verdict of uninsurable for Batman’s wheels, calling it a ‘guaranteed wreck’. A suggestive picture of a helpful-looking secretary left me in no doubt that this company was telling the truth.
My next step was to find the Batmobile’s closest road legal cousins. I settled for a combination of the Bugatti Veyron and the Hummer H3. The Veyron provided the speed and crashability while the Hummer provided the width and bulk. Initial results were staggeringly high; germancarscene.com reported that Autocar managed to get a quote on the Veyron of £23,000 p.a. with an excess of £25,000.
However, on closer inspection I found the Bugatti costs a whopping $2 million, while the production team for The Dark Knight was able to stitch together the Batmobile for a mere $250,000. This was more promising. My results for the Hummer H3, on the other hand, were inconclusive. When attempting to find a quote for myself, several websites experienced a severe loss of data and crashed repeatedly, HAL-9000 style. It seems a 24-year old Wiganer can’t catch a break in the insurance world. I also failed to find information regarding the premium on insuring front-mounted machine guns.
It was then that I stumbled across one of the older Batmobiles from the Tim Burton days, One of only five built, it was being sold on eBay for a cool $500,000. It seems that Batmobiles do not depreciate. Unfortunately, the old Batmobiles are not road legal in the real world, and so I reached another dead end.
However, necessity is the mother of botch jobs, and with a bit of lateral thinking I decided that if no one wanted to insure the Batmobile, I would have to rent one instead. I came across this website listing a variety of vehicles from TV and film for hire. Sure enough the Batmobile was there, and I eagerly clicked the quote button to be confronted with the following:
‘Unfortunately due to current legislation and insurance restrictions we are no longer able to offer our vehicles for proms, birthdays, leavers days or hen/stag nights out. Hire must be in connection with Weddings only!’
I couldn’t believe it. To rent a Batmobile – and this was the old 1960s Adam West Batmobile that did 0-60 in three days – I was going to have to get hitched. My girlfriend declined on the grounds the she would never ‘get married for a bloody insurance quote’, especially without a ring.
At this point I paused to consider why I was encountering such resistance wherever I looked, and turned to the Batman franchise for an explanation. I thought about Batman Returns, when the Batmobile was almost completely destroyed in order to evade the dastardly penguin. I thought about Batman Forever, when the Riddler totalled the Batmobile with bat bombs. I thought about Batman & Robin, and shuddered. Then I thought about The Dark Knight, and I had to hand it to the insurance companies: they were clearly movie buffs.
At my lowest ebb, on a whim, I checked eBay. Somewhere, through all the trials and tribulations, all the lost hope, I had acquired an evil cackle and a penchant for powdered moustaches, and it was in this state that I found my Batmobile, bought and insured for a sweet $35 dollars, including postage and packing.
Okay, so it wasn’t a full-size Batmobile, but that’s just a technicality. The sad truth is, when stunt drivers have to train for six months before they can drive the Batmobile on the cordoned off streets of Chicago surrounded by health and safety professionals, there isn’t an insurance company in the world who could have quoted me happy. The only way you can afford to insure the Batmobile is if you can pay for the damage out of your own pocket, and when you have front-mounted machine guns, there’s going to be a lot of damage. And when you’re next watching Batman spill down the highway at over 100mph, spare a thought for those other, poorer victims of movie pile-ups because they are the ones making the dreaded call the next morning to lose their no claims bonuses.
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