Car insurance? Check.

Home insurance? Check.

Asteroid insurance?


Insurance has an awful lot of negatives associated with it. It can seem (or be) expensive. To many people, it's stupefyingly boring. It can seem like you're paying lots of money with little to show for it. It can be a pain dealing with some insurance companies. Insurance focuses your thinking on nasty things, such as car crashes, house fires, disabilities, theft, and more. Yet insurance is critical to our lives, too. Without it, we can quickly be wiped out.

So before I proceed any further, permit me to urge you to spend some time in our Insurance Center, where you can:

  • Read about some forms of insurance that you may need but not have.
  • Learn how to get more from the insurance you do have.
  • Stay awake, since we tackle the topic with the aim of keeping you reading.

OK, now that that's out of the way, let's return to my critical financial topic du jour: asteroids. I read an interesting article at the American Scientist website the other day, and I learned that some engineers and astronomers have formed the non-profit B612 Foundation, named after the home asteroid of the title character in Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince. Their purpose? To get federal and international agencies to take seriously the growing threat of our dear planet being whacked by an asteroid.

It seems that the rate of discoveries of smallish, nearby asteroids has been accelerating. And while NASA has been cataloging large near-Earth asteroids, they pale in comparison with the number of smaller ones that are being ignored and that could cause plenty of havoc. An article on the American Scientist site says, "The impact of a 100-meter-diameter body would release the equivalent of an 80-megaton bomb and thus could devastate an area the size of a large city, for example. And a several-hundred-meter body could cause a tsunami rivaling or exceeding last year's horrific Indian Ocean event."

The good news is that these smaller bodies can often be successfully deflected off their course. But the bad news is that we're ignoring most of them, so much so that we might well end up facing a strike without enough time to prevent it.

So what can you do about this? Well, buying a strong helmet probably won't be enough (but, hey, you never know). Canceling your life insurance policies and spending your nest egg on lavish meals and trips probably isn't prudent. Instead, perhaps check your insurance policies and see whether they cover damage from asteroids. Consider contacting your representatives in Washington to urge them to pay attention to this danger.

Remember that despite this danger, there are dangers that are much more likely to hurt you. Learn more about protection you might need by going to our Insurance Center.

And finally, if you're looking for investments, consider the insurance industry. There are many attractive players, such as Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) (NYSE:BRKb), Allstate (NYSE:ALL), Progressive (NYSE:PGR), and First American (NYSE:FAF). First American was recommended by our Inside Value newsletter (check it out for free) about a year ago, and it's risen some 50% since then.

Here are some articles of possible interest:

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway . The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.