Re: Who picks up the 'tab' when these things crash?
Since the alternative is to end up with the booster at the bottom of the ocean, I'm not sure what "tab" you're referring to.
The cost of getting the barge out to sea and repairing any damage is borne by SpaceX. The extra cost of the landing equipment on the booster and the extra fuel (and hydraulic fluid!) is built into the cost of the launch and therefore borne by SpaceX.
Now if they're successful, the savings on the next launch because they can re-use a booster all accrue to SpaceX, in which case the investment has paid off. Although realistically they'll have to offer a steep discount to get someone to be the first customer of a refurbished Falcon 9.