Life is unpredictable. We all like to think of it as safe or comfy in our day to day lives, but it only takes one instant to bring its full weight crashing down on us. A natural disaster could destroy a home, an instance’s hesitation could lead to a mugging, an illness could divide a family. These events and more can cause severe emotional and financial hardships when they strike, and even more if they come as a surprise. That’s where insurance comes in. Insurance acts as a sort of safety net that doesn’t stop life’s unpredictability but makes it easier to deal with. It allows for us to recover after these drastic events, and that’s why it is incredibly important to me.
Throughout my life I’ve come to understand the importance of a variety of insurances. Equipment Protection (Commercial) insurance in particular has been a major impact on my life and has helped me recover from many unforeseen accidents. My Asurion insurance coverage through Verizon Wireless replaced my cell phone 3 times after it was stolen on two occasions and lost on one. Without it I would have had to pay a minimum $300 dollars out of my own pocket each time. These savings are something both my mother and I are very grateful for. Additionally, I’ve also realized the importance insurance will play in my future. I plan on buying a car once I graduate from USC and having it insured will ensure that I’ll be covered should it get stolen or if I get in an accident.
Homeowner’s insurance has also played a large role in my family’s life and it is a type of insurance I know too well after experiencing a massive home disaster many years ago. I was only a child when the washing machine in our home broke down in the middle of the night. My mom was doing a load of laundry at the time and a hose behind the machine had ruptured suddenly, flooding a large part of the down stairs living space. The flooding was so severe that we had to call 911 to assist in draining the water. The property damage was in excess of $5,000. However, thanks to our coverage from Farmers Insurance we were able to replace the damaged floors with minimal financial trouble.
Given that I live in Southern California I’m familiar with the danger earthquakes present and understand the importance of earthquake insurance. One example of this is a story my mother told me about her experience with earthquakes soon after she moved to America. When she immigrated here from Jamaica in 1987 my mother was greeted a few months later by one of the biggest earthquakes (a 6.9 on the Richter scale) in US history. Frightened by the earthquake and scared to invest in any property, some of the friends who had moved with her relocated to Florida, where they thought it was safer. In a somewhat ironic turn of events, a few years later the condos these friends bought were wiped out by hurricane Andrew. This only brought home the point how important insurance is to my mother and me, because without insurance these friends would not have been able to rebuild. A final, more current example of why homeowner’s insurance is important is the fires in Santa Clarita. Several hundred acres of land have burned and Santa Clarita residents have lost their homes due to the blaze. Thankfully, homeowner’s insurance can help them recover from this disaster and rebuild their lives.
I’ve also experienced the importance of Health and Life insurance in a few extremely personal and saddening ways. One of my friends from my Boy Scouting days was in a massive motorcycle accident a few years ago that left him in a medically induced coma for days. This came as a huge surprise since no one in our Troop, or even his mother for that matter, knew he had a motorcycle. However, thanks to his health insurance he was able to recover and is walking fine today, though with a slight limp. Another sobering instance involved a professional colleague of my mother, who passed away suddenly at 54 years old, leaving four children and her widower. Because of the life insurance payments, her children were able to finish their education. My final experience with health insurance was more painful for me specifically. When I was in middle school I broke my right big toe not once, but twice. Looking back, it was a really stupid decision to play soccer in an open medical boot with a still healing toe, but thanks to my health insurance and the amazing pediatricians from Kaiser Permanente my toe was able to heal completely.
On top of this, I was considered a high risk pregnancy for my mom 20 years ago. She was very ill when she was pregnant with me and was forced to stay home for almost all of her pregnancy. Fortunately, in those days she had a type of disability policy through New York Life Insurance, which supplemented her pay check and helped her keep a roof over her head during that stressful time. Though I was born 10 weeks premature, everything turned out well because I lived to write this essay.
Since I like to travel I’ve also learned the importance of traveler’s insurance through the experiences of others around me. One of these experiences involved a member of my church, who fell and broke her pelvis recently. She had just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary and had planned to take her family on a cruise. Instead she is now in a nursing home awaiting surgery to repair her injuries. The slight upside in this situation is that her husband had purchased traveler’s insurance, so she could be refunded for her purchase if she doesn’t recover in time. Basically, traveler’s insurance is important to me so that I could get my money back if I my travel plans change.
As importance as insurance is, it is even more important to measure the costs and benefits of a particular plan before you buy it. For instance, I was offered insurance to cover my electronic devices while at USC. It sounded amazing on paper but the deductible was so high that it was actually cheaper to use my own preexisting coverage. Granted I now have to be more careful with my phone and laptop while I’m on campus, but hopefully that won’t be an issue.
All in all, insurance is incredibly important to me because it gives me confidence in my day to day life knowing that I’ll be ok in the event of an auto accident. I can face life’s unpredictability in stride knowing that my phone can be replaced if stolen, my home can be repaired in the event of a natural disaster, I’m covered in the event of sickness, and I can be reimbursed if my travel plans change.