Insurance is for the unforeseen situations that may rise in one’s life. The risk of not having insurance could be insurmountable both to families and companies alike. As I thought about this essay, my mother reminded me that there are a growing number of young adults that eat healthy, exercise, meditate and don’t see the need for health insurance until some life-changing incident happens and they are faced with financial burdens and the inability to work.
I grew up living with my mother and grandmother. I was considered my grandmother’s “ride or die”. As she got older I began to realize some subtle changes in her behavior and driving. Being a young child I would mention it to my mother and she would try to find even more subtle ways to limit her driving. After a rather long hospital stay and several months of recuperating my grandmother wanted me to ride to the mall with her. She had just received a new credit card and she wanted to buy me some clothes. I was probably more excited than her so I got ready and actually beat her to the car. After shopping, my grandmother could not find the car in the parking lot. We walked around in the heat for quite awhile. She began to get nervous and at 11 years old, I tried to calm her down and make her laugh. I offered to call my mother but she declined that offer very quickly. When she went back into the store I remained at the door and called my mother who quickly came to get us.
Later that week, as my mother opened mail, she realized that my grandmother’s car and health insurance had expired. She was in the beginning stages of dementia and while completing several “pre-approved” credit card applications she had forgotten to pay her insurance premiums.
My mother quickly rectified the situation and realized that something terrible could have happened. My grandmother was deeply apologetic but I am sure she did not realize the gravity of what was happening. I think about if she had caused an accident and had to be hospitalized the financial burden that would have been placed on my family. That’s just one example of how having insurance made a difference in my family’s life.
I live in the inner-city and hurricanes don’t affect us often. Within the last 10 years we have been hit with several severe storms. I remember when hurricane Gaston tore a great deal of singles off the roof of our home. Water began to pour in our kitchen, upper bedroom and bathroom. At the same time the sump pump stopped working and water began rising in our lower level. My mother called our insurance company and an adjustor came within a day. She researched our policy and was able to repair our home and put us up in a hotel for several days.
My mother used to tell me an old slogan about insurance that she heard from her father “it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”. Without ample insurance, as a family, we would have been devastated by the repair costs.
My last story. Ten years ago my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She had become unable to work her regular job and was faced with the possibility of high cost medicine and treatment on a reduced income. One day she went to meet with her human resource specialist at her placement of employment and realized that she had been paying for a supplemental insurance policy that not only would pay her rising medical bills but allowed for income replacement while she was out of work.
As I think about the many news reports on the damages caused by tornadoes, storms and twisters, it amazes me that many people today still do not have ample insurance coverage. In many of these cases, I feel it is an economic issue. Many people are faced with low wages and/or unemployment issues as well as rising food costs. The pure necessities of life are food and shelter and often ample insurance is a luxury. Most states mandate car insurance to a certain amount. When the cost of living surpasses the mandated necessities of life, many things go lacking. Thankfully, with the affordable health care more options available more individuals are eligible and receiving health care benefits.
Insurance coverage has always been a necessity in my family’s life. As a young driver, it has been crucial to me being able to drive that I needed to be adequately insured. I said the previous story was my last but this is truly the last. During my freshman year in college, several friends decided to go away for the weekend. They were involved in an accident which seriously injured two of my friends. The driver that hit them did not have any insurance. It has been a nightmare for one of my friends who had to withdraw from college during the final weeks of the spring semester.
As my grandfather would say “It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”. Being not insured or under-insured can be devastating to one’s financial, emotional and physical well-being.
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