Insurance is important to me personally because it helps minimize or even eliminate the impact of unanticipated and unplanned life events. We humans are optimists; we always plan for great and positive things for ourselves and our lives. We plan our futures day-by-day, week-by-week, annually or even years ahead, but rarely do we factor catastrophes into those plans. For instance, no one schedules a flood for next Tuesday, a cancer diagnosis next year, or death five years from now. However, those who live long enough will experience any number of unanticipated life events, which impact our finances and some which can even threaten our financial stability and family. People often overlook the value of insurance, especially when paying premiums while nothing goes wrong, but learn the value of good, quality insurance when at their own personal low point of life.
Beginning with a personal story, I became a new driver in the past two years and have been introduced to the world of automobile insurance. At first, it was hard for me to understand the many concepts of coverage limits and deductibles, but I soon learned thanks to a good agent. I quickly learned the balance between policy costs and deductibles verses the coverage provided. For instance, I learned the amount my policy premium increased due to the addition of uninsured motorist coverage verses the financial risk of being in an accident with an uninsured driver. Each morning, when driving to the High School, while watching the newly licensed teenaged drivers run into each other, I learned the peace of mind that good insurance provides.
Extending my experiences to relatives and friends, I learned the value of getting one of the most important kinds of insurance, Healthcare insurance. Specifically, I learned that all insurance and insurers are not equal. A couple good friends of my family, Rick and Theresa, were newlyweds of about five years when Theresa was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rick worked for a company that provided Healthcare insurance, but insurance that—frankly–wasn’t very good. Rick and Theresa found themselves running into procedures the Doctors recommended that were called “unnecessary” or “experimental” by the insurance company and weren’t covered. In addition, they found themselves with large amounts of deductibles and out of pocket costs that they simply could not pay. Instead of focusing on Theresa’s care and resting, they were stressed worrying about how to pay the costs of treatments. Theresa knew the outlook the Doctors had provided for her and spent her last few months on this Earth worrying about the bills she would ultimately leave behind for Dan, instead enjoying what little time she could with her spouse. When Theresa ultimately passed away, she left Dan behind with a broken heart and a pile of bills that he will be working to pay off for years to come. Many people complain about the cost of insurance, especially Healthcare insurance that can be larger than a monthly mortgage payment, but quality insurance can help the insured during what some might find the most difficult times in their lives.
Although not personally involved, I watched the news coverage of the terrible floods in Louisiana recently. We humans have a strong attachment to the concept of ‘home’. It’s where we live, it’s where our families are, it’s our place of refuge after a long, hard day of work and it’s where we store our lifetime of memories and personal belongings. Without warning, Louisiana experienced over twenty inches of rain in a very short period of time, causing unprecedented flooding in over 20 parishes. Many people were stranded or forced to flee in fear for their lives, without enough warning to collect many of their prized possessions and family heirlooms. Those affected lost nearly everything they owned, except for what they could take during evacuations. Many of these unfortunate people either couldn’t afford flood insurance or simply didn’t buy it, compounding their losses in an uninsured event. This is another example of a time where good, quality insurance helps during the worst of times.
Lastly, a very critical insurance coverage is life insurance. I’ve been fortunate that none of my immediate family members have passed away. However, I have been witness to a friend who lost his father at an unusually young age of 42 years old. Unfortunately, that man did not have life insurance excepting a very small amount that covered his funeral expenses. To say that his death left a hole in the family is an understatement. His family struggled to pay their bills and replace his income in every way they could. Their lives went from a happy family to a stressed home. His oldest son had to go to work, while finishing high school, to help his mother pay the bills and his mother had to work more than one job to try to survive. Despite help from the local community, this family had to move out of the neighborhood and leave the family’s home because they could no longer afford the payments. Life insurance is one of the most overlooked forms of insurance, partially because people think they cannot afford it and partially because it deals with death.
I am a firm believer in purchasing quality insurance to cover the various forms of unanticipated life events that will impact us all at some point in our lives. As mentioned above, we are optimists and try to avoid thinking of the uncomfortable ‘what if’s’ of life. Purchasing good, quality insurance allows us to go on with our optimistic life, knowing that someone else is worrying about the ‘what if’s’.
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