I am going to die one day. Hopefully, it is when I am old and have lived a fruitful life. But what if I die when I’m 27? What if I have a great wife and two beautiful kids? If I die in some awful twist of fate in that scenario, I want my family to be taken care of. I want my funeral costs covered by someone other than my parents. That is where life insurance steps in. In fact, that is the basic premise of all insurance—the “what ifs” of life. What if I get in a terrible car wreck? What if my house burns down? I do not want either of those to unfold, but life is never predictable.
For example, the wife of a teacher of mine was diagnosed with cancer last year and thus was subjected to chemotherapy many times. Their bill came to a quarter of a million dollars. However, my teacher had insurance and had to pay a total of only one thousand dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. Surely, a teacher’s salary plus the pay from whatever job she was working (though I doubt she was at work while the treatment was occurring) could not have been enough to recover from the crushing debt the non-insured price would have plunged them into. Too many similar scenarios, ones I have heard from the source and others I have heard passed down the grapevine, remind me every day of the very real importance of insurance in my life.
Every spring, as the snow melts off the nearby hills and the sun finally pokes through the clouds, my town faces the threat of being flooded. A creek running near my house is usually the butt of the fears, as twice in the last decade it has overflowed its banks. Jersey barriers, a type of insurance at the word’s widest definition, have been erected on both sides of the stream, but fears remain. Less likely to flood, yet the deadlier of the suspects, is the Ohio River, along which my town is built. It is because of our position along these volatile waterways that homeowners in the area are required to purchase flood insurance along with their home. Without it, if water were to pour into my basement, how could my family possibly afford to replace the countless items, books, pictures, clothes, and holiday decorations lost to the surge?
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I hope to have a wife and children by the age of 27, a decade from now. What if, however, my experience with childbirth is similar to my great-aunt’s? Just after marriage, she and my great-uncle realized they would need some semblance of medical insurance, and signed up for it. They were placed on a waiting list. While the company was researching their medical backgrounds, they conceived their first child, my uncle. Because, then, my aunt was pregnant by the end of the three month waiting period, my unborn uncle was considered a pre-existing condition, and his delivery expenses were not covered. My great-aunt and great-uncle spent the next few years paying the hospital bill for their son’s birth.
Until I heard this story a few days ago, I had assumed giving birth was a free operation. This and one other lesson I learned upon this story being passed down. That second lesson is that medical insurance is important, and that lesson is two-fold. First, my birth was insured, and for that my parents and I are grateful. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, because I know of the consequences, I will not make the same mistake as my relatives; I will make sure to have medical insurance before conceiving any children. Whether or not one should even have to pay to have children— such an integral part of life and almost expected— is an argument for another time. However, if argued now, the ‘yes’ side could bring up a great point: that if one does not want to pay, then one should get medical insurance.
I have just given three examples, all very real, of the importance of insurance in my life. The people in the experiences listed are lucky they either had insurance, or realized the importance of insurance thereafter. I too am lucky, for I perhaps have knowledge not all others have about just how important insurance really is. Financially and psychologically, insurance is one of the best services one can purchase, ever. Saving money is one of anybody’s favorite pastimes, as is feeling safe in all things done. Insurance saves lots of money when the What If becomes costly, and sets up a protective veil when the What If is especially destructive. For these reasons, and to these ends, insurance is important to me.
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