Insurance do’s and don’ts

brown and white bear plush toy
Photo by Pixabay on

Why are the commercials often featuring cute little creatures? I believe it’s because the topic is boring; or maybe because if they told you the facts, you might realize it’s not necessarily in your best interest.

Often the commercials will be focused on a fear we may have.  Someone once told me when you pay for insurance you are betting against yourself. You are betting you will get sick or be in an accident.  We do need insurance, but how much and what kind?  Could we do better saving?

Ask yourself:  What can I afford?  What do I really need?

Home insurance: I recently changed mine.  In assessing my policy, saw I was paying for sewer backup.  I live in a higher elevation than many of my friends, my home is not on a slab.  It has a crawl space, and I just paid for a new septic and new pipes.  The chance of a back up is very minimal.  There was nothing wrong with that coverage, it was just an expense I decided I could live without.

You may save money by letting your agent know you live near a fire department or you have some safety features like an alarm system.

Auto insurance:  it’s required but shop around and reassess each year.  Have an older car? Check the value, you may be better off not to carry full coverage.

Medical coverage:  This cute little creature is telling us viewers we can get paid immediately for medical costs not covered by other insurance.  What they fail to say is this may be only for accidents.  I call it “stub-your-big-toe” insurance. If you are accident prone maybe you need it.  I don’t. So I can save that money and put it to something more fun.

In winter the health care companies advertise a lot.  This is when you have an opportunity to lower your premiums by shopping around.

Life Insurance:  coverage can be in the form of an annuity:  a long-term retirement savings plan.  My parents had one of those.  It paid low interest and when it was time to collect I had to fight with the company to get it.

I once met with a life insurance salesman.  He talked very fast and I signed before I took 24 hours to think it over.  Luckily there was a time period in which to cancel.  That was an uncomfortable phone call, but I am not out all that money. Whew!  Don’t impulse buy.

Life insurance is not for you.  It’s for the ones you leave behind.  Do you have other assets that may benefit them better?  Do you have money in savings that could cover your funeral? If you plan your funeral and set limits, then you may save them from over spending while grieving.  Reassess your needs as you get older.

Some insurance companies will sell and change names.  Be sure to keep up with the latest name, address and contact for those.  And check annually to see if beneficiaries need to be updated.

Let your power-of-attorney or someone you trust know where to find the policies in case of emergency. Share your agent’s contact info with that someone.

Not all insurance companies are created the same.

The company I am now using hires long-term folks who must go through a lot of training to qualify to get their name affiliated with the brand. Those folks are not getting commissions, so they are not as high pressure as others may be.


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