Thursday, January 19, 2012

And That’s Why You Need Insurance

If a tree falls in the parking lot.... oh wait.

I don’t care how poor you are, if you have any assets worth anything at all, you absolutely must protect them.  We don’t have a lot, but we do have a car.  It’s just an ’03 Hyundai, worth about $3,000 according to Kelley Blue Book.  But we need that car, and I sure don’t have the funds to purchase another one right now.

We are currently in the midst of a nasty ice storm, something we haven’t seen around here in about 15 years.  Trees are falling, power lines are down, everything is encased in ice.  That tree in the photo up top?  Last night it was happily sitting, minding its own business, protecting our bathroom window from people peeking in.  It’s currently lying across one of my favorite parking spots.  I’m pretty grateful right now that I didn’t park there Tuesday night.

But let me show you another picture.

That’s the fallen tree’s partner, placed so things look nice and symmetrical.  See that lean?  Oh, and you see that little car underneath it, next to the van, encased in a sheet of ice?  That would be our little Elantra.  I’m not going to lie… I’m pretty nervous about it.  I can’t move it – I can’t even open the doors on it.  It’s there until things thaw out a bit. 

I’m worried, but I’m not panicking.  We have insurance coverage.  When we bought it, we had to get full coverage for it to get financing.  When we paid it off last year, we were tempted to reduce it to the bare minimum required by law.  I’m really glad we didn’t.  The coverage is through Gavin’s work, and the premiums are paid right off his paycheck. 

We also have full health insurance through Gavin’s work.  And we have renter’s insurance that is paid as part of our rent.  Pretty good thing, too.

Here’s another picture for you.  

That’s the tree right across from our balcony.  See how it’s leaning? If that bad boy goes, it's coming in through someone's window.  Not a good thought.

The one thing we don’t have is life insurance.  We are working on that one.  Like the other insurances, it’s available through Gavin’s work and can come right out of his paycheck.  We just need to free up some money to pay for it.  Catastrophes can happen at any time, as so many of our family, friends and neighbors are unfortunately finding out.

Here’s some ideas for getting insurance when you don’t have a lot of money:
  • Check with your employer.  If you work for a larger-sized company, they might have a partnership with a major insurance carrier, which can get you a discount.
  • Have your insurance deducted straight from your check.  This prevents missed payments.
  • If you can’t get the insurance through your employer, use automatic bill pay so your premium is always paid on time.  It can be harder to get other insurance companies to take you if you’ve been dropped for missed payments.
  • While “price match” websites can be helpful, their ultimate goal is to get you to buy their product.  A great insurance deal might cost you more in the long term.  Ask your family and friends for referrals.  It could get you both a nice discount.
  • Go ahead and carry a high deductible – but only if you know you can get the money to make it.  It will lower your monthly premiums. 

In the meantime, we’re crossing our fingers and keeping an eye on the tree.  Good luck everyone.  Stay safe.

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