Sometimes I feel like I live to pay insurance. Between life, health, homeowner, auto and long-term care, I figured out that about 20 percent of my expenses are insurance premiums. There’s something wrong with that. Sadly, I have succumbed to the fear instilled by the insurance industry.
I recall someone once telling me he didn’t buy life insurance because it is like gambling against yourself. I don’t know about that. We all know we will die, so it’s not really a gamble. Knowing when is the tricky part. A crystal ball would put us in a better position of knowing if it would be better to invest the money rather than waste it on premiums; in a sense, become self-insured. But that’s where they get you – fear of the unknown and guilt about leaving your loved ones in dire straits.
Health insurance is a touchy subject, at least in the United States. Before managed care plans, we went to the doctor, paid the bill and submitted a claim to the insurance company. We were happy to get back whatever we could. Managed care was supposed to be our savior, but I’m not so sure. I was at a party where a doctor was talking about how he had to hike up his rates because of reduced insurance payments. Then he went on to talk about his two homes and upcoming vacation to Europe. It made me feel sick, but I decided to forgo the doctor visit.
Home and auto insurance sales people put the fear of God into us too. What if you are displaced? Get sued? Lose everything? Long-term care is another one. What will you do when you get old and can’t take care of yourself? We’re all going to get there some day. What do you mean you can’t afford it? How can you afford not to? The finance industry uses these same tactics to entice you to invest money for retirement. I attended a financial planning session where the salesman opened with, “It’s not if you are going to die, but when you are going to die.” Glad he wasn’t invited to the above-mentioned party.
I haven’t even touched on all the other insurance policies out there – disability, dental, vision care and let’s not forget pet insurance. Never mind the fear of the next presidential election. Beware of the salesman.