Aug 1 2011
As much as we hate to, paying insurance is one of the necessary evils in life. Yes, it means the insurance companies are filthy rich – especially those with superior legal teams who know every loophole in the book and therefore avoid payouts at all costs, but without them many people would have no safety net. So, while most of us hate parting with our hard earned cash, paying a monthly sum to a broker that may never have to return a single cent in claims, it is still worth it.
1. Health Insurance
The importance of having health insurance greatly depends where you live in the world and what health system your government currently has in place. Those living in America find it hard to get even basic health care without insurance, which to people in a number of other countries is hard to comprehend. In the UK and Australia, where emergency care is free to all there is often little need for health insurance. However, many choose to opt for health insurance to increase surgery wait times or to be able to choose their centre of care. Australia’s Medicare system is one of the best there is, where people sometimes pay a small fee to cover medical costs while the rest is reimbursed. Of course, there are much less people in the country so the system isn’t quite as overpopulated as somewhere like the UK – which was initially not designed to deal with 70 million people, is straining under the weight of an ever-growing population, so many more are choosing private health care. You are then guaranteed speedier wait and surgery times, so if you have a problem that needs attending to in a timely fashion, it is definitely worth the monthly expense. Of course, most people sign up to health insurance for what may happen, few policies cover existing conditions, or do, but a premium. It is especially useful for people who have known familial linked disorders, like cancer, diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
2. Life Insurance
Amongst the various types of insurance policies available, few people opt for insuring their lives, yet death is one of the few certainties in life. The policies pay a set lump sum on death, but can often cover terminal and critical illness too. It is worthwhile for anyone with dependents or those who share a mortgage; in the event of your death at least your bills will be looked after, taking the financial pressure of your loved ones. Always double check the policy terms; many life insurance policies will not pay out in the case of suicide or accidental death. And be aware of the differences between life insurance and assurance. Insurance policies may run for a certain term and once payments stop you are no longer covered, whereas Life Assurance offers a guaranteed payment on death whether payments were stopped in the past, or not.
3. Dental Insurance
A visit to the dentist is getting more and more expensive as the years go by. Those lucky enough to live in countries where dental treatment is subsidised rarely appreciate they have it so good. While in many countries, trips to the dentist are a big drain on the bank balance, especially if you have children who need orthodontic treatment. To avoid having to forego dental treatment because of lack of funds paying into a dental plan can help when you need it most. Yes, there are financial plans available through most dentists, but only if the minimum spend is a good few thousand dollars. With dental insurance you can generally claim after each trip.
4. Home Insurance
Whether you own your own house or not, having your contents insured against fire, theft and damage is rarely a waste of cash. When precious possessions are at risk people often don’t think too long about handing over money to insure them. Granted, certain things like photographs and family heirlooms are never replaceable, but in the event of fire, flood or damage it’s always good to know that you’ll be able to start again when the insurance money comes through. A stipulation of renting out your home is to have landlords cover, as well as buildings insurance, which is a good thing, so if a tenant wreaks havoc in the property, your payout may cover repair and refurbishment costs.
5. Disaster Insurance
A relatively new kid on the insurance block, disaster insurance helps protect against certain rare, but financially devastating events and has become a hot topic in sight of recent natural catastrophes. Those living in an earthquake zone, bush fire area or region prone to hurricanes and floods may already have some form of insurance through their home insurance policy, but if not it is a wise choice to look into if you can afford the expense.
6. Credit Card Insurance
Sometimes referred to as credit card repayment protection, card insurance offers help with repayments in various circumstances. Should you become ill or unemployed involuntarily the policy will ensure more than the minimum payment is covered on your card, and if you are permanently disabled or die the cover will pay the full amount of your outstanding bill, usually up to a specified amount. This type of insurance is worthwhile if you’re not inclined to pay off your debts every month, and often includes other features, i.e., some plans offer travel insurance, or car rental insurance if you use your credit card to book, so it depends on your lifestyle whether this type of insurance suits. Just check what each credit card offers when youâ€™re comparing them before you settle on one.
7. Travel Insurance
Few people travel these days without travel insurance, either because they’re very well organised, were offered it when booking their trip, or have been badly marred by past experience and don’t want to have to learn the lesson again! There’s no doubt travel insurance is worth it, even for short trips, as so many variables can go wrong. The only trouble you have is to choose the right policy. Online policies are becoming more and more competitive, and depending where in the world you live there are some great deals on offer that cover all eventualities, including winter sports and diving cover.
8. Car Insurance
In most countries car insurance is compulsory; however, it doesn’t mean that everyone pays it. There are always a few chancers on the road who think they can get away without insurance until there’s an accident. And, more often than not, it’s the people who avoid paying their insurance that end up needing it. If an uninsured driver is involved in a crash and it’s their fault, they get landed with the repair and medical bills, so it’s just not worth the risk unless you fancy yourself wearing a prison uniform.
9. Pet Insurance
Tiddles, man’s best friend, or your duck are expensive little creatures to have around. Illness or injury are sure things during their lifetime, and vet’s bills are rarely cheap, so taking out some form insurance is wise to cover costs when things go wrong. Of course, like any policy you may be paying a lot of money and never need to claim, and there are probably many other policies you’d prefer to pay towards if you’re not exactly rolling in it, so it’s not for everyone. But if you’re one of those people who fall in love with every stray on the street or would want do anything possible to keep your pet alive should they contract a terminal illness, then maybe pet insurance is worth it for you.
10. Funeral Insurance
It’s not something people often plan for, after all, most people have no idea when they’re going to die, they only know it will be some day, so paying out a monthly premium for funeral costs seems overly cautious. Yet, the average cost of a funeral is thousands of dollars, and not something we normally save towards. However, there are some people who could still benefit, such as the infirm and elderly. Those who know their time to move on is not far away will be comforted in the fact their funeral costs will be covered when the times comes.
Don’t Forget to Read the Fine Print
Remember, before signing up to any insurance policy think long and hard as to whether you really need the cover. Those who sell insurance depend on the commission from the policies they sell to make a living, which is why they will try their hardest to get you to sign up to their policy, often using as many scare tactics as they can muster to appeal to your sensitive side. Stand strong and only sign an agreement once you read the terms and conditions, including all the tiny fine print – as boring as it is, it’s incredibly important, otherwise you may find when it comes to making a claim you weren’t insured for what you thought. Read, read and triple read before signing anything.