Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Insurance
Matt Seinberg

Everything in our lives, which is important, we insure, if you really think about it. Laws and common sense dictate we cover our homes and cars as well as our driving with insurance.

The bank that holds your mortgages tells you that you must have homeowners insurance in order to give you money to buy that new dream home. You must have evidence of insurance when you go to the closing and take possession of that dream home.

If you don’t have insurance and some catastrophic disaster hits, such as a fire or a nor’easter, everything you own could be lost and you wouldn’t get any money to replace anything. Heck, even if you did have insurance during Superstorm Sandy you had a good chance of not getting anything from the insurance company.

When I rented an apartment many years ago before I bought it, I had a renter’s policy even though it wasn’t required. I had to think about all the things that could happen, even though the chances were slim for floods, fire and other assorted bad things.

All it takes is one little thing to take everything away, with no chance to recoup anything from that loss.

Do we get in our cars every morning thinking that someone is going to run into us, cross over a divider or have too much to drink and cause an accident? Of course not, but we have to be protected just in case.

I remember a car accident I was involved in about 17 years ago. I left Michelle home with mother in law because I had a dentist appointment, and I have to run a couple of errands on the way.

The intersection light changed for me, and as I was crossing, out of the corner of my eye I saw a white streak heading towards me. I tried to speed up, but the next thing I knew I was pretty much back where I started, with the car up against a light pole.

I think my Pontiac Grand Am sustained about $8000 worth of damages, which took about two weeks to repair. That was also the beginning of my neck problems, which also made my back problems worse. I ended up going to physical therapy two or three times a week for over a year, and the chiropractor once or twice a week. To this day, I still visit the chiropractor once a week.

The insurance company paid for all the damage to the car, and most of my medical bills and prescriptions weren’t included, under regular health insurance. Could you imagine having to pay out $8000 to have the car repaired? I sure don’t have that kind of money lying around.

I guess what started me thinking about insurance is that Michelle got her driver’s license a couple of months ago, and when I went to the agency office to find out how much it would cost to add her to the policy, I was shocked but not surprised. How much do you ask, how about $100 a month?

I told Michelle that if she wanted to drive, she had to have a job to help pay for half the insurance, and whatever gas she used. She did have a job lined up, but after only working a couple of days, she told her manager she didn’t want to work in the bakery anymore, could she be a cashier instead?

She didn’t get any more bakery hours and no callback for the cashier position. I pointed out to her that she approached it the wrong way. The right way would have told her manager that while the bakery wasn’t for her, could she continue there until a cashiers position opened up?

It’s amazing how just changing the words around makes it sound better.

Without a job and money, I told her she couldn’t drive the car at all. While she wasn’t happy, she actually understood my point when I told her that I called the insurance company and told them to postpone putting her on the policy. Why should I pay to put her on if she isn’t going to drive?

Marcy and I finally lit a fire under her butt to find a part time job, and she has been applying like crazy. I was in our local Stop and Shop last week, and it turned out the cashier was actually the store manager. I asked her if they were hiring and explained about Michelle. Jennifer asked if Michelle has already applied, and if she did, to have her call.

When Michelle got home from school, she called Jennifer who told her that she would have to find her application on line, and call her back. It’s been a week, and Michelle has followed up, talked to Jennifer once, left several messages; no one has returned my call.

You’d think that by showing some initiative she’d get a call back already. Nope, that hasn’t worked. I think I’ll have to stop in there again and talk to Jennifer myself.

All of this for car insurance: it just isn’t worth it.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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