Act 311

Check your deductibles

I renewed my car insurance today. The agent suggested I drop the deductible from $500 to $300. Because my car is over ten years old, the saving of having a higher deductible is only $20. It would be more if my car were newer. So I’ll pay the extra $20 per year for the lower deductible. It’s a gamble I’ll take.

Same goes for home insurance. They are savings to be had if you up your deductible from $500 to $1,000.

Talk to your broker and explore as many options you can to get the coverage you need at a price you can afford on your assets, not your liabilities. Which means, never ever get credit card or mortgage insurance if you can avoid it. You’re paying to protect your creditors from you. That should be illegal if you ask me.

And while we’re on the topic of insurance, think twice about extended warranty packages. Studies have shown that, statistically speaking, they are not worth the expense. But again, if you’re making a large purchase such as a television, computer or appliance, check the facts, and ask if there’s a limited warranty as part of your purchase decision.

Insurance, in my view, is a necessary evil. It’s a major, and mostly useless expense in our personal budget. So when I do have to deal with it, I insist on good service and ask many questions because I don’t want to get a nasty surprise if I ever do have to make a claim.

Act 268

Read your phone bill

So, it came as quite a surprise to me today to discover that I pay $9.99/month for protection on my i-phone. In business, protection is a euphemism for insurance. It can also be a euphemism for hidden costs and rip offs. When I phoned to ask about it, I was told that the deductible was $200. So if I did lose my phone, say two years into my contract, I will pay $440 to replace it. Ahead of time. Ugh.

That’s not insurance, that something quite different. Two words. First word starts with B. Second word rhymes with it. Bye bye to that. Read your phone bill too. You might have been told that your plan “included” protection. Included doesn’t mean part of the price, it means they added it on for you.

They also added on a skookum 12 dollar charge for international and US texting. Which I don’t need. Nor do I need call display or “visual” voice mail, whatever that is. Because we have 2 phones with this “upcharge”, my total savings (or not spendings) will be $408/year. Per YEAR. Which I’ll happily keep instead for home insurance – to which I can add a personal item policy if I want. $400 will buy you a fair schwack of life insurance and a decent amount of content insurance. So once again, tell the telcos that their insurance policy is one conversation you need to cut short.