Sunday Post 177: Do You Have Enough?

I was fortunate. I had life insurance on Lisa. It wasn’t a ton, but it is enough.  If invested correctly, it can make a dent in college and perhaps there will be some left for my retirement. I’m banking on the stock market!

Four years before Lisa died, our insurance agent came to our house to review our policies. At the time, I had four times more insurance on me than on Lisa. He ran numbers for us. We had our blood tests.

I decided to increase my insurance four fold and was considering doing the same for my wife. But when it came down to it, I simply doubled hers. You know why? ‘Cause it was going to cost $350 more per year.

Yep. I could have double the money I have now if I’d have spent $1,400 over a four-year period of time. That’s less than $1 per day.

This seems sort of crass for me to share about my finances. Maybe sounds like I am thinking about the wrong things. Let me assure you, THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT I WOULD NOT TRADE TO HAVE MY WIFE BACK. I’d give the shirt off my back and the shirts off my kids’ backs to have her sitting by me right now. But I can’t.  And there is one thing that my insurance agent said to me that I can’t seem to shake.

When I went to complete the paperwork to get the insurance check, I mentioned my lack of vision for the future in deciding not to increase the amount of insurance I had on Lisa more than I had. My agent responded, “Danny, you gotta understand, you have more insurance on your wife than 90% of guys your age. You likely have more on her than most guys have on themselves. You actually made really good decisions.”

So if he is right, 90% of you are grossly underinsured. If something happened to your spouse, you’d be up the creek. If something happened to you, your family would likely struggle financially.

I have friends with two or three kids and a $50 or $100K insurance policy. I’m telling you, that ain’t gonna educate your kids, and it certainly isn’t going to support your family for the long haul.

It sounds like I work for the insurance industry. I don’t. I’m not getting a kickback! But I want folks to think about the future. I want folks to think about their family if something happens to them or to their spouse.

It’s hard enough to lose a loved one. Imagine doing it while wondering if you can keep your house or educate your kids. Don’t put yourself, don’t put your family, in that position.

The Cost of having a Driver

car insurance
I recently called my insurance agent to see how much it was going to cost to add DJ, my new driver, to the insurance policy.  Ouch!
The receptionist told me she could give me the quotes.
“I think I might give my daughter my car and purchase a new one for myself.  How much will my insurance increase if I go that route?”
“Let’s see Mr. Tanner.   Humm – it’s going to jump a bit since she’s an inexperienced driver.”
“Oh, she’s not inexperienced.  I’ve driven countless miles with her over the past year.  It’s been weeks since she got out of the car without forgetting to turn it off.  Heck, I even taught her how to take off the gas cap.  Took two or three times for her to fully catch on, but, she’s mastered it now.  Even got her first wreck out of the way – and that was in the Driver’s Ed Car!  She is NOT inexperienced.”
“We’ll, you do have your homeowners insurance with us.  That will help.”
“Yes I do!  And, remember I went to high school with the agent’s brother.”
“Looks like its going to go up by… $2,200.”
“$2,200 a year?  Damn Sam, that’s steep!”
“Oh no Mr. Tanner – it’s not $2,200 a year.”
“Whew!  I thought something had to be wrong.”
“Yes.  That’s wrong. You see, you pay twice a year.  That’s just for six months.  It’ll end up being $4,400 a year.”
“I’m sorry.  I thought I had asked for a quote to add one tiny, sweet, cautious human to my car insurance policy NOT what it was going to cost me to put her through a year of college!!!”
“You are an evil woman.”
Things I could do with $4,400:
  •  Fly to Hong Kong with DJ and stay at the Ritz Carlton for two nights
  • Buy 1/4 of a camel in Pakistan
  • Get DJ a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle GLS with halogen projector beam headlamps including clear polycarbonate lenses
  • Purchase 25 bottles of Dom Parignon and cater a party for 100 people to come over and drink it
  • Hire a hit man to take out my insurance agent

Needless to say, we’re considering other options…

Me and my HSA

It’s the end of my insurance plan year.  Three years ago, I signed up for a Health Savings Account.  This nifty new tool costs significantly less per month which is a good thing.  However, unless you have open heart surgery or gangrene in your gall bladder, you likely won’t hit your deductible.  I pay the first $4,000 in medical expenses out of pocket.  After that, my insurance company pays 100% of costs I incur.

Thankfully, this was the first year on the new plan that I met my deductible.  After Stephanie had her tonsils removed in June, we were golden.  The past three months I’ve been searching for a reason to go to the doctor.

“Dad, my left toe hurts.”

“I’ll book an appointment with the podiatrist tomorrow.”

“Is this a freckle or a mole?”

“We’ll let the dermatologist make that call.”

“I’ve got a really bad tooth ache dad.  Can I go to the dentist?”

“No!  That’s a different insurance company.  Take a shot of whiskey and bite down on a twig.”

I don’t understand insurance, and I don’t understand the medical profession.  Last year at my annual physical, my doctor asked me if I wanted him to check my prostate.

How do you answer that question?

“Absolutely!  I’ve been waiting for that all year-long!  And while you’re at it, could you give me a spinal tap?”

What guy is going to answer that in the affirmative?

“Well,” I started, stalling for a moment as I pondered my choice.  “On the one hand, I would trade my P90X video series to avoid that investigative procedure.  On the other, I would prefer not to have cancer in that area.  What are most of your other patients choosing?”

We ended up agreeing that I’d be checked at age 50, and the tension in the room decreased tenfold.

Oh, and the last doctor I visited on my multi-month journey chasing free healthcare, had a nurse who gravely insulted me.

She called me from the waiting room, took my height and weighed me.  She then walked me into the examining room, pulled out the blood pressure cup and headed toward my arm.

“Mr. Tanner, can you roll your sleeve up a bit?”

“Sure.”  I thought she could take it with my dress shirt sleeve down.

When I unleashed my right gun, she turned around and huffed, “Uh.”

“Is something the matter?”

“It’s smaller than I thought.  I need to get the little cuff.”

“My arm?”

She nodded.

“Ma’am, it’s not that small!” I insisted.

“It’s whole a lot smaller than it looked under that big ole sleeve of yours.”

As a general rule, it is better not to suggest that any man’s part is smaller than anticipated – especially his bicep!

So this week I’m back on a healthcare diet.  And after my experiences this year, perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

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