New Year’s Resolution: Insurance

It’s that time of year, in case you hadn’t noticed.  The last of the turkey leftovers have made their appearance, cleverly disguised in a “pot pie”.  New Year’s plans are under-way (mine include staying up until at least 11 PM on new year’s eve) and the pressure is on to make a resolution or two.

Well, here is one to think about.  Resolve to get adequately insured!

What brings that on, you ask?  Here’s what.  This morning in the paper, front and centre, was a very sad article about a young woman, single mom, whose car had been stolen.  Guess what?  Some bright spark of a car sales man had advised her not to bother with comprehensive insurance (that’s the kind that includes theft coverage, among other things) to save a few bucks.  Now I appreciate that saving a few dollars at this time of year might have seemed like a good idea;  I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, right?

This is what:

The car was stolen, used for a joy-ride by some brain-dead twerps, including a robbery and property damage, not just to the car, but to other people’s property.  The car is now in police hands, who will tow it and store it.  Guess who gets to pay for all of that?   Not the insurance company, because, well, there was no insurance.  So this poor young woman, who got some really bad advice about saving a few bucks, will get to shell out money she doesn’t have.  [Since this was first published, some kind-hearted people have offered her money, a new car, and replacements for the kids’ car seats that were also lost].

Every year at this time you hear about a house that burned down because the Christmas tree caught fire, or someone fell asleep on the couch with a lit cigarette.  As if that isn’t bad enough, there is always the added heartbreak that they lost everything and didn’t have insurance.

What does any of this have to do with wills and estates?  Just like a reluctance to buy adequate car or house insurance, a lot of people don’t think it’s important to have life insurance, disability insurance, or critical illness insurance.

Yes, insurance companies get a bad rap, and rightly so.  They are truly at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to customer satisfaction, and they seem to go out of their way to confirm people’s cynicism about them.  The recent examples of people losing their life savings because they thought they were covered for medical issues, only to have the insurer weasel out under a technicality, certainly don’t help.

But seriously, folks, what will happen to your family if you suddenly drop out of the picture?  Will they be able to afford to even bury you?  Who is going to pay the mortgage? (and I’m not suggesting you buy your mortgage company’s insurance, that’s just a bad deal…get some real life insurance).  What happens to you if you get really sick and can’t work?  Is EI really going to cut it?

You may be fortunate enough to have a good plan at work.  If you do, take a look at the policy so you know what you are covered for, and what isn’t covered.  If you aren’t sure, ask.

If you don’t have insurance at work, ask around to find a good insurance rep or two.  Ask a ton of questions.  You’ll need to talk to a few people, because different companies sell different types of insurance.  But do it.  Make a resolution to find out what you need and then get it.  Before it’s too late and you find yourself wishing you had.

Happy New Year!

About Maria Holman

I am a lawyer with over 28 years of experience in drawing up wills, trusts and estate plans, helping clients with probate and estate administrations and advising business owners and families about planning for the future. You can find me at Webster Hudson & Coombe LLP in Vancouver, BC
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