Are You Adequately Covered?



On top of the existing drama at my job, I recently found out that I’ll be losing all my benefits in May 2012. I can’t express how excited I was (sarcasm) to find out that there is yet ANOTHER downside to what I thought would be the best job in the universe. Honestly, I’m surprised we had benefits at all since we’re technically working as contractors. I hope to be long gone by next May, but I thought it would be worth my time to figure out what I need to replace and/or maintain if I can’t find another job before my benefits end.

Health insurance: I feel like I really haven’t had health coverage since I started with my current agency. The plans they offer have VERY high deductibles, limited coverage, and high copays. Luckily I have no health problems. However, as I learned when my dad needed open heart surgery unexpectedly at age 40, years of perfect health can disappear with one trip to the doctor. It’s important for me to maintain coverage just in case - a gap could leave me uninsurable in the future.

Car insurance: This isn’t related to my job, but it’s also important to keep adequate car insurance to protect myself in the event of an accident. A few years ago, I hit a deer going 40 mph - shouldn’t have been a big deal. Yet I ended up rolled over in a ditch with a totaled car. Which I was still making payments on. If I hadn’t been insured, I would have been stuck making payments on a ruined vehicle.

Renter’s insurance: Again, not tied to my job, but one payment I definitely don’t want to miss! So many renters fail to obtain coverage for their personal belongings, thinking the landlord’s homeowners policy will replace their stuff. As I learned from reading my dad’s policy on my house, though, that’s not the case. I have my own policy that will replace the major stuff I own, along with standard allowances for things like clothing. And the premium is only like $25 a month.

Disability insurance: I’ve noticed that a lot of young workers ignore short- and long-term disability when they choose benefits. These are SO important - if you are unable to work, these policies will pay a percentage of your income until you’re able to return. My employer provides long-term disability at no cost to us, but I am responsible for short-term. Again, my dad’s heart surgery taught me the value of being prepared for the unexpected.

Life insurance: My current policy sucks. It will pay out 2x my annual salary if I kick the bucket. Which, given the recent paycheck situation, probably wouldn’t be enough to pay for my burial. Whether or not I find another job, I need to get a life insurance quote to find additional coverage. That way I know my son will be provided for if anything happens to me.

Dental insurance: A few years ago, a dental cleaning revealed cavities for the first time in my life. Apparently I’ve been brushing too hard for years - so much that I brushed some of the enamel off my teeth, leaving them more vulnerable to cavities. I’m almost done with all my dental work, but I don’t want to risk having issues later and having them dismissed as preexisting.

Are you covered in case of emergency? What types of insurance have saved your butt in the past?

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  • Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

    Renters insurance really is a forgotten coverage. I never had it when I was renting, but luckily nothing ever happened for me to need it. Like you said, Andrea, it’s pretty cheap (less than a tank of gas) and could really save some significant money in the event of a robbery, fire, etc. Health insurance s a toss-up in my opinion. For me, I think it would be better f I could have my employer add the premiums they currently pay to my salary and have me find my own coverage. Sometimes, the idea of having full benefits blinds people to the fact that the insurance provided by the employer isn’t as great as what can be had on their own in terms of type of plan, acceptance, deductibles,and so forth.

    If you are technically an independent contractor, maybe you can form an LLC or S-corp and look for a company that will offer small-business coverage or have it run through a cafeteria or HSA plan so you can at least get the tax benefits.

  • Jesort415

    I am here to ADVOCATE for adequate renter’s insurance. When our home flooded during Hurricane Irene I called our insurance company realizing they don’t cover flood damage but they do cover loss of use. We couldn’t use our home for 7 days and had to stay at a hotel for 2 of them. I was floored to get a check for over 5k because we had sump pump coverage. What was explained to me was we didn’t have flood coverage but we did have coverage should our sump pump fail which it did when the power went out. None of our renter neighbors were as lucky; they got about 300 for their loss if anything. My adjusted explained that most people only think to insure the part of the home where they live. We didn’t, we have our washer and storage area in the basement. I mentioned that when getting coverage. The additional coverage was $15.00 per year…our whole policy was $217 PER YEAR!! That may seem like a lot but truth be told the 5k is gone and I am still replacing stuff…imagine if I didn’t have that 5k to begin with. This was only my 2nd year with coverage and I am sure my premium will go up at renewal but to me it’s worth it. While I know plenty of people who use their tax refund checks for fun I use a small portion of it for some security, I pay my premium for the year in full (which also provides a discount).

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Wow, what a good reason for renter’s insurance! I hate that your house was flooded, but I’m sure it was a relief to get that insurance check instead of starting from scratch. Renter’s insurance is awesome!

      • Jesort415

        I agree. This is my fourth apartment since moving out and the first time I had renters insurance. I never thought living in NY I would have a flood or earthquake happen to me…I mean a burglary yes, house fire yes, drunk friend break something, yes so it’s one of those you don’t think you need it but when you stuff hits the fan wish you had it kind of things

  • Michelle

    I don’t have life insurance, but I’m not in a huge rush for that as I have no family or kids.

  • Rachel

    Here’s the deal on car insurance. If you are making payments, your contract requires you to have car insurance. If your finance company discovers that you don’t have car insurance, they have a couple of options. They can insure the vehicle for you and pass on the premium to you, or they can repossess the vehicle. If you total out a vehicle without insurance and your finance company finds out about it, the contract ends as the collateral no longer exists. The balance is due immediately. The car will be sold for salvage and the balance put toward your loan. The rest is due immediately, and they will sue the pants off you for that money. This is just dumb. Always have full coverage on a car you still make payments on.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Thanks, Rachel! I’m so glad to have your wealth of knowledge here for my readers - hopefully they’re paying attention to the comments.

  • Paula Pant

    Thanks to reading PF blogs, I started thinking about long-term disability insurance a few weeks ago after reading a post on it. I’d never considered it before, but I think I’m going to buy some for both myself and my boyfriend. Our ability to work is our most important asset. And if you’d insure your car or home, why wouldn’t you insure your most important asset?