Your worries are over. Peace of mind can be yours all the days of your life. Is there any other place in the world where there’s insurance available for practically anything you do? Probably not. It’s a huge business and those engaged in it seem never to rest when it comes to devising new forms of coverage and collecting additional premiums. This thought occurred to me the other day when I phoned in for Broadway show tickets and was asked whether I wanted to insure them. Did that mean the show might not go on? Or that I could collect if the lead actor was, for that performance, replaced by an understudy? No, it meant that if for some reason my wife and I couldn’t make it, they’d reimburse us for the price of the tickets. How much would it cost? Fifteen dollars a ticket! No thanks.
After I hung up I mentioned this to my wife whose response goes, “Better take the insurance – you never know”. Sickness, an emergency, terrible weather – why take a chance?” So I phoned back and bought the insurance ($15 per ticket, each costing $115).
That incident got me thinking about all the other insurance options out there. Of course everyone knows about life insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, home owner insurance, etc.; the fact that our bank deposits are insured by the FDIC, and that when we retire most qualify for Social Security benefits. Old timers probably recall those days when an insurance agent stopped by at the house each week to collect 25 cents for life insurance. Not long after that era out at the airport you’d find applications for flight insurance, where for a pittance you could purchase very substantial coverage.
Today insurance policies are written, as you know, to protect you against a wide array of problems and unexpected expenses: There is health insurance for your dog or cat. If you’re planning an excursion, insurance can cover you (if you’re unable to make the trip) and for all sorts of misadventures along the way. You can purchase weather insurance and collect should your party or event get interrupted or cancelled. If you’re a Hollywood producer you’d be advised to sign up for insurance to protect against shooting schedules going awry or if your lead actor gets sick and abandons the project. If you expect to hold onto your car for a long time, repair insurance could come in handy. If you fear outliving your money, and then becoming ill, better look into long-term care insurance.
According to experts, some insurance out there doesn’t make much sense because in certain instances you’re already covered. Specific disease coverage (heart, cancer, diabetes, asthma) may be comforting but isn’t recommended. Extended warranties on household products are costly and usually not necessary. Neither is rental car insurance: chances are your auto insurance policy covers you when driving rentals. If you own an old car, collision insurance is a luxury you can probably do without. Credit card loss insurance belongs in that same category since most card issuers may hold you liable for very modest sums.
Expect the insurance industry to remain creative and look to devise unique policies with potentially broad appeal. Allow me to offer a few suggestions. How about marriage insurance? After three or five years, or some other specified period, you and your spouse will each be compensated when the divorce is granted. While this could encourage marital breakups, why maintain a relationship that just isn’t working? Plus, the money could result in a more amicable breakup. Coverage for the following situation could be expensive but may just be worth the cost. I’m talking about insuring the fact that you and your spouse will have a child together (an added rider could specify gender). If it’s not happening (after a given period of time), you will certainly need the money for IVF procedures or to pursue adoption. As for those kids, the insurance industry might consider working out a premium schedule for school grade insurance (No As or Bs and you collect), or for graduation from college in six years, or insurance coverage in the event your young adult doesn’t, after college graduation, move out of your house after a given period of time. And finally, they might consider “social mobility” insurance to compensate you if your son or daughter manages to do no better than you did economically.
There may also be a future for baldness insurance and coverage for gambling losses. The possibilities, you see, are many. Because we’ve become a predominantly service society, there’s reason to expect that some of the products just proposed may soon be on the market. Insurance salesmen will only be too happy to describe their benefits and sell them to you.