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By: Marie White
A friend of mine asked me to read her nephews essay that he wrote for one of his scholarship applications. It is a very good essay and clearly explains what many people don't understand about why we all need car insurance. Please take the time to read and if you have any questions about your own insurance, don't hesitate to contact me directly. Marie White
Any person can venture on an insurance company website to find the list of ten or fifteen different reasons to get insurance ranging from “It is the law,” to “Peace of Mind.” However, personally, I believe we need to look at the family to realize that not having insurance can have a devastating impact on the financial and personal well-being of all individuals. Dealing with medical cost and property damage to one’s own vehicle or that of others can be overwhelming. If one does not have insurance, the majority, if not all of his/her assets can be relinquished or lost due to the extensive costs. Whether the accident was caused by the family member or by an uninsured motorist, the damages are costly. Imagine having to personally pay for damages while trying to support a family.
Food and clothing costs have skyrocketed in the last few years. Health insurance costs are also high. Raising a family, education costs, and utility costs are incredible. Families need to work to pay for all of these. Often this means traveling an hour or better to get to work on some very busy highways. What happens if an accident occurs no matter who is to blame. Temporary loss of employment, injury, or property damages have a truly negative impact of the family. Many families have only one car, don’t live near a metro-stop or train station, and may not have someone to watch children while they are incapacitated. Any or all of these instances may occur. Where do you turn? Who can you trust?
What if your car is stolen or vandalized? Who would take care of that without insurance? The cost would fall to the family and again cut into the normal living costs.
Car insurance is the safety net to help people monetarily as well as medically. Besides helping to pay for property damages, it may also supplement your health insurance by covering injuries you may sustain as a result of the accident. It also provides legal protection for the family and possibly even an attorney to handle any legal issues which stem from the accident. It may also prevent the family from declaring bankruptcy which would impact their future buying power by changing the family’s credit rating. It could also affect their use of credit cards almost immediately. This has a major impact of family life causing even more stress than may have been previously experienced.
Your loan companies won’t stop asking for payments for the mortgage, credit card balances, or car payments. Groceries will still be needed to feed the family. Medical insurance still needs to be paid. Companies don’t stop asking because you are in a hospital bed unable to work or a family member has been seriously injured or killed. You, as the driver, have a responsibility to your family to mediate this possibility by looking at your insurance coverage.
It is important for a family to weigh the options which are offered by insurance companies. Of course, we all know that insurance is mandatory even though some drivers still choose to take the chance of not having any. More important, however, is the cost of not having insurance. Because accidents do happen, more than six million car accidents per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the average cost of an accident is $9,300 without including disabling injuries, no one can really afford not to include car insurance in their budget.
Also, as a driver, you must be aware of what is in your policy. Some insurance covers liability others may not. You should get to know your insurance agent as well so you are fully aware of what is covered and what is not. Be insurance savvy. Your agent is not your enemy.
What is also important is that you are a safe driver. Abide by the rules of the road. Don’t drink and drive. Be aware of weather conditions. We often think about ice in the winter, but what about the rain in the spring, or the sun shining in your eyes in the summer, or even the wet leaves on the road in the fall. All of these can be hazards. Make sure your car is in safe working conditions and that your tires are not worn. Make sure your gas gauge is not on empty and your oil has been changed regularly. If you have a broken window, make sure it gets fixed. You, as the driver, are the most important person in the car. You have the life of your passengers in your hands. Distracted driving has been a major problem and is getting worse. Cell phones, texting, ear-buds, and even loud passengers can distract you. There are so many variable that affect driving. Being tired or stressed also can affect anyone and the result may be disastrous. Insurance companies cannot monitor these conditions, but you can. Again, you are responsible for yourself, your car, and your passengers. You truly are in charge.
I have learned a lot in my short two-year driving career. Fortunately I have not had to experience a catastrophe due to an accident, but I have seen other people injured because of another’s inexperience or carelessness. My family has stressed the importance of putting the cell phone in the back seat and keeping music at a low volume. Now I have other brothers and sisters who will be driving soon. Hopefully, I will have set a good example for them as well as keeping them safe while they are riding with me.
We all need this “Safety Net.” Accidents are just that, accidents. Some may be due to driver error or weather conditions, but usually no one purposely causes an accident. Insurance is your protection against whatever conditions you encounter. Your family needs this protection in order to maintain their lifestyle no matter what that lifestyle may be. Protect your family and protect yourself from whatever may occur on the highway. Be responsible, courteous, and safe.
Written by Jacob McCabe