About stuff (including me and writing)

Monday, April 30, 2007


During college, I remember reading that Jim Elliot didn't do insurance: he believed it was like gambling. At the time, I sort of cared what Jim Elliot and his widow Elizabeth purportedly believed.

These days, especially as I'm wrestling with a balance between hope and healthy skepticism, I find myself revisiting the Jim Elliot position. Is the wise and responsible thing to carry as much insurance as possible, because we prepare for the worst? Or, to put that money elsewhere becuase we hope for the best?

When I moved to Lynn last summer I was floored to find that my car insurance went up by nearly 100%. (I'd paid $1100 the year before and got a bill for $2000 in Lynn.) Drivers in my new urban hometown are, statistically, just that bad, I guess. I got on the phone to alert my insurance company of what must surely be a mistake, discovered it apparently was not, but reduced my coverage in a few areas to get it down to $1400. Over the course of this last year I've carried this weight around with me. For some arbitrary reason, this was an unacceptable amount for me to pay for car insurance.

I vowed I would not pay another annual bill over $1000. Now, you should know that Massachusetts has no Geicko. Insurance rates are mandated and non-competitive. Everybody offers the exact same thing. It's all determined by where you live, what you drive, and how you drive. Still, it drove me absolutely crazy that my good friend with self-admittedly tarnished driving record (sometimes an accident a year) in the town next door was paying less than me.

So, this morning I talked to my carrier again, and got my bill down to $1000. I am now carrying the bare legal minimums in every category, and have canceled comprehensive on my own aging car. (I figured out I was double covering my own personal human body between car and health insurance, too.)

In the shower after I got off the phone with the insurance agent - who didn't even try to talk me into keeping higher coverage, I started to panic a little bit. What if I hit someone and maxed out my insurance coverage? What if I drove into a 7-11 store? And, I remembered that nothing inside the walls of my condo is insured, either. What if it's all destroyed by fire and rain?

Driving in to school I was super-concentrating. Please note that I'm an excellent driver (my dad lets me drive slow in the driveway), and have only one accident on my insurance record ever in the history of the world, and it was minor, and it was raining. But, it was raining on the way in to work this morning. What have I done?! Did I do the unwise thing, banking (literally) on the hope that all will be well?

When I pulled into my spot behind my building this morning, I bumped into the brick wall before I put the car in park.


Mrs. SeƱora Cobbey said...

Insurance is the bane of my existence.

It is the reason I'm working more. I'm basically bringing home the same as I did before I started working more, but now the extra amount I making is going to some company who will get fat and engorged on my hard earned money all because they're banking that I'm not going to die. Sick.

I hate insurance.

Rini said...

Um. Did you post this while "working" at your job at an insurance company?

"Thank you for calling [insert name of Monica's employer here]. How may I help you hate us?"