The Cost of Insurance: Investment in the Future or Profits for Today?

As I was paying my auto insurance, it occurred to me that I’ve using the same business for years now, but I couldn’t remember what the guy looked like or what the name of the place was. Yet every month, I’m writing a check to Casualty, Indemnity and Capital, Inc. (or something like that). My bill comes from the actual insurance company, somewhere else, like California, and this guy in my city is their “Agent”.

I estimated that for the twenty years that I have been driving, the insurance company has collected thousands and thousands of dollars from me, and I have only filed a claim once. That’s a good chunk of change for them. It certainly can’t hurt that their product is legally proscribed.

Hmm, whose big idea was that?

Compulsory auto insurance is an example of the power of big money convincing government policy makers that its needs are a higher priority than the average Joe. It’s the Land of Freedom, they say. Choosing which flavor you would like of the same old same old is Not Freedom, I say.

What is the real reason we buy insurance?

Beyond auto insurance, which is not optional, we have health plans (why “plans”?), homeowners insurance (mostly for the real homeowner which is the bank that holds the title), and renters insurance. Businesses have Workmans Comp insurance and insurance for the equipment and inventory, as well as for the building. We even have “life” insurance.

What need or desire or fear drives us to pay for these “insurances”? Do we actually expect to pay a lot for our medical care before we die? Or that our basement will flood, our house will burn down or the roof get blown off? I don’t, and I don’t think most people do.

We all want to feel safe, whatever that means to us. Maybe it goes like this: “If something happened and I didn’t have insurance, that could be bad, I’ve heard. I’d better get it, cause you just never know.” So, I purchase this so-called health insurance, and it comes right out of my paycheck, so I don’t even miss the money. One day, I slip on the ice and break my wrist. I go see the doc, paying him his cut, thinking that it’s so great that I have insurance, ’cause something happened, and it seems so cheap to get fixed up. Then I realize that I can’t go back to work at Aunt Sally’s Famous Old Time Ice Cream Parlor, as I now have a broken wrist. So, I call up the “insurance” company and ask for money to live on until I am able to go back to building custom ice cream cakes. “No money for you”, they say. “We paid the doctor and so did you, so we’re even. And your next payment better not be late, or we’ll cancel your policy.”

Does that make ya feel safe?

How about “life” insurance? There hasn’t been one instance yet of someone not dying because they have life insurance. Health insurance? If we spent even half of the money that we currently spend on insurance on taking care of our own health through diet and exercise and living clean, we would be way ahead physically and financially. But that means taking personal responsibility for your life, and not many of us want to do that.

We’d rather pay the expert to fix us. We want someone else to kill the snakes for us, as Donovan said. The government will take care of me, make sure everything’s alright. The school will teach me all I need to know. My boss and his boss are looking out for my best interest. My banker loves me, and all of those nice credit card people want to help me. Let me tell ya, any business selling you something that you don’t need but feel compelled to buy out of fear is not looking out for you

Let’s take responsibility for our own bodies, our own minds, our own lives. Let’s not leave it up to big money.


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Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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