With insurance, a call for help isn't always a good call

Central Florida Future, August 25, 2003
A Newspaper of University of Central Florida
By Jerrod Rockhill

It's the end of the month; bills are already lining my mailbox. If you're like me, managing your account as well as paying all these bills on time is a part time job in itself. Since my checks are pretty much rubber coated, money is the bigger issue in paying bills.

Unfortunately, insurance consumes nearly half my monthly income, and if I were to get into an accident, Ramen Noodles wouldn't even be a budget cutting idea, as I probably couldn't afford to eat.


It's nearly a requirement to have to live, and if you drive a car, it is legally required.

So put yourself in this hypothetical situation: You're getting done with a busy day running errands and class. Start the car, shift into gear, and slowly back up. At the same time, the person you just crossed paths with in the parking lot is doing the same exact thing.

Wham! You just backed into each other.

How do you handle such a minor accident? You're supposed to notify the authorities, your insurer, and wait for either to show up. After a grueling few hours of interviews, papers, and statements, it's time to head back home.

A few weeks later, after paying your deductible, getting the respective repair checks or reimbursements and fixing your rather minor damage, an insurance statement arrives. With caution, you slowly slaughter the envelope and tear out the gored remains to find out that your premium has gone up a few hundred dollars for one to three years.

You can't cancel your insurance, because you can't drive without it. Switching companies won't save you much either if you do get in an accident, so you just take the hit and pay more, in this case far more in the long run than the cost of the accident.

Half the reason insurance is so high is because we're young - we're statistically more likely to get in accidents because of combined inexperience behind the wheel and hormones that make us do stupid things with cars.

This is why our generation is getting the blame for the insurance crisis we see today: a cycle of accidents, lawsuits, and increased premiums.

Everyone sees that we get in more accidents, so we're why insurance companies have to charge more, to recoup what we're costing them. The trouble is, we're not the ones filing the lawsuits, the part of the cycle that costs insurers the most. The older generations are doing all that suing.

College students can't afford attorneys, and we can't afford to fight insurance companies. We take what they give us, and pay what they demand of us.

Aside from being financially unable to sue an insurance company, we also statistically die in accidents more often, and dead people don't sue anyone.

I shouldn't be responsible to pay $200 a month because the people before me thoughtlessly sued each other over bent fenders, scraped paint, and caved-in doors.

Two hundred dollars a month to make a few trips to school, the grocery store, and the occasional trip to the video store is blatantly and legally robbing you blind. With the price of gas and payments on a $16,000 auto loan to pay, I don't see how the corporate sector expects us to ever be financially independent from our aging near-retirement parents.

I say the next minor accident, you skip the phone call to your insurer. After all, you can buy a moped for the price of a deductible. It'll probably save you a few hundred dollars in the long run.

That possibly could be bad advice, but if money is in the best interest of everyone, you should make it yours as well.

Copyright Central Florida Future

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