BOSTON (CBS) – Insurance is a financial tool that is used when you don’t have enough dollars in your emergency fund to cover the loss yourself.
Buying insurance is an emotional transaction. You are asking the insurance company to cover the terrible things in life that could happen to you. So it is no surprise that insurance companies have insurance for all sorts of perils. There are some policies though that may not be worth purchasing.
And every time we chat about frivolous insurance I will hear from at least one listener who used their pet insurance or auto loan insurance and begs to differ with me. It does happen but not often enough for me to make broad sweeping recommendations though.
Cancer Insurance: Don’t buy a policy that only covers one disease. Make sure you have good health insurance, disability insurance and adequate life insurance.
Flight Insurance: Odds of being killed in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. Make sure you have life insurance to cover the loss of life anywhere. Some credit cards provide flight insurance coverage.
Accidental Death Coverage: Major accidents like a fire or car accident are covered by other policies. Be sure you have adequate life insurance.
Mortgage or Auto Loan Insurance: These policies are often sold by the mortgage company or bank to insure the loan if something should happen to you. If you die the mortgage or the car is paid off. A better way is to purchase life insurance.
Life Insurance for Children: You probably don’t need it and it is a lousy way to save for the kid’s education despite what the insurance salesperson is telling you.
Credit Card Loss Protection: We all fear our credit cards or credit card numbers will be stolen because we hear so much about identity theft. But you don’t need that $200 plus a year policy to protect you. Federal law limits your losses to $50 per card. There is lots you can do to prevent identity theft.
Pet Health Care Insurance: I am not sure this is a practical purchase. But it is a personal and financial choice. Last year when I reported I did not think it was a good idea I heard from the wife of a veterinarian telling me I was all wrong.
According to Consumer Reports you would be better off beefing up your emergency fund and foregoing pet insurance. Average cost about $650 a year.
What I do know is that pet health care has become more expensive as vets are applying more people medicine to animals. There are now chiropractors, ophthalmologists as well as acupuncturists for animals. And many policies have a deductible and an annual cap of $2,000.
Best advice: To care for your beloved pet be sure you have an adequate emergency fund tucked aside.