Insurance Assurance

How often have you seen a news report on an apartment fire and heard these words from the reporter: “..and most of the occupants did not have insurance.”

English: Old Fire Insurance plaque at Little D...

English: Old Fire Insurance plaque at Little Durnford Manor House These metal plaques can often be seen on old buildings, and date from the time before the formation of municipal fire brigades. They were placed on fire insured buildings by the insurance company, to indicate the building was covered by their insurance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to wonder at how people could go without having their belonging insured against theft, fire, and other potential disasters.

I really am naïve about insurance and I would be the first to admit it. The only insurance that I have “purchased” was car insurance, though only collision and not comprehensive.

I am not sure when it dawned on me that “I” actually don’t have any renter’s insurance myself. If there were a fire in the buildings where I rented and lived; or if there were a plumbing mishap that led to losing my possessions; or if a burglar came in the night to rob me; I would have no way to replace my possessions, nor pay for emergency housing.

The People's Court

The People’s Court (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That is a bit of a scary thought. I don’t know how many times I have heard “Judge Judy” grilling a plaintiff or defendant and asking if they had renter’s insurance accusingly as if they were negligent by not having protection against fire or theft. Judge Milian of “The People’s Court” is not as harsh in that situation.

House Fire

House Fire

I have a good reason why I haven’t had renter’s insurance over the past twenty-odd years. I have never been able to afford it unless I decided to cut out on necessary expenses like food, heat, power, phone… It is true that I have a computer, but that’s something that for myself, I count along the lines of having a phone. I use the computer in a lot of my volunteer work and much of the time I have been using hand-me-down computers or ones I have cobbled together from spare parts. (One reason why I really hate to throw out outdated computer hardware.)

Garnisons Kirke (Garrison Church), Copenhagen,...

Garnisons Kirke (Garrison Church), Copenhagen, Denmark. Headstone for I.P.E.Hartmann. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cost of renter’s insurance would be a significant chunk of my budget. (My total budget isn’t huge.) That is as much as I would love to be insured. The same goes for most life insurance. I’d love to have enough life insurance to pay for my debts and funeral if nothing else. I don’t have any dependants. The closest thing do dependants I have being my Mother, Sister, Brother-in-law, and Friends. They are not really dependants, but would be more those who might inherit what I leave behind me.

English: ALH House Striking red brick building...

English: ALH House Striking red brick building at the corner of High Street and Queensway, Hemel Hempstead. Now housing insurance company offices. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think when they mention on news reports that victims of an apartment or house fire have no insurance, it is not disparaging. I think it is to encourage the community to rally around the victims to replace what they have lost. At least the normal physical possessions. Things like treasured photos or other items of sentimental value can’t be replaced.

I wonder… what if there were a form of insurance backed by the government for low-income families? I know insurance companies might call “foul” out of fear of losing profit. But… I am talking of folks that wouldn’t be able to pay for insurance in any case. Or… does something like this actually exist?


Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 3 of 3

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I actually think that we have had a pretty good medical system in Canada. But I think that although the expertise is here, and we have universal access, there are ways where things could be improved.

Have a look at “Is There a Doctor in the House? Part 1 of 3” and Part 2 of 3 if you missed it!

Doctors have many skills and tools for treating those who are suffering from assorted ailments: There medications for all sorts of things, surgical procedures, physical therapy, and so on. There is coverage for these treatments and the diagnostics required… except one area of the human body…

Dental hygienist polishing a patient's teeth

Dental hygienist polishing a patient’s teeth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health care, it seems, ends at the gums,

For reasons I don’t understand teeth and gums are included as part of the human body when it comes to medical coverage. It is possible to purchase additional coverage that would include dentistry. (Optometry can also be covered if you buy the extended coverage. Many companies include this extended coverage as well as paying the basic premiums. However for a large part of the population, dental care charges come out-of-pocket.

Dental care isn’t a matter strictly of cosmetic worth. People need their teeth to chew food with. Infections of teeth can spread to the jaws and other parts of the body. Bad teeth can even be a source of clots that can cause strokes, heart attacks, and pulmonary embolism among other results of thrombosis, or blood clots.

US Navy 050326-N-8629M-012 Dental Technician 2...

US Navy 050326-N-8629M-012 Dental Technician 2nd Class Adrian Murphy, left, assists Lt. Joyce Yang, as she extracts teeth with severe tooth decay at the Kalabahi Hospital in Alor, Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think that dental care would be preventative medicine when it comes to dangers of infection and blood clots. Dental care can be a life saver!

At least here in BC if cancer is detected in the mouth, some procedures are considered dental and not covered.

I think it is sad when people lose teeth due to a lack of dental care, even if they practice good oral hygiene.

Why does medical coverage end at the gums?

US Navy 030502-N-4055P-001 Cmdr. Jerry Torres,...

US Navy 030502-N-4055P-001 Cmdr. Jerry Torres, a dentist attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), injects a patient with anesthetic before repairing a tooth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t think there are very many people who “like” to go to the dentist, but the alternative is rather painful and can be severe health consequences.

We have good universal medical coverage here in Canada, but there are a few holes in it like overtaxed hospitals, a lack of universal pharmaceutical coverage, and a lack of universal dental coverage. There are other leaks in the medical dam as well.

Consider how difficult it is for smaller towns to attract medical professionals, or for many to find a family physician. (a general practitioner) Or, consider what devices like glasses and hearing aides (and their expensive batteries) cost out-of-pocket.

We have it so good in some ways, but there is much room for improvement.

Our system isn’t too bad, but it does have some holes in it. I’ll write about some more holes in the near future.

Look for Part 1 and Part 2