I came across another reason this week why you should avoid getting any older. If I ranked them this latest reason would be top ten, definitely. The topic is life insurance, the consumer product everyone hates to buy, but is so glad they did, although those who buy it and get to use it never really experience the payoff.
Like most things we do, Rosemarie and I have always had life insurance based on its practicality. We figure if one of us has to go it’d be very helpful if there were a sudden rush of funds for the remaining partner to do things like pay off the mortgage, or pay all the medical services that failed to save our dear one. Then too, maybe the surviving spouse just buys a few fun things to help the healing process.
The problem with insurance is that you are at the mercy of the insurer. I’ve even had a policy cancelled on me that was supposed to take me to my grave, so to speak, or so spoke the guy who sold it to me. When that happened I discovered the only kind of insurance I could get is known as term. These are policies that usually run annually or even month-to-month and if the company still likes you, you can renew them. Eventually, however, the age factor kicks in. Obviously, the older you get, the more risk you become to insure. Makes sense, but here is where it gets ugly.
Insurance companies can be ruthless. Don’t believe everything they advertise. Indeed, you may not be in the best hands and when the critical time comes, that company may not be there. Bless them, however, these fine companies, because they really do not like to terminate the policy. Terminating must have some possible backlash of sorts. This is why they find other ways to end the policy. If you have reached the little quadrant in their life-expectancy chart, you are in the danger zone. Do not expect the happy relationship you’ve had with your insurance company to continue much longer. You are about to be dumped. But more than likely, it is you who will terminate the policy. How come? Check out this letter I got last week…
“Dear Policy Owner: (Ah gee, they must have forgotten my name) Thank you for being a valued Transamerica customer. We appreciate your business (actually, it’s the $878 check I send them twice a year that they find to their liking) and the opportunity to assist in securing your financial future.” (Note: it’s their financial future they’re really interested in).
The letter goes on to explain that my premium will be going up. Hey, nothing new there. Premiums always go up, don’t they? But this particular increase is taking the express escalator. And, to clarify, they type the payment period in caps: “SEMI ANNUAL.”
Now remember, they are not terminating the policy, merely increasing the premium now that I have gotten a little older…or in other words, nearer to the age when people begin dying. And just so I know, they alert me to the fact that each year as policy renewal time rolls around, I will be getting other kind letters of appreciation…along with an annual rate hike. Aren’t they caring to make things so clearly understood?
Of course, I realize that you’ve been waiting for me to tell you how much this first rate hike is. Trust me, it’s worth waiting for. And while you’re waiting, I will admit I called that 800 number the Colonial Penn Insurance Company was advertising on TV. But now I’m tainted…I was turned down. No, not because of any health reasons, but because I am terminating my current insurance. Remember, my insurance company is not terminating my policy, they are merely raising the rate. It is I who has decided not to renew. That makes me the terminator and there’s a Florida law that says if a policy-holder terminates the insurance, he cannot go out and get another policy with a new company. Why? I’m not sure. Colonial Penn knew enough about the law to turn me down, but had sketchy reasons as to the why. I shall have to investigate further.
Of course, the real loser in all this is Rosemarie. If I go first and it’s not in some kind of accident, then she’ll get nothing. And here she had her heart set on a silver Mercedes SL. Too bad because she deserves one.
Okay it’s 11 o’clock; here’s the film….the rate hike takes my SEMI ANNUAL premium from