“Your recent column on deductibles reminded me of what I found researching the cost of an individual health insurance policy last fall. In the most extreme case, to go from a $500 annual deductible to a $200 deductible, the monthly premium went from $115 per month to $194. The possibility of saving $300 in expenses increased the annual premiums by $948 or by 316%. Other policies had increases of 176%, 200% and 232% to go from a $500 deductible to $200.” – Erik Sten

A.T.: Moral? Check your current insurer (for health or auto or homeowners) and find out how much you could save going to a higher deductible. Often, it’s worth it.

“Another reason not to file a claim if the amount is slightly more than the deductible: I recently had to replace a broken windshield. The first thing they asked was whether I had insurance or not. The cost for replacement if they billed the insurance company – $850. If I paid out of my own pocket – $200.” – T.K.

A.T.: Depressing, no? And even where it’s not fraudulent, there’s a point to be made. My convertible roof was just slashed (again). To get a new roof is $1,500. To get a waterproof patch is $50. Because it’s a beat-up old car by now anyway, it would be dumb to go for anything but the patch. Yet by buying ‘comprehensive’ insurance (which I don’t), I am in effect paying a premium that not only covers the insurer’s overhead and profit, but also covers all the people who DO go the $1,500 route. (Well, it’s insured, so why not?) Yet another reason to self-insure, when you can afford to, and make your own economic choices.

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From Uvarov: “A friend of mine said he told a telemarketer, ‘My favorite show ends in 10 minutes. Hold on and we’ll talk.’ The caller said, ‘FOR TEN MINUTES!!!’ He got rid of the telemarketer.

“I was a telemarketer in high school. The first call I made, inviting the woman and her husband to a dinner, she said, ‘If you don’t know, my husband is dead, and you shouldn’t be calling.’ Ouch.”



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