We had an unexpected windfall last week.
When we moved to Canada in 2004 we began to get used to the mixed blessings of the “free” health system – absolutely wonderful for life-threatening or very serious health problems, but unbelievably frustrating and worse in many ways with longer waiting times, than 3rd world Zimbabwe for less serious procedures. There was no longer a need for medical insurance (medical aid) cover, so we cancelled the relatively inexpensive but good cover we had paid for in Zimbabwe. As we were self-employed, we did as a precaution take out a hospital policy that would pay out if either of us were hospitalised or disabled though accident or illness.
After my heart attack in 2010, we remembered the policy, claimed and received a useful payout. We then forgot all about the policy. In 2011 Sue needed surgery, spent a few days in hospital and was unable to work for a month. Because it was a planned procedure, not an emergency we did not think of claiming on the policy. A few weeks ago, the insurance agent called on a routine visit, she asked how our health was and we told her about Sue’s hospital visit. She then asked if our claim had been processed efficiently and if we were happy with our payment.
We were more than surprised, we had not thought to claim.
Fortunately, we were inside the 12 month window to submit a claim and last week we received a useful cheque. This incident also reminded us that we had cover on another hospital type policy which our bank had persuaded us to take out for Sue some years ago. We submitted a claim on that one too, but have not received a payment yet.
There must be hundreds of these type of policies quietly gathering dust in filing cabinets and desk drawers around the country because people have forgotten about them. The monthly premiums are not high enough to be a constant reminder that the policies exist. Most premiums are paid automatically by bank debit. While serious and emergency hospital visits might be sufficient triggers to think about insurance policies, minor and scheduled visits in our case, were not.
A good reminder of the importance of reviewing insurance policies regularly and claiming the benefits when possible. Especially for baby boomers who might have started policies like these many years ago.
Here is a reminder about another type of insurance many of us overlook – insurance for antiques or collectibles. Don’t assume that these items will be adequately covered by a normal house holders or house owners policy. Here is a link sent by Shanna Houston, a visitor to the blog who thought it might be useful to other readers.