I was recently invited by my bank to go into the local branch for a ‘free financial review’. Of course what they actually mean is ‘please come in so we can try and sell you things’, but it was a slow week, and working at home makes you a little desperate for adult company, so I thought I’d give it a go. Needless to say I left the review with even fewer products than I started with.
Generally I’m one of life’s risk takers. It almost seems to be a self-destructive thing sometimes – I will deliberately be late back for the car park, always have that extra shot of sambuca, and occasionally I even leave my front door wide open when I go out, just to see what happens. Don’t tell anyone that though – I don’t want burglars.
There are a wealth of insurance products which, in my eyes, are a complete waste of money. Take critical illness cover for example. This would apparently cover me in the event of an accident or illness that left me unable to work. OK, sounds useful you might think, although to be honest there are quite a few diseases I feel I could work through – you don’t even actually need your legs to sit and type to you? Hands though – they’re more crucial, although the fact that I am typing this one-handed whilst holding a piece of toast and marmite shows I could probably get by if a freak yachting accident or similar severed just my left hand.
Read the small print though and you find things have to be pretty dire before they will pay out. Take the hands for instance – if I get them trapped in a spinning jenny or such like, and get them chopped off just above the wrist, I may have to soldier on, bashing out blog posts with my bloody stumps. I’m only covered if I stick my arms right into the machinery and get them severed right up above the elbow…
There are of course some things you really do need – car insurance is a legal requirement, and building and contents insurance are always worth a punt too. I don’t own my house, so I only have to insure the contents, but the basic package is so cheap I know I wouldn’t forgive myself if the house burnt down and I was forced to move in with my mother.
In a world where every event is apparently insurable, I have managed to identify some clear gaps in the market. These are my kinds of insurance, the type of thing you really do want to take precautions against:
Bad date insurance – dating is always a risky business, and you never know when you might find yourself having lunch with someone who twiddles the hair on their mole as they speak. Similarly, there is always the danger you’ll end up doing something mortifyingly embarrassing like pouring red wine in your lap or throwing up in someone’s face. (It’s a long shot I know…) Other than travelling back in time, there is little you can do to get back the precious lost hours, but this policy would try to take the pain away with a giant chocolate chip cookie, large glass of wine and £50 Marks and Spencer voucher, payable immediately at the end of the date, as you sit in the car with your head in your hands.
The next step up would then be Full Boyfriend Insurance – when you first meet he seems like Mr Right – charming, considerate, self-assured. You decide to take a chance, and over the initial months, maybe years, you lay out a considerable emotional investment. When he turns out to be a cheat/lazy good-for-nothing/conman you feel rightly let down. In the event of being dumped/having to dump, this policy would pay out one tub of Ben and Jerry’s per night, a subscription to Love Film and two cases of Chardonnay, with payments reducing incrementally over the recovery period.
Unwanted Christmas present insurance – I thought this would be a fantastic idea – a policy that would replace Body Shop White Musk gift sets and tasteless jewellery with Green and Blacks hampers. But then I told Bee about it – “I think that’s called a receipt,” she said. D’oh!