Insurance!

Listening to: Alesso – Tear The Roof Up (I’m not sure why but despite knowing the title, I continued to believe the lyrics were “I’m going to tear the booth up”)

It’s time for a blog post! I’m sitting at home alone, eating some FREE food I got from the chinese supermarket right by my house. I get points to spend at the market deli based on how much I spend on groceries, but the points expire every half month. Which is the most ridiculous deadline I’ve ever heard of! But basically I put an event on my calendar “EAT DELI FOOD DEADLINE” to ensure I didn’t lose out on $12 of free deli food.

Anyway, life is good. Somewhat financially stressful. But I would like to think a few more salary increases from now, I’ll look back on this time and think “how silly! I have PLENTYYY of money now!”

The latest course in my adult life is something I think maybe people deal with but I can’t be too sure: INSURANCE. Here are my thoughts on it if you want the perspective of some young idiot too blessed with parents who paid most of her bills to realize how good she had it.

INSURANCE. THE LOWDOWN:

I won’t get into health insurance here, as I have yet to really deal with it and my general knowledge is that there’s a bunch of different plans that are just unnecessarily confusing and basically you can opt to pay your choice of a cheapish, more expensive, or super expensive amount each month in exchange for more or less security that you won’t be paying an ungodly amount should you come down with some horrible illness or get struck by a car or basically anything that doesn’t kill you outright.

What I’ve had to deal with recently was getting condo insurance, once I got my home. Around the same time, my mom decided she’d like to kick me off her auto insurance policy, so then I had to search around for that.

Getting home insurance is a fun little activity you have to get while you close on a home. No one really tells you about it beforehand, maybe because no one really thought you would ever be able to get a home. But yes, very shortly after you get an accepted offer, likely your mortgage person will be hitting you with a to do list, which includes finding home insurance.

If you’re like me, your reaction will be “WTF I ONLY HAVE A WEEK-ISH TO FIND AN INSURER?!?! HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHO IS THE BEST?! I NEED TO RESEARCH!!!!!!”

Calm down. You may not know what you are doing at all, but within two hours, you should have a pretty good idea. What you really need to plan for is at least four hours of your life dedicated to calling various insurers and answering a bunch of questions about yourself/your home.

Four hours sounds crazy but I think I averaged one hour per insurance provider per initial call. It’s good to know this in case you think it’ll be a quick ten minute call and then thirty minutes in, you’re fuming at the person on the phone for asking annoying questions like “how far is the closest fire hydrant? do you own a wood stove?” The best thing to do is to get a quote and then have the person on the phone go through it line by line with you. Here I found that admitting my complete lack of knowledge was beneficial.

For home insurance, here’s what you need to consider beforehand so that when the person asks you, you aren’t left going “ummmmmmmm…………………. *dead silence*” the way I might have on a few calls.
– how much is your personal property worth (ex. furniture, clothing, appliances, everything not connected to a house)
– how much is your building worth (this I admit I still have no clue so I just went with whatever my mortgage lender required as a minimum)
– how much are you going to want your deductible to be (ie. at what point are you really going to call your insurance provider and tell them to pony up for whatever has been destroyed/taken? Low amounts mean higher premiums (maybe they expect you to be a nag) and higher amounts mean lower premiums (I call it a reward for being laidback))
– general house knowledge. I won’t reveal these questions as I found them to be a fun little pop quiz “How Well Do You Know The Thing You Just Spent Hundreds of Thousands On!”

I have no idea why but I basically just called State Farm, AAA, and Costco. I’d say for a condo my size/nature it was ~$350 annual premium. If you have a single family house, it will be more expensive, since with condos, the HOA insures the exterior walls/roofs.

For auto insurance, I honestly did not ever realize how insanely expensive it was. To which I give a profound thanks to my mom for shielding me from the truth. Anyway, my mom wanted to boot me off because every time she had to renew her auto insurance, they’d pester her with questions because her two children were no longer living under her house. I guess you’re technically not allowed to insure people not actually living with you / kids past 23 years old. Somehow she’s wrangled her way past this technicality but NO LONGER she says.

So I gave some calls. Good things to have handy before you call: driver’s license number, your car’s VIN number and an estimate of your annual mileage. If you have gotten tickets or gotten into accidents, know whether it’s passed the period when it wipes off your record. I think it’s 3 years but I’m actually not sure. On the phone, the people would ask me “have you ever gotten into an accident or gotten a ticket in the past ten years” to which I had to say with some lackluster confidence “well yes BUT I KNOW it no longer counts because it’s been … like … three years! And it shouldn’t count any more!” Also, don’t lie about it. I’m pretty certain that the second your phone number pops up on their caller ID, they’re able to track down all your personal information and pull up your driving record. For all you know they’re putting into their notes “LIAR. MARK UP PREMIUM.”

When you get your quote you will find out that a relatively large part of your premium is to protect against people without insurance coverage. To which I say WHO ARE YOU FUCKERS WITHOUT INSURANCE!!!

Then they ask how much do you want your coverage to be? $100K, 250K, 500K? And not just for all encompassing things, but they consider it by person, and then by accident, and then again for motorists vs. drivers vs. nature and then again for uninsured vs. insured and sometimes vs. underinsured. Basically they have found a large number of permutations in which you will have to pay premiums for.

Once again you’ll have to think about your deductible amount – how much will it take before you decide to complain to your insurance company and try to get them to pay? Based on my mom’s old policy, I did $500, though at heart I really am a $1,000 deductible kind of person. I’m pretty much like, take whatever money you want from me, as long as it’s not $1,000″

Weirdly sometimes the companies quote semiannually and others may do annually. Make sure to clarify so you can give the quote the proper WTF THIS MUCH!?!??! reaction. Also, one thing that’s easier said than done is to get quotes for all the same coverages so you can actually compare apples to apples. I found that this was near impossible for me to do without making a second or third follow-up call/e-mail. Each company you talk to might have a different minimum and each person you talk to will probably have a different emphasis on whatever coverage. So every time I talked to someone I’d walk away thinking “YEAH! THIS is the right amount of coverage!”

Next is what I call, insurance for the fabulous. Extra Credit Insurance. Umbrella policies! Basically this is the “what if someone sues your ass” policy. Umbrella must stand for “when the shit storm comes for you.” Basically in the event someone tries to sue you and it goes beyond whatever personal liability was on your auto/house, this gives you at a minimum, $1M coverage. I found that it’s typically ~$180ish if you get it with your same auto insurance carrier, $350 if you try to do it separate.

And that’s all there is to it! Actually there’s probably much more but I need to clean my house now. This is my life now.

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Home vs. travel

Just a little over two months now being a homeowner. It’s oddly like being in a new relationship. It chugs slowly along at first, but maybe a few months from now I’ll be surprised by how long I’ve lived there.

The good news is that I’ve ordered a coffee table, bookshelf, dresser and nightstand and I bought some outdoor furniture. This leaves the main items left to purchase: dining chairs, rugs and a living room lamp. I guess I’ll find out just how much I love everything when it comes together (expected delivery early next week). There are already a handful of things I look at with guilt (I’m looking at you, couch and dresser) because I can’t look at them with a prideful “WHAT A GREAT DEAL!” It’s more of an embarrassed “yeah I like it … but it was kind of expensive …”

I do love waking up in the morning and looking out my view. Sadly I only have about five minutes of looking out in the morning and about thirty at night (aka oatmeal time and dinner time). Because there are so many trees overhanging the houses, there are a TON of spiders. I’d say I see at least one every day. Once Robyn was freaking out about a spider and I came to take care of it and when I saw what she was looking at, I went “oh … I thought you were talking about the giant one on the ceiling”

I used to be a spider saver and pick them up and take them outside. They eat bugs after all! I think they are of no harm. At this point though, I just kill them because I know for every one I kill there are probably a handful just lurking somewhere else. I guess my thought is that for each one that I save and take outside, they might use their borrowed time to find a mate and lay egg to hundreds of other spiders.

I’m reading The Fault in Our Stars right now. It’s a little eye rolly at times but I suppose I need to put myself in a young adult’s shoes. Reading about people traveling makes me a little sad because now I don’t feel like I can travel as easily and in addition to thinking about scheduling vacation time, I really have to consider the cost. My mom had sent me a ton of cheaper, though much less desirable houses when I was looking, because she figured if I was so reluctant to give up traveling, maybe I should just settle for a lesser house.

I think in the end, while I don’t think I can travel as freely as I used to, being able to wake up every day in a place I love vs. having a two week travel experience is better. Hopefully my salary doesn’t stay stagnant for the rest of my life, and one day, I’ll no longer be scrutinizing my expenses so carefully. So I can eventually travel, but I do believe the house I got was pretty perfect at the perfect time.

Upon rereading this, I realized that I spun a book about teenage kids with cancer into an entry about how jealous I am that they were able to travel. I’m terrible.