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Insurance: The good, the bad and the even worse

July 3, 2013
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

In our complex society, it's said that we sometimes lose sight of the forest for the trees. This seems to happen in a variety of industries, but especially in the insurance field. Car insurance, health insurance, property insurance, liability insurance or any of the other thousand types of insurances that are available, all plant trees directly in front of us, possibly blocking our view of the forest. At least that's the way I view it, as I try to peer around some of those trees.

I hear politicians talk about how Americans want affordable health insurance. Bull frockey. What Americans want, in this regard, is the same as anyone in the world wants. It isn't insurance. It's medical care when we need it. If we're healthy, we don't even think about it, but if we're sick or injured we want a medically trained person to help us. People become medically trained because they want to help us. So there you have it. Someone needs help and someone wants to provide it. Where's the problem? Could it be the millions of people who get in the middle of this transaction? Could it be the giant "Health Park" style hospitals with multimillion dollar landscapes and indoor fountains? Could it be that so many specialist doctors expect to become multi-millionaires, and charge accordingly? How about the thousands of insurance companies that act as middlemen and take a piece of the action as their fee?

Why, I wonder, do I need separate insurance policies for my vehicles, my boat, my house in case of fire, my house in case of windstorm, my house in case of flood, my business in each of the above cases, and also for liability, and workman's comp, and health insurance in case something happens and I'm not at work, in a car or a boat or at home, and I'm sure I left something out. I think I'm looking at a forest of insurance trees. It's no wonder that when I peer around the insurance trees, all I see are more insurance trees.

Now to car insurance. Florida has long had "No Fault" car insurance. This means that the policy holder, (owner of the car) has a policy that will pay any claims from an accident, regardless of which driver was at fault. So even if you have never caused an accident, your insurance company will cancel you because they had to pay out for an accident that you didn't cause. Also in Florida, if you include "comprehensive" coverage, you can get a broken windshield replaced for free, with no deductible. That does, however, give them more ammo toward canceling you. There are many other nuances to these policies which nobody understands, so the lawyers can make some money from you also. The state legislature is contemplating a change from no-fault to "traditional tort" liability insurance. Nobody understands that either, so I'm sure the lawyers won't starve.

Florida does not require any insurance on motorcycles if the rider wears a helmet. If they get the minimum insurance, they can take the helmet off. Someone seems to think that helmeted riders don't cause accidents. That seems backward. People wearing helmets are more willing to hit something, so they're more likely to have accidents. They should have the insurance. No helmet is a no brainer. Eventually.

I'm not kidding. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.



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