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Insurance Reviews - Are Yours Up To Date?

There's a train of thought that people in given industries aren't always the best at following their own advice or maintaining their own requirements in the same way they look after their clients.

The saying goes "You can always tell a cobbler by his shoes." Meaning he is so busy repairing others' shoes he doesn't have time for his own.

Well, I've had need to reflect on my own insurance programme this week when I was met with the unexpected situation of urinating a bladder full of blood.

It was Sunday morning and I'd just got back from a two hour bike ride. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as I've been on a health and fitness regime for the past month that has borne some pretty impressive (if I don't say so myself) results.

Training for the Auckland marathon I have been clocking up to 70k's on the road and a change in diet to exclude sugars and carbs has seen a weight loss of over 8kg in little over a month. I know many of you will say I needed to - and it's hard to disagree.

So, there I am Sunday feeling pretty pleased with myself until relieving myself and looking like I've just peed Ribena. Having had a friend experience the same less than 3 years ago and subsequently die of cancer seven months later you can imagine where my mind raced to.

Further toilet stops on Sunday revealed no further blood although it re-appeared the following morning again after exercise. A doctor's visit Monday led to an ultrasound of kidneys, bladder and prostate on Tuesday. Further blood was present after Tuesday exercise and the initial prognosis was possible exercise induced hematuria.

The ultrasound gave an all clear to the kidneys but suggested the prostate was slightly enlarged. Blood tests and mid stream urine tests are scheduled for Friday and given the doctor is happy to discuss the test results next week there seems to have been a reduced urgency to the exercise.

A quick Google search (where would we be without that) indicates that enlarged prostate is almost a given with age - a bit like grey hair. So, while I don't yet have a definitive answer, I'm a lot less worried than I was on Sunday.

So what's the point of all this? Well, at the height of my angst I thought about what insurance I had in place depending on the possible outcomes. So I did a quick rundown in my head as to what covers I had.

Firstly, I have Medical Insurance so the cost of the ultrasound, and any other specialist consultations and tests are covered.

I have Disability Income Protection so that if I was going to be off work for any treatment and/or recovery I would receive a benefit to replace my lost income.

I have Trauma Cover which would pay out if I was diagnosed with cancer and would provide a lump sum either to assist with lost income or meet unexpected costs that might come along - overseas medical treatment for example.

I have three forms of Life Cover

  • A monthly benefit payable on death that would ensure there would be regular household income to allow my children to complete their university studies. This policy will expire in 3 years time when the need (education) has passed.
  • Lump sum cover to clear debt.
  • Lump sum cover for the orderly transfer of the business to my business partner.

I also have Total Permanent Disablement - a lump sum cover again linked to the transfer of ownership within the business.

The cover levels for all policies are more than adequate to meet their objectives and in fact I probably have too much life cover given debt has now been repaid. I've kept the policy because the premiums don't increase before age 80 and long term it is affordable. If I had been paying annually by age I would probably have cancelled this policy as the debt was cleared. Now, the less than $1,000 a year annual premium for $500,000 of cover looks remarkably like good value.

The point of insurance is to provide a financial buffer when the unexpected occurs.

Health wise, going from feeling the best I have in the past 10 years to suddenly questioning my mortality was a reminder that we do become more vulnerable with age.

I was satisfied that my own insurance protection programme was more than adequate so I didn't qualify as "The Cobbler". It was a stark reminder that the time to review a risk programme is not after an event as it might not then be possible to bring it up to date.

Collectively, we might just want to be a little more judicious in going for regular checkups and paying a little more attention to what we eat and how often exercise.

As my mum says, "we only pass this way once and you're a long time dead."

Make the most of what you have.

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