Today Brendan Dale of the Take Charge of Your Money blog shares his biggest financial mistake he made.
I can so relate to this story, because if the bank I loan my car from didn’t force me to take out insurance for my vehicle, I probably would’ve opted not to pay insurance.
Bad choice, right?
We sometimes make wrong choices, because we want to cut costs (save money). BUT we should be careful on where we cut costs – some things are non-negotiable.
Anyway, over to Brendan…
MY BIGGEST MONEY MISTAKE
It’s actually quite embarrassing to even be sharing this story, but I was young and naive and in hindsight it’s probably a good thing that I learned my lesson when I was still resilient enough to deal with it.
I was probably around the age of 20 when I bought my first car. It was a brand new car, a VW Citi Golf and I was really proud if it (even though it was the lowest of the range and cheapest car on the market at the time).
It was obviously very exciting and quite a big thing deal for me!
At the time I was working for a company which offered insurance packages to employees at highly discounted prices. This was definitely a bonus and one of the factors that made the purchase more affordable.
In fact, buying a brand new car was possibly a mistake at the time. I couldn’t really afford it, but being young it’s easy to make sacrifices and one’s priorities are also a bit skewed.
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All was fine though until I changed jobs though and lost my discounted insurance benefit. That’s when I made the terrible mistake of not taking out car insurance.
It was just too expensive and it seemed a good way to save money. However, as luck would have it (or not), my car was stolen only a week or two after and I ended up in a situation where I was paying monthly installments for a car which I no longer had!
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Let’s just say it was devastating, heart-breaking and absolutely awful! I remember a period in life where I was walking seriously long distances or taking public transport where I could.
I even bought a cheap bicycle at one point but the darned thing kept giving me trouble. I don’t really know how I made it through the next year or so, but somehow I got by.
The lesson learned is that as much as I despise paying insurance, it really is necessary!
You can weigh up the risk and benefits and opt for a higher co-payment should something happen, or reduce certain benefits in order to make it more affordable. But, don’t think that nothing will ever happen to you or your possessions.
It is crazy to think that the one and only time in the last 20 years that I’ve had my car stolen was also the only time that I didn’t have insurance. Bad luck, Karma, Murphey’s Law; call it what you like but it was a life lesson and one which I thankfully survived.
WHAT I DO DIFFERENTLY NOW
Keep all details up to date
Whenever anything changes that could possibly affect my insurance, I notify my insurer immediately! Sometimes I even call just to ask them a question as I would hate to be get into a bad situation simply because I didn’t know better.
Things that are vital to keep updated are your residential address and contact details. Where you park your car; whether other people drive your car; crossing country borders and so on. If in doubt, call!
Verify all details and negotiate the premium annually
Each year when the policy is renewed I go through all details and make sure that everything is still correct and relevant. I also double-check all the benefits and co-payment clauses and of course the “fine print”.
Generally speaking the benefits are reduced but the premium goes up, and that’s when you need to call and negotiate a better deal. I don’t like calling other insurers for quotes and playing the companies up against each other, but every now and then you need to see what other companies are charging and make sure that you are getting a fair deal.
Always consider whether I can afford the worst-case scenario
Finally, whenever making a decision regarding insurance, I always consider the worst case. What would the consequences of my decision be and would I be able to afford it.
It was a tough lesson to learn and definitely nothing that I would want anyone else to have to experience. So, go check up on your insurance policies now and make sure you’re covered!
Thank you Brendan!
Brendan has helpful saving and investing tips on his blog and social media channels.
What did you find interesting about Brendan’s story? Please tell me in the comments below.