Why You Need Individual Insurance and When You Should Buy It

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
Originally published on June 18, 2009. Last updated July 6, 2015.

You already know everything I'm going to explain in this post, but I need to say it anyway.  It's beyond
obvious, but apparently, some people just don't get why insurance is useful.individual health insurance

I was in a deli the other day waiting for my lunch to be made and there was a woman waiting next to me.  Through the normal small-talk, I mentioned that I work in the healthcare industry.  She immediately said, "I've never had health insurance and I'm never going to."

I was in disbelief.  She said it as if she was bragging to me.  As if I would be impressed by her lack of insurance.  I asked, "What if you get sick?"

"I don't get sick."

Clearly she had not thought this through (or so I thought).  I asked her what would happen if she got cancer.

"I won't get cancer.  I'm really healthy."

Then I pointed out that I know very healthy people that have cancer.  Nobody expects to be the one to get leukemia, but obviously some people draw the short straw.  I brought this up and the woman thought for a few seconds.  Her response was, "Well, if I get cancer, then I'll get insurance."

I realize that you already know everything I'm going to say.  You already know that this person was out of her mind.  Sorry, but I'm going to say it anyway.

When should you purchase individual health insurance?

You don't get insurance after things happen to you.  The whole point of insurance is to make sure you're safe in the event that things happen to you in the future.  

As I mentioned in an earlier post insurance is a way of spreading risk across a group of people.  There's no risk after you have cancer.  At that point you have a 100% chance of having cancer which doesn't fall into the category of risk (most people call that "certainty").

If you wait for something to happen, you won't be able to insure it.  Obviously you can't wait to get in a car accident before calling up Geico for the first time.  The same thing is true with health insurance.

I'll stop rambling on about things you already knew.  But please, if you hear someone saying the types of things this woman said to me, try to change their mind.  I did a terrible job of this.  I'm pretty sure that this woman left the deli feeling smug because she knew more about insurance than a guy that works in the industry.  One day she'll realize that the guy from the deli was right.  Sadly she might be out of options at that point.

Originally published on June 18, 2009. Last updated July 6, 2015.


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