It’s human nature to think: it won’t happen to me.
It’s the reason we don’t get around to taking out health insurance, why we drink too much and exercise too little, why we sprint across four lanes of traffic rather than walk to a crossing.
You have to wonder whether you would bother with car insurance if you were not compelled to by law.
I’ve been driving for over a decade and, touch wood, have never crashed (totally going to crash today now). That’s obviously a good thing. But then if I stop to think about how much I’ve spent on insurance in that time only to never use it, that’s a bit depressing. Spending money on things that might never happen is really not as fun as spending money on shoes I might never wear.
Yes, I’m pretty sure that if car insurance weren’t compulsory it would be another one of those things I consign to the ‘it won’t happen to me’ pile.
Now I’ve turned freelance I’ve suddenly been forced to start thinking about my imminent death.
It isn’t the most cheery of subjects, granted.
But what if I was struck by lightning tomorrow? What if I’m hit by a bus? What if something happens and I can’t work anymore?
These things aren’t any more likely today than they were last week or last year, but with no employer any more there is no longer someone to helpfully pick up the tab if they should occur.
I’ve been incredibly lucky in my time to work at places which will pay out if I get sick, get pregnant or die.
But now Husband and I have got to start having conversations about what if…?
The thing is, I don’t want to fork out £20 a month on the off chance I might pop my clogs. I’m not planning to die any time soon. I’m an optimistic sort like that.
And will I feel that same macabre sense of disappointment if, after a decade of life insurance or critical illness premiums, I haven’t got anything for my money?
I know that some people self-insure. They put money aside into a savings account each month to cover anything unexpected that an insurance policy would usually be there to pay out for. But it takes a lot of discipline not to dip into a pot like that.
And if, after ten or 20 years, you’ve built up a substantial amount, it would be incredibly difficult not to want to splurge it on a house deposit or trip of a lifetime.
Then there is the dilemma of life insurance versus critical illness cover, income protection or medical insurance.
I think the next item on my freelancer’s to-do list might be to call a financial adviser.
Luckily for me, I know a few good ones.