Posted by Raul on December 7, 2010
One thing that surprised me from living in the US is the huge number of insurance policies there are available to purchase. Insurance for the house, the mortgage, the stuff inside the house, the back yard, the front yard, in case someone falls and hurts in front of the house, for vehicles, for purchases, for lemon situations, medical, jobs, income, credit, etc, etc.
At one hand it is nice to protect the investments made so far, so we can keep going forward in material life, ensuring with it peace of mind, so to create the base for a more relaxed and enjoyable time to spend with our loved ones.
The problem I see is that, overtime, we tend to develop fear. The concept of “making sure”, although giving us stability, also creates a sense of “never loosing no matter what the situation”, so when something bad happens, we are not prepared for the consequences.
The feeling of “loosing” and becoming “lost” takes priority, over the feeling of “starting again” with a sense of “re-doing the traveled road” (which is not what we want, but at least we know we can do it; we already did it once), but if we are “lost”, what do we do then!
At the other hand, having insurance for everything, and knowing a company will reimburse us for our loss, we tend to forget to take proper care of what we have. If you pay attention to a minor traffic crash in another country, usually people will have a heated argument about the situation, while here people go to a quiet spot and call their insurance company on their cell phones. No heated arguments.
It is nice and probably more civilized, but the main reason I see is that in other countries insurance companies don’t pay for everything, so each person is responsible for taking good care of his/her property, so a sense of protectionism develops, while here it is consider a situation of just a change in property item. If everybody knew that their insurance company will not pay, and the minor accident implies a complete loss, there would be heated arguments by the side of the wrecked cars.
We give control to external forces instead of retaining it as a capability of our own; and in such situation, we loose control over our world and become easily scared by the future; thus needing more and more insurance…just to be sure.
So the consequence I see is that, we become careless of what we have because “we have insurance”, thus becoming dependant on an external savior, instead of learning to live and accept that in life we have to loose from time to time, sometimes just to simply valorize and take better care of what we still have. Life isn’t granted…so it isn’t material property and relationships.
With “excessive” external protection we become easily scared by the possibility of loosing everything by reducing our capabilities of starting all over again with a smile after a deep breath, knowing we can re-create an already traveled path since we are the creators of our own situation.