Insurance of Fear


    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.


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12 Responses to Insurance of Fear

  1. Carol says:

    Try “losing” instead of “loosing”.
    The first is for a loss, the second is to make less tight.

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for the clarification :)

    Raul´s last post ..Insurance of Fear

  2. That is an interesting perspective. It is interesting to see how much this country is changing and the differing perspectives that emerge. Sometimes the create discomfort though this is likely as there is some truth to what is being stated. We do act more carelessly when we believe that there is a safety net. It doesn’t mean we are going to set our house on fire or do things purposefully; it just means that we might not be as careful as we would be otherwise.
    And perhaps this is best seen with our cars. I am amazed to watch how people behave when they get behind the wheel – and it is not just an American thing. No one wants to pay for money if they are in accidents, insurance or not… and yet we might be more careful if we didn’t have the insurance… and yet, couldn’t that be a fear of having to pay more money?

    All perspective.
    The Exception´s last post ..Even Dancers Arent Perfect

    Raul Reply:

    Hi TE,

    I read somewhere that, if cars had a spike pointing to the driver’s face instead of an airbag, they would drive more carefully. There are many things that makes people behave in a crazy way, and having insurance to pay for the damages (independent if it’ll pay or not) is one of them. As you mention, is not that we would do thing on purpose, but just that we would be less careful because of the “safety net” promoted in insurance companies TV commercials, so we tend to “disregard” the possibility of losing.

    Raul´s last post ..Insurance of Fear

  3. Kelvin Kao says:

    Insurance still doesn’t pay for everything though. Certain companies might not want to pay out money easily. They have to determine who is at fault. And some policies provide more coverage than the others. So it still depends. There are also deductibles. But true, you might be more careless if you fully trust insurance to solve everything.
    Kelvin Kao´s last post ..Ads- Ads- Ads

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Kelvin,

    The difference is with living in other countries where insurance is not a common thing due to the high costs, so you simply don’t have insurance. In that instance you know before hand no one will pay for your loss, while here there’s still the concept created on TV commercials that you are protected, no matter what. If they will pay or not is another story.

    Like the concept of owning a house in a mortgage; the lender will applaud you for the ownership…until you skip a couple of payments; then you realize you did own nothing. Is the situation of having something that let you think you are safe, so you can forget about it instead of learning to live with and manage the possibility of going backwards due to unseen circumstances.

    Raul´s last post ..Insurance of Fear

  4. Patricia says:

    This is just a great perspective about insurance and our attitudes about it and it’s function. I think insurance companies make so much money that they also promote fear.

    I will say that I do not want to keep arguing over my medical insurance – do what you say you will do. I feel responsible to keep myself healthy and functional; I do all the paperwork too.

    There seems to be a sense of entitlement that I am not very comfortable with these days. I am left wondering where responsibility has gone?

    A woman in a huge SUV backed into my daughter’s small car and bashed in the back end. They were in a store parking lot. My kiddo was sitting in the car waiting her turn to back out. The woman claims it was my kiddos fault…and turned it over to the Insurance Company. My child made a police report, paid the $100 deductible and then worked with our insurance company to take this adult woman to task. Woman did not care – penniless college student did care with her father’s car. Her attitude was well this is what I pay ins. for Who cares that it was $2,000 damage to 15 year old car “What is wrong with you?”
    Just think what her children are learning about how to get along!

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Patricia,

    I don‘t know if insurance companies promote fear, but it is clear they promote the sense that everything can be back to normal like by magic, judging for the way TV commercials are made, which may give some people the sense that, no matter what happens, the insurance company will fix it all to the original state in no time; which in turns promote the sense of giving away to the insurance company the personal responsibility the person might have in the situation, just because a policy is being paid.

    The good thing is that your child is fine and unhurt in this incident :)

    Thank you for your contribution to the conversation.

    Raul´s last post ..Insurance of Fear

  5. Tony Single says:

    Yeah, I have a love/hate thing going on with the idea of insurance. There’s an awful lot that can’t be insured for. Take, for example, when you’ve been burgled. Sure, insurance might get you stuff to replace the property that was stolen, but it won’t buy back your peace of mind. In that case, it might almost be better to just start from scratch as a way of gaining some emotional stability within a terrible situation. By taking things into your own hands and starting from scratch yourself, you might be empowering yourself to face the consequences head on… and thus be stronger for it. I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud on this one.

    Absolutely spot on read though, Raul. As always, it’s been thought provoking. That’s always a good thing. I’m glad of your perspective on things. :)

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Tony,

    Another thing that cannot be replaced is the emotional attachment that some physical things can give; say for example, if you are stolen a bunch of family videos and pictures that might have been in a laptop. The insurance company can replace the laptop, but not the pictures and the memories they imply.

    It is a good thing to have insurance for some material stuff, but there will be loss to deal with.

    Thanks for your comment :)

    Raul´s last post ..Insurance of Fear

  6. Sara says:


    I see your point about taking “things” for granted because insurance will pay for them. I also admit that insurance is often fear based. However, there are reasons for having insurance.

    For example, I think having accident insurance can be important. Sometimes, accidents can not be prevented. Car and accident insurance is what allows a person involved in an accident to get their car repaired. This, in turn, allows that person to continue working and therefore, supporting their family.

    In addition, some car insurance provides for health care after an accident, which can literally be a life-saver.

    I agree that it’s unfair that some people can afford insurance and some cannot. That’s for another post.

    It would nice if people would come to a cordial agreement to help each other after their cars are smashed, but I don’t think this is very likely and NOT in this country:~)

    In the mean time, while I can see what you’re saying and even agree with parts of it, I think I’ll stick with my car insurance until there’s something better, especially in this country where it’s so easy to obtain GUNS:~)
    Sara´s last post ..My Gift- My Rights

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    I agree that insurance is an important part of making sure, especially when in a car accident and the possible extremely high medical expenses involved. Also medical insurance when it comes to an unforeseen surgery. The bills can be devastating and throw away all the hard work of years, forcing to start from scratch with many consequences for the family.

    My point in this post is that, although the insurance company can replace the material stuff, there will be loss anyway, and if we become convinced that everything can be back to before because of having insurance, we put ourselves in a situation of not becoming able to deal with changes.

    The problem presented in the post is not of having insurance but how we might tend to forget and disregard just because of having it, and with that, putting ourselves in a position of becoming weak to face new challenges.

    In my opinion there should be a compromise between having insurance for the possible loses that unseen situations might bring, and the clear concept that such insurance is a tool to protect, but not a magic wand that allow us to forget and become careless about our own responsibilities and capabilities of rebuilding.

    Thank you for bringing your perspective, and I agree with you about how scary can be when we see how easy is to obtain guns in this country :(

    Raul´s last post ..Insurance of Fear

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