Are Americans Insurance Obsessed?

Americans buy insurance for almost anything that’s insurable: their health, cars, belongings, jewelry, valuable books … their pets. When individuals opt for catastrophic health insurance, their reasoning is that they want to make sure they won’t go bankrupt in the event of a serious illness. This issue is begging for an answer. Are Americans truly obsessed with insurance?

Are Americans Insurance Obsessed?

Health Insurance

Those Americans fortunate enough to be able to buy an insurance plan that is actually worth the dollars may not worry too much. They know they’re protected and that they won’t pay too much at the doctor’s office, pharmacy, or hospital.

Other Americans have that niggling thought in the backs of their minds: “What if I get cancer/multiple sclerosis/heart disease? Will my family lose everything?” It’s these individuals who choose to buy even more health insurance so they can protect their families, “just in case.” Now they’re paying more for more protection, which means there are fewer dollars in the bank account to protect, according to the Wall Street Journal. The recommendation to buy traditional policies, then obtain the most value from them, is much more sensible.

Property Insurance

Of course, it makes sense to protect against real property loss, just in case a catastrophic weather event destroys the family home and possessions. When a homeowner insures everything, including that $500 flat-screen television, might that be just a bit excessive? In the same Wall Street Journal article, J. Robert Hunter, the Consumer Federation of America director of insurance, states that if a family can afford to replace an item that’s lost or stolen, it shouldn’t be insured.

Pet Insurance

Some may shake their heads at the thought of covering a family pet’s health. Vet care is expensive. When the family pooch or feline comes down with a sudden, unexpected illness, the vet won’t accept payment plans or promises. He wants immediate payment, in full. In these situations, a basic pet health insurance plan can protect the family’s savings account while still allowing the pet to receive needed health care. Another school of thought: Pets can live for close to 20 years, meaning that a pet insurance plan can run into the thousands of dollars by the end of that animal’s life. Only when the pet has a diagnosed condition does insurance make sense, according to NBC News. Otherwise, the cost of the insurance outstrips the cost of annual vet care. That’s excessive.

Some Excessive Insurance Categories

º Juvenile insurance: New parents want to protect their children, but how likely is it the child will die before adulthood? Parents should just add to the value of their own coverage.

º Tuition Protection Insurance: Excessive. Universities offer prorated refunds on tuition when withdrawal from the institution is for a specified reason. After a set number of weeks, the university’s reimbursement rate expires.

º Payment Protection Insurance: Not worth the expense. Credit card companies make it difficult to obtain coverage when it’s needed.

º Critical Illness and Cancer Insurance: A la carte plans just aren’t worth it. This is an example of obsession with insurance.

º Identity Theft Insurance: Why? Credit care companies provide their own I.D. theft protection.

º Divorce Insurance: Shining example of insurance obsession. Couples should just save money.

In Contrast

Europeans have government-run insurance, with private providers being pushed out of practice. In addition, because they are covered, Europeans see their doctors for everything, because they have coverage, according to USA Today.


Greg Mathis is a freelance writer specializing in finance, business, insurance, banking and other such topics; for more info on insurance readers should visit

Image credit goes to Thomas Hawk.

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