It's nearing time to renew my renter's insurance. I can't help but wonder if I should bother.
I've never heard a good story about someone trying to file a claim with their insurance, whether it be because the insurance refuses to cover something for some random reason, or because they devalue everything to the point that you can't replace everything that was stolen without spending the next year looking for the best deals for used items on Craigslist.
It's a sort of annoying purchase to make. You give someone money for years, hoping that if the time comes, they'll actually hold up their end of the agreement.
So I went looking for insurance reviews. Seems no insurance company is popular. So I read through the reviews for Geico, since I get my renters insurance through them. Just look at these reviews: Reviews of Geico Insurance
It's interesting that all of the positive reviews are from people who got excellent service despite being the ones at fault for their accidents, while the negative reviews are all people getting terrible service despite not being at fault. Indeed, it's interesting that there are any positive reviews at all. Who bothers to find an insurance review website just to post about how excellent their insurance company is? I particularly love the ones that end with "Thanks Geico" as it sounds so much like it was written by some marketing team.
It's probably better not to have insurance. Not only is it unlikely to pay out when you need it, but statistically speaking, even when it does work fairly, over a long enough time span you'll always get less out of it than you put into it. Thus it's a lot like a slot machine, except that slot machines always play by the rules.
I'm also reminded of the television show "It Takes a Thief" where some retired thief breaks into people's houses and steals all their stuff, then gives them a bunch of security upgrades, a.k.a. product placement. The majority of the commercials played during the show are for insurance and alarm systems. It's like the whole industry is built around generating fear and offering a promise of protection.
...and that reminds me of the South Park episode where Cartman gets an alarm system to protect his mother from rape, only to find it's entirely ineffective because of response time issues and the security company being far too eager to assume it's always a false alarm.
Seems like Cartman should have just gotten himself a gun:Twelve Year Old Girl Shoots IntruderFourteen Year Old Boy Shoots Intruder
It would seem the best thing to do is to make sure you don't have to rely on others to help. Indeed, the girl was already on the phone with 911, but the police weren't there yet, when she shot the intruder. Would an alarm system have helped? ...or would the intruder have realized that hearing the alarm was no worse than the possibility that someone was already on the phone with the police? Will their homeowner's insurance cover repair of the doors and replacement of the carpet? Probably not, their deductible is probably at least $500.
To that end, I don't know what good renter's insurance is doing for me. I already don't invite random untrustworthy people into my house so that they can see what I have to steal. (My sister, however, managed to get my nephews PS3 and a few games stolen this way. Again, probably less than my mother's deductible, though she never bothered to file claim, probably afraid of her rates going up.) I also keep all of the windows closed and covered so no one can walk by and see something they want. Nothing on the outside of my house makes it look like an interesting target. I keep the doors locked at all times and do my best to keep the lighting random enough that it isn't possible to tell whether anyone is home.
Sure, it would suck to have thousands of dollars worth of stuff stolen from my house, or if the place simply burnt down or if it were wiped out by a tornado, but it would also suck to pay thousands of dollars for insurance over the years which I never get anything out of, whether it be because I never file a claim or because I do file a claim but the insurance refuses to pay. So as long as it seems doomed to suck no matter what, I should probably just go with what's statistically likely, which is that I won't need the insurance.