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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Sunday (10/30/11) 10:40pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Movies:  <none>
TV:  <none>
Books:  Insurance for Dummies

Insurance for Dummies by Jack Hungelmann
I read this as part of my preparations for the Long Vacation.  I knew I'd have to sort out my own health insurance, and I figured I might as well read up on other forms of insurance as well.

It was a surprisingly interesting read.  As usual for a "Dummies" book, the prose is nothing to write home about -- it's just simple, clear, and informative.  (Hell, it's probably written at about a 10th-grade level.[1])  But I learned what I needed about health-insurance policies, skipped the sections about (say) boat insurance, and read up on the rest.

As far as car and renters' insurance, I suspect I've been mis-allocating things, spending too much on keeping low deductibles and too little on liability coverage.

Specifically, the book makes a strong and interesting case for an umbrella policy, which you can think of as "lawsuit insurance".  $300k liability coverage on your car is all well and good, but if you hit somebody with your car, legal feels and punitive damages can easily exceed that.  So, there's umbrella insurance, sold in increments of $1 million.  You're unlikely to ever get sued, so it's cheap, but in case you get sued, and you have anything (assets or earning potential) to get sued for, it's a lifesaver.

It also really talked up USAA, which is a credit union that offers insurance policies, and is generally agreed to be the best insurer in the country.  The 'gotcha' there is that it's military-only.  I did some research (i.e. "called my dad"), and discovered that my dad (1) was a captain in the army, and (2) had a policy with USAA for a few years.  (Apparently he couldn't get a policy with anybody else while he was in Italy.)  So that actually makes me able to buy policies from them -- I imagine I'll switch my insurance over to them as soon as my current ones run out.

Generally, though, the book is just a handy reference.  Converting your home to a home office?  This book will tell you about the crazy liability problems with that, and how to deal with them.  And so on.

For next time:  giant piles of Dickens, in preparation for the Hideout show in November.  I'm watching a BBC adaptation of Our Mutual Friend, listening to an audiobook of A Tale of Two Cities, and reading Sketches By Boz.

[1] ... no offense intended to any 10th-graders who might be reading.

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Date:Tuesday (11/1/11) 3:48pm
Thanks for your share! very impressive!

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