I am a born and raised Minnesota girl who has been living in Arizona for the past 12 years. I start out with that tidbit of information because the story I am about to share with you occurred in Minnesota, a few days after my 19th birthday in January of 2002.
A friend had bought us tickets to see Jeff Foxworthy Live at the casino in Minnesota. From my mom’s house where I was living to the casino shouldn’t have been more than a 20 minute drive.
The roads, for the most part were clear. It was just starting to snow so the roads weren’t covered; just a spattering of snow.
I remember coming around the curve where the smaller casino is, when a driver at the stop sign looked right at me and then decided to go, causing me to t-bone her car and send my car driving by itself towards the lake.
Now, if you have never been in a car accident, let me try to explain.
Things went so quickly. I don’t remember the impact. I remember before the impact and I remember after the impact. After impact, my car was coasting towards water and I hit the brake in enough time to stop myself from (a) going further to the water (I believe I stopped about 2 feet from waters edge) and (b) from hitting an elderly couple head on.
The air bags deployed. The front end of my car was smashed in. The horn wouldn’t turn off.
I have to be honest. I remember trying to stand up and fell. I couldn’t do it. I think the first person I called was my friend who was already at the casino just moments away. She, of course, yelled at me to call 911.
A lot is a blur after that. I remember they cut my favorite pair of pants and that I had injured my knee. A pain I still live with 13 years later. An injury that prevented me from driving, working, or walking on it (yes, I had crutches).
I think back on that time now and wonder, what would happen if I were in that same type of accident today.
Today, I am a parent with three very active kids who need mommy. I need to be able to drive them to their activities. I need to work to bring in money for my family. I need to be mobile to protect my 2 year old at home and keep up with her. The same worries would apply if the above happened to my husband – more so because he is the main money maker in the family.
The National Safety Council indicates that the average medical expense for an accidental injury is $5,500. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 80 million injury-related visits to doctors’ offices, hospital outpatient departments and emergency-treatment facilities in the U.S. each year.
Now, I will be the first to admit that we are not one for budgets (in fact, that series is coming up soon!) We don’t have credit cards so if one of us were to get in an accident, we wouldn’t have the medical expenses. It would put us in debt. Accident insurance helps provide everyday financial protection in the event of a covered accident. Benefits are paid for things like x-rays, physical therapy, appliances, emergency treatment and more.
In addition to accident insurance, having short term disability insurance is beneficial to have in case you are injured and cannot return to work.
Worker’s compensation will only pay your wages if you are injured on the job. They do not have to pay you wages if you were injured in a car accident that is non-work related. Short-Term Disability insurance pays a percentage of your income if you are unable to work due to a covered illness or injury. Benefits are paid directly to you, unless otherwise assigned, to help cover things like deductibles, car payments, utility bills and more.
With the beginning of fall, many U.S. companies are offering open enrollment for their employers.
In case you aren’t aware, open enrollment is a time when workers can review their employer-sponsored benefits offerings and choose the health insurance policies that best meet their financial and health care needs. Open enrollment is the time employees can select voluntary policies that best suit their own needs, as well as the needs of any dependents they may have.
When an unforeseen medical event occurs, many people are often faced with paying copayments, deductibles or treatment costs not covered by major medical insurance, as well as other daily living expenses – all while paying increasing health insurance premiums.
According to a recent Aflac survey, 66 percent of workers would not be able to adjust to the large financial costs associated with a serious injury or illness, and 49 percent have less than $1,000 on hand to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Voluntary policies, which complement major medical coverage, are specifically designed to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses that can be associated with an unexpected illness or injury.
In addition, the cash benefits can be used to help pay rent, gas, groceries, child care or any other out-of-pocket expenses that continue to roll in even if someone is too sick or injured to work.
Although selecting the right health care benefits may be one of the most important decisions Americans will make all year, an Aflac survey found that many workers do very little research to learn which plans and products really work best for them.
In fact, 34 percent of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options in 2014.
Those who don’t set aside time to research their insurance options often end up with inadequate health care protection for themselves and their families.
As parents, we need to remember that it isn’t just us that is effected when an accident or injury occurs. With children, bills, jobs – an accident or injury to us can create a domino effect.
Now is the time to review your insurance policies and be sure that you and your family are covered for the “just in case” or the “what if”. Better to be set up now than not have it when needed!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.