What is really important - bricks and mortar or life and limb?

An article on the stuff website ( recently highlighted that New Zealanders are more likely to insure their home or car than they are to insure themselves.

"The Trade Me survey of 1,000 kiwis found that 88 percent of respondents had vehicle insurance, 74 percent had home and contents insurance but only half had life insurance and 41 percent had health insurance"

At first glance perhaps these statistics are no surprise as we tend to react to the things we can see and know we need - like homes and cars - and if we have finance on them the lender is bound to require they be insured!

On the other hand the news media is now awash with the increasing incidents of road fatalities or people who are terminally ill and are leaving behind loved ones - sometimes included in heart wrenching pictures accompanying the article.

One life insurer last year paid out $2.5 million in Total and Permanent Disability, $22.8 million Trauma, $23.2 million Income Protection and $56.8 million in Life/Terminal illness insurance claims. 48% of the income protection claims were due to accidents and 8% due to mental health. 22% of Income Protection claimants were 40-50 years old, the youngest claimant was 22 and the oldest claimant was 65.

Of course what the life insurance companies can't and will never tell us is the number of claims that weren't and could never be paid because the people just weren't insured!

If someone who cares about protecting your life and income doesn't come knocking, then you might be dependent on reading this sort of article or the article mentioned above. That seems a very random way of looking after that all important life and limb!

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