Sunday, January 31, 2016

To Insurance or Not to Insurance

I'm sitting at my desk on the second floor of our home. A distinct rumbling starts at my feet. I feel it vibrate through the bottom of my chair and watch the computer screen shudder. I brace myself for what else might come.

It's distinctly an earthquake. Albeit a small one, the earth has shuddered. I sit and wait for aftershocks.

I text my closest neighbors. Did you feel the small earthquake?

My phone rings. I don't answer hello, but with a weary-excited "Did you feel it?"

"No. But I'm driving." Tammy thinks I'm crazy.

I text my friends on the other side of my house. Nikki responds, "Yes! I was wondering what that was."

I'm not crazy!

Within a few minutes another neighbor who didn't feel the quake sends me the link to in a neighboring town-25 miles away, a mountain away, was a 2.9 earthquake.

It's astounding to think of our vulnerability when the earth shakes and more especially if it really let lose. It's astounding to think I felt vibrations that shot under a mountain and reached the floor of my office.

I know mini earthquakes. Having lived in Los Angeles and San Diego, I've felt a few rumblers.  The uneasiness starts at one's feet, rattles upward and in milliseconds the bookshelves are shaking, and always when it stops, gratitude. After having grabbed the person next to me, my immediate thoughts were always the children. Where are they? Are they safe? Can I get to them quickly?

For Tony's last birthday, I gave him an unexpected present--a present I sense he didn't appreciate. I gave him a tent--but actually he couldn't appreciate it, because I told him to find the one he wanted and buy it. I know, I know.

Six months later our tent discourse is ongoing without any resolution. We don't agree on its use. If Tony ever gets around to buying his birthday present, he would expect to use and enjoy the investment, but my purpose is for it to stay in the garage and never use it unless....there were an earthquake.

But there's the nuisance factor: spending money that may not be necessary, the space it will take in the garage, and if we never use it, when the time comes, we may not know how to set it up.

The nuisance factor is the gamble factor. A gamble I usually take with rental cars when I don't get the high pressure $20 a day insurance on the car that costs only $25 to rent. I'm always relieved when I return the car unscathed and dent free. I don't gamble with the toaster oven warranties and the flight insurance either. We always wonder over full coverage on a new car, or earthquake and flood insurance on an old house. Or investing in a hand gun, or in extra food storage. It's the un-predictable future for which we'll be happy we have it, if it happens, and wasteful if it didn't.

After sending the earthquake-alert text to Tony too, I sent him another: Sure wish that tent was in the garage. The gamble factor seems too great for such terrible odds--out in the cold (37 degrees rain and snow tonight) without a home.