Thursday, November 11, 2010

Money Out of Thin Air

Well, not really, but it sure felt that way this week: an expected cheque for energy retrofit work arrived at least 6 weeks early and the expected shortfall for house insurance (I did not have enough in the savings account to cover the new rate which was 150% of last year's) turned into a rate lower than last year with much better coverage when I queried and found a new insurer -- and the payment system moved from a lump sum at the start of the year to monthly payments during the year -- so I had insurance savings to use for my year-end charitable donations.

Two-thirds of the cheque is going to savings that have been depleted/not added to in the past few months, about a third will be for our Christmas travel, and a little bit will be some "mad money". One reason I had felt in a financial bind (not a serious one -- I could have dipped into savings) was that I had actually pre-spent some of that cheque for a guitar for my husband. A well-deserved reward for all the retrofit work and roofing he's been doing.

We've been with the same house insurance since we bought the house. In that time we've upgraded the plumbing, laid down metal roofing, and upgraded the electrical. Maybe we could have got better rates if we had talked to them, but the "bump" wouldn't have disappeared entirely. I checked out other mainstream firms and got quotes that were about a hundred dollars over our rate last year.

Then I checked out the small insurance company we get our travel health insurance from. I belong to something called the Quarter Century Club for Ontario public service retirees and this firm gives that club good rates. The health insurance rate (here in Canada you need it spectacularly if you do any travel to the US) from them was definitely lower than that from CAA. I went through the lengthy phone interview and then was pleasantly surprised when the rate they quoted me for much better coverage was lower than my rate last year before added on taxes. It was a no-brainer to go with them. Then a no-fee monthly payment plan was the icing on the cake. We already do that with our travel health insurance. It really is the way to go when you're on a monthly income.

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