5 minutes and half a pizza

I have always grudged paying insurance. Building, contents, car, life, travel.
If I am going to be a customer then I want the choice of buying the product in the first place.

With many being mandatory, a tax if you like, our only choice is to pay or break the law. I understand the responsibility to financially protect others. That makes sense. It is the expense and lack of value attached to fulfilling that responsibility that grates on me. I have always given them my money but under duress.

If I can sidestep an optional insurance then I will. Rather than handing over money to an insurance company I would ‘hide it under the mattress’. That way if I don’t need it, it is still mine. If I end up with a big bill then I will just…. well…. it doesn’t matter. I won’t.

Travel insurance didn’t have a look in with me. What is going to go wrong? The odds of breaking my arm or needing stitches for a cut were so low I was happy with the risk. Worse case scenario I would just pay the expense. A lifetime of holidaying without paying for insurance would balance the cost.

How flawed my logic was!

I had decided arranging insurance for a weekend in Spain was more hassle than it was worth.

The night before leaving we had a party at my house to kick start the weekend. It came to light that one of my friends had paid more than double everyone else for his insurance. We are not talking much money but he was still the butt of a few jokes and wisecracks. Not a big deal, he took it on the chin and it was forgotten.

The party finished at about 6 AM and lying in my bed I decided to quickly check and find the cheapest quote on the Internet. Curiosity more than anything. After all, it is a rip-off anyway.

£3.90 ($6).

My pizza during the party cost double that. I would pay more for a drink at the airport. Seemed like decent value and wasn’t any hassle so why the hell not. I put my details through the system and had a certificate of insurance e-mailed to me within 5 minutes. Job done, time to sleep for a couple of hours before going on our holiday.

If you have read about the accident then you will appreciate the importance of that decision.

We have discussed how one apparently minor decision, like when I jumped in the pool, can go on to shape your life. I still get chills when I think about the consequences had I fallen asleep 5 minutes earlier that night.

By the time I was back in Glasgow they estimated the cost of my treatment in Spain and the specialist flight home to be just over £85,000 ($130,000). Covered for £3.90. Suddenly insurance didn’t look like such a rip-off after all.

I could not have covered that cost. My parents who had just moved to their dream house would have had to remortgage. Friends and family would have begged, borrowed and stole just to get me back in the country. I would have been in Spain for weeks receiving the basic level of care until funds were arranged.

The financial ramifications for my family would have been too great for me to accept. The guilt would have eaten away at me and who knows how much damage it would do.

Talk about learning a lesson. Talk about a close call. Maybe even talk about fate.
Multiple holidays every year for many many years and this was the ONLY time I bought travel insurance. It doesn’t seem like too crazy a notion to consider that fate intervened (replace fate with God or luck if so inclined).

So many optional insurance products seem pointless. It would never happen to you, would it?

Was I wrong all those years? £3.90 to cover £85,000 worth of life-saving treatment, I have never been so wrong in my life.




  1. You make me wonder, how many little decisions have we made, that have altered the course of our lives. And we don’t know it?

    • It highlights the lack of control we possess. Most people think that having the ability to choose puts them in charge, the reality can be scary to accept. I never did, was always the master of my own future. I now accept other factors are involved in the equation.

      Still trying to get my head round that. As an atheist (I hate that label) it seems like a contradiction of beliefs. I suppose some things can’t be answered by logic and rationale.

      Thanks Colleen

      • You’re welcome Steven. I see what you mean, about people thinking they are in control because of the power to choose. But then, the result of choices, is not always positive or productive. Which then can make one feel out of control? (Is this close?)

        (Can I ask why you hate the atheist label?)

        I know that I often have not understood the “why’s” of what I have done when the it wasn’t what I was trying for!

      • We are only truly aware of the decisions that have consequences. I would have decided to have Cornflakes rather than Cheerios this morning then carried on with my day and never reflect on that decision again. If I ended up swallowing a large piece of glass that was inside the Cornflakes then that decision would be remembered.

        Basically what I’m saying is that we make decisions from the second we open our eyes in the morning. Almost all of these decisions are irrelevant, ‘non-decisions’ if you like. We don’t realise we have made them.
        It doesn’t take much for a ‘non-decision’ to become life changing (case in hand). We only end up talking about the decisions that have consequences. How many times a day could a non-decision be a second or a millimetre or a word away from being crucial?

        Atheist. Probably a whole new post to cover that. Basically, to try and sum up my views on religion and God in one word is so restrictive. It’s a complex subject. If I absolutely must pigeonhole myself then I suppose I am an atheist. I can’t imagine every atheist has the same views just as two Christians can have varied outlooks.

      • Atheist and Christians…I would have to agree with you. I am “Christian” yet I know that I don’t agree with many other Christians about many things, and vice/versa.

        Your statement: ” We only end up talking about the decisions that have consequences. How many times a day could a non-decision be a second or a millimetre or a word away from being crucial?” really sums this up.

        Steven I’m thoroughly enjoying your writing, your thoughts. You make me think past the reading of a post or a comment. Thank you.

  2. I am glad that you got the insurance. I also am glad you are sharing your story! You just never know what will happen!

    • It’s a scary thought. As Colleen has mentioned, how many times do we make life altering decisions without being aware of it?

      I need to check in to your blog today and catch up with your goings-on.

      I hope you are well Dianna.


      • Nothing written today yet. I was out & about most of my day.

      • Oops & I am well. I prematurely hit reply!

      • No doubt your blog will tell me somewhere but to save me searching, where in Australia are you? Lots of my family live in Perth and my best friend is emigrating next week. I have not been since the accident but loved Perth. Unfortunately never got the chance to visit the east coast.

      • Did you not get my response back a while ago. I could tweet you if you like so that you don’t have to approve if it’s easier for you! 🙂 I live in New South Wales north of Coffs Harbour.

      • I don’t think I did. I don’t need to approve your comments (don’t take advantage lol). If it is nothing to do with a post then go ahead and tweet. Would be easier and save others from scrolling through pages of our chitchat 🙂 you can get my twitter account at the bottom of any post.

      • Doing it now or trying too! Twitter I mean.

      • got you now! YaussieDianna is me!

  3. Wow Steve that was a phenomenal amount of money! The decision to take the insurance was kind of like that Yin Yang balance to the whole experience. We’ll never know or understand how the decisions we make will shape our lives but we have to learn to take the good with the bad. I’ll keep a look out for your next post 🙂

    • Some have argued that the good and the bad balance out over a lifetime. I’m definitely due a lottery win this weekend 🙂 I got your follow on twitter, thanks.

  4. Fingers and a foot’s worth of toes you get the lottery win, thanks for the follow back 🙂

  5. Small blessings can make a huge impact.

  6. Jacks

    Best £3.90 you ever spent! xx

    • Dunno, had a pretty good kebab on the way back from the pub last week!

  7. Jacks

    lol Surely that cost more? Or was it only a wee one? 😉 lol

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