You are here: Home Insurance Miscellaneous ... Summary
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


There seems to be insurance against just about all kinds of loss these days, from contact lenses to plane crashes to pets. Beyond the basic coverages that we recommend for everyone such as health, disability, life, home and auto insurance, which of these coverages are worth buying? Here's some guidance for people living with a serious health condition or a history of a life-challenging condition with respect to the following insurance policies:

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)

AD&D Insurance pays your beneficiary if you die in an accident or if you lose one or more limbs or your sight. Many employers provide this coverage free of charge.

Everyone can qualify for this insurance, regardless of health history. No medical questions are asked.

However, even though premiums are low, this coverage is seldom worth it. The policy only pays if you die from one cause -- an accident.

If you're offered the insurance for free, there is no reason not to take it. Many banks and credit card companies send out solicitations offering a thousand dollars of AD&D for free in the hope you'll buy more. Before you sign:

  • Read the offer carefully. Make sure that by signing you're not signing up for more than the free amount.
  • Be prepared for future mailings or phone calls from the same company trying to convince you to buy more insurance.
  • Remember, these policies pay ONLY if you die in an accident, and cannot be borrowed against or sold in a viatical settlement.

Keep a copy of the free offer and your acceptance with your other insurance so people will know about it in case you do die accidentally. Also mention where the policy is on your List Of Documents.

Flight Insurance

Flight insurance is a very specific type of Accidental Death Insurance: it only pays if you die in a plane crash on specific flights or during a short period of time.

  • If you already have adequate life insurance, there is no reason to purchase flight insurance.
  • If you don't have adequate life insurance, flight insurance probably isn't worth it anyway given the small chance of dying in a plane crash.

For information about traveling after a diagnosis of a serious health condition, including ways to protect yourself and obtain medical care in case you become ill away from home, see Travel.

Cancer Insurance and Other Specific-Illness Policies

Cancer insurance and other specific illness policies only provide coverage if you get a specified ailment. They often only duplicate coverage provided by health insurance and/or disability insurance policies.

If people in your immediate family such as parents, grandparents or brothers and sisters, had or have a particular disease for which you can purchase coverage: ask your doctor if you are genetically pre-disposed to the condition. If you are, then your risk is greater than the average person and it may be worth purchasing this insurance.

Otherwise, this coverage is generally not worth the money since it only pays if you get one particular health condition. There is no coverage for any other illness. 

Some states have even banned the sale of individual cancer policies on the grounds that they don't provide enough economic benefit.

If you already have an illness, you won't qualify to purchase a policy insuring that particular condition.

Cell Phone Insurance

If you have an expensive cell phone, it may be worth considering cell-phone insurance which replaces your cell phone if it gets lost, stolen or stops working for specified reasons such as water damage.  The cost is usually $3 to $5 a month.

The replacement phone is usually a reconditioned phone similar to the one you lost rather than the same phone. There is also usually a deductible, such as $25 or $50. There may also be a limit on the number of phones that will be replaced during a twelve month period.

Cell phone insurance doesn't cover the cost of replacing information stored in your telephone, such as numbers. It is advisable to back them up in case the phone is lost or trashed. You can back-up your phone to a computer. Most phone services also offer an inexpensive back-up service that backs up your phone on a constant basis.

NOTE: Homeowner's insurance also covers your cell phone. However, since the cost of your phone is probably less than the deductible, the Homeowner's policy won't pay unless you suffer other losses during the year.

To Learn More

More Information

Homeowner's Insurance

Child Support Insurance

Child support insurance covers child support payments if the parent responsible for the payments loses his or her job. It does not pay benefits if the parent becomes ill or quits his job.

As a general matter, these policies only pay benefits for up to four months.

Because of the policy's expense and limits, we don't generally recommend them.

Contact Lens Insurance

Contact lens insurance pays money toward the purchase of new contact lenses if yours are lost or damaged.

The insurance is usually available wherever you purchase your contact lenses. This insurance is becoming less popular because of the low, decreasing prices of contact lenses.

Unless you lose you contacts more than once a year, this coverage usually isn't worth it.

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

Hospital indemnity insurance is a type of insurance that pays a set amount of money for every day you're in the hospital, regardless of your medical expenses.

Hospital Indemnity Insurance may be advantageous to purchase because of your health conditon.

To Learn More

Personal Article Floater (covers Jewelry and Fine Arts)

A personal article floater is a specialized form of insurance that can be used to cover personal property on an itemized and scheduled basis. A personal article floater provides "all risk" coverage for direct physical loss.

 A personal article floater contains an itemized schedule listing insurable property such as jewelry, furs, cameras, musical instruments, silverware, golf equipment, fine arts, stamps and coins.

An appraisal is generally required for each article covered.

Uninsurable property includes accounts, bills, currency, deeds, evidences of debt, money and securities. 

NOTE: If you do not wear your valuable gems or look at your valuable collections often, consider putting them in your safe deposit box at your bank and asking your insurance agent for "valuable article coverage for in-vault jewelry." Premiums for jewelry and other items in a safe deposit box are much less expensive than when the items are not in a safe deposit box. You are generally required to inform the insurance company if you remove items from the box temporarily. (For comparative purposes, adding a "floater" to your homeowner policy to protect these items may cost between $1.90 to $4.00 per $100 of value, while vault coverage can be $.30 per $100, plus a small amount for the few days a year when you take the jewels out of the safe. A few banks offer their own safe deposit coverage which is generally cheaper than a homeowners policy).

Banks are generally not liable for loss unless they have been found to be negligent in some way. Check your contract.

Always retain proof that you keep in a safe place away form the safe deposit box that lists what you store in your safe deposit box."

Earthquake Insurance

Earthquake covers against the risks of earthquake. Generally, earthquake policies only cover the dwelling, and not the contents or out-buildings, although contents can be covered.

If you have a mortgage, and if you are in an area where either risk is real, this coverage can be particularly important even if your lending organization doesn't require it. In the event of a loss, you may still owe the debt and have no asset -- in fact you may even be liable for removing the debris.

If the premium you're quoted is too high for you, consider asking for the price with a higher deductible.

If you're not sure if you live near a major fault, call your state's department of geology or look at the National Earthquake Information Center's Website at offsite link

Vision Insurance

Vision insurance either covers eye care and eye ware, or provides discounts. 

For more information about vision insurance, see the document in "To Learn More."


To Learn More

More Information

Vision Insurance