What types of insurance policies waste your money?

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney takes a look at which types of insurance policies are a waste of your money.
November 8, 2013 10:39:53 AM PST
Both car and health insurance protect us from paying exorbitant out-of-pocket fees if something goes wrong. But, there are some other kinds of insurance policies that can be a waste of money. There's a lot of insurance policies out there. We've been looking into this and there are really only a few types of insurance policies you really must have.

"I have car insurance, I have renters insurance, I have life insurance," one woman said.

Those are the basic insurances that most experts recommend. But, what about all the other ones? Take mortgage life insurance versus traditional life insurance.

"This is a product that would pay your mortgage in case you died. The difference is if you just bought term life insurance and you died, you could spend that money on whatever you want, be it the mortgage, be it something else," Consumer Action manager Joe Ridout said.

Ridout also thinks accidental life insurance isn't always worth it because it only pays out if you die from something other than disease or age.

"You're better off just getting a cheap term life insurance policy and don't try to gamble on whether you'll die in a certain way or another," Ridout said.

Another popular insurance for travelers is flight insurance.

"Just look at the numbers, over the last decade 15 deaths per year for US airlines crashes versus 30,000 auto crashes. If you have a term life policy, you'll be covered in either case," Ridout said.

If you lose your job or become disabled, involuntary unemployment insurance pays your monthly minimum credit card payment. But, you might want to think twice before you buy it.

"If you are paying up to 1 percent of the credit card balance, which is what you going to be charged for this product, you are better off just paying that toward getting the balance down in the first place, rather than planning for the worst," Ridout said.

And be very wary of credit card loss protection.

"Federal law says that the most you can be liable for is $50 and in practice credit card companies waive even that first $50, so you're facing no liability whatsoever," Ridout said.

Mary from San Jose has been very happy with her pet insurance.

"Well, it's just all their exams and if they need shots or surgeries, then it's less expensive," she said.

But pet insurance may not be a great value for all pet owners.

"They also frequently have maximum payouts over the life of the pet that often can be $20,000 or less, so once your pet has a really serious problem, the insurance company may stop paying for any treatment if your pet really is in need of it," Ridout said.

The California Department of Insurance does a pricing survey every year where you can find out what your insurance company charges, compared to others.