Auto insurance, a requirement not an option

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bethany Haugstad
  • 319th Medical Group
Do you ever wonder why it is so important to have car insurance? Do you ever question why we pay so much for seemingly no immediate return? It is hard for many to justify the monthly insurance payments when we may never use the product that we are paying for.

The idea behind the purchasing of insurance is to protect you, your friends, your family and your property from injury or damage. It's very important and legally mandated. Insurance is a requirement to drive on base and in most states. If you do not have car insurance and get pulled over on base you can lose your driving privileges on base for up to a year. If pulled over off base you can either get a ticket or even lose your license.

Many people believe that they do not need insurance. Some may feel that since they have had their license for several years without a car accident, car insurance is just a waste of money. Others might feel like they are such good drivers that such a bad event could not happen to them.

Now let's put this into perspective. When you are driving down the road, what percentage of any encounter can you really control? Best case scenario, you can control 50 percent. You have no control over that other driver. Are they talking on a cell phone? Did they see you coming up to the corner? Are they drunk? What other distractions do they have that may prevent them from seeing your car?

With the cost of health care and the rising cost of living, can any of us afford to get in an accident? At the time of an accident, the costs start to climb. An ambulance ride will cost anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars. The emergency room visit starts in the $300 range just for the doctor coming in your room. Tack-on x-rays, consultations, treatments, surgery, inpatient care, loss of work and your financial responsibility can grow to $100,000 very quickly and none of that was in your control.

You might say that you are in the military and we get great medical benefits, but what if the accident is your fault and the other driver is the one going to the hospital? The military does not cover the expenses that you might be liable for.

This issue is a personal one. I recently had a lapse in communication that caused my insurance policy to end. My family and I are fortunate that nothing catastrophic happened during this brief period, but we did get pulled over on base. My insurance expired and I was in the middle of switching companies when a family member got pulled over on base and lost their driving privileges.

This lapse in responsibility caused a big hassle for my family because we work two different shifts and one of us had to park our vehicle off base and walk. Walking is not a bad thing. It helps to keep us in shape, we save money on gas and wear and tear on our vehicles, but the weather is about to change and walking a mile or two in sub zero weather will not be much fun. We are just fortunate that nothing bad happened this time.
Life is too short to not take care of your future and the future of your family. Insurance provides security in case some unforeseen event happens in your life. Please drive safely. My family and I strongly recommend working on your insurance a month in advance so that you do not have the trouble like we did.