Inventory your blessings and save

  • 19/12/2008 01:00
  • 19/12/2008 01:00
In my last column I talked about the cost of NOT insuring against natural disasters also known as “Acts of God”. Panama, fortunately doe...

In my last column I talked about the cost of NOT insuring against natural disasters also known as “Acts of God”. Panama, fortunately does not lie in the hurricane belt that leads to massive storm damage, but it is an area of heavy rainfall, leading to rising rivers and frequent flooding.

In spite of this a prevention (against personal loss) seems to be absent with many sections of the population. There is also misinformation about the cost of insurance and the eventualities that can be covered.

In fact in Panama prices are far lower than in more storm prone areas like Texas and Florida, and there are cost effective monthly payments which vary slightly depending on the region in which you live.

In Panama we have the great opportunity and advantage of acquiring insurance policies to cover infrastructures, house contents, as well as businesses at very reasonable prices. In other places like the United States where natural catastrophes are more common because of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, that is not the case.

In our country it is very common to find that only the mortgaged properties have insurance and this happens only because banks and financial institutions insist that the borrowers have them. But those insurances do not cover the contents.

This area has been neglected in Panama by many home owners and those who rent, because usually they do not insure their contents.

But think back to the media images of homes deep in water, with furniture, clothing and electronic goods ruined. or homes devastated by fire, with nothing left but charred wood.

When it comes to natural disasters, in Panama insurance covers events such as: fire, lightning and explosions, impact by terrestrial or aerial vehicles. And those of you have followed the news recently, will remember how a family was wiped out and the home destroyed by a plane that tore out of the skies. Insurance even covers the cost of removal of rubble, a contingency that few of us would normally consider.

An earthquake, tremors or volcanic eruption or any other movement of the earth’s crust are also covered, along with-winds, hurricane, tornados or hail.

Of high importance if you live at or near ground level are floods due to high seas, or overflowing rivers, lakes, aqueducts and sewers, as well as broken levees and dams, all leading to water damage.

Worldwide climate changes and economic disasters are a reality. Now is the time to begin taking preventative measures against the risks we live with everyday and begin to consider that insurance is not the privilege of the wealthy, but also for those who do not have enough money to face the losses from natural disasters. We believe that the tragedies that we see on TV and newspapers will not happen to us, but they could.

If you’re not convinced take a few minutes to make a rough list of your possession... including clothing, shoes, pictures, books, jewelry, electronic and kitchen equipment, and imagine you had to replace them all overnight.

In my next column I will deal with insurance against theft in our increasingly insecure society.

Jorge del Rio is a broker with Ducruet Insurance.

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