A Slice of Reality
Y.R., an avid collector of Judaica and antiques, came into our office a few years back. We set up a contents policy for him. He told us that he had never taken out insurance before this but that his father had insisted! Even though he was traveling to the U.S. shortly, we insisted that a shamai (assessor) come over and make a full evaluation. This was duly done and a full detailed assessment was sent to Y.R. two months later.
On Erev Yom Ha’atzmaut, while the family was at a concert, a fire broke out in their home. How? They had an American clock radio and VCR plugged into a transformer. The transformer (110 volts) was U.S. compatible and not Israeli compatible (220 volts). Two wires touched and the transformer shorted. Because it was not 220 volts, the electricity did not trip and a large fire broke out. Eventually, neighbors saw the smoke. The result was that the top floor was totally gutted; including very valuable collections, all the clothes, etc. Over NIS 150,000 was paid out to a man who “had never taken out insurance before!”
1. Listen to your parents!
2. If you insure, do it properly and make sure that your possessions are properly evaluated. Do not say it won’t happen to me!
3. Check your appliances. Could this happen to you?
What is covered?
Theft, loss, break-ins, fire and water damage and third party liability. Many insurance companies are now offering special rates for clients who put in alarm systems and /or bars. Regarding alarms, we suggest that you find out exactly how they work (e.g. at night, on Shabbat, when you’re going away for long periods). Most good firms will give you a non-obligatory quote. Bars are quieter but they spoil the view! You should also check how much of a rebate you can get from your insurance company. Remember, even if you have optimal insurance, a burglary is always unsettling and traumatic and is best prevented completely.
How would you answer the following questions? (see answers below)
1. Is cash stolen from the house covered?
2. Are unset or loose diamonds covered?
3. Are checks, travel tickets or credit cards covered?
4. We returned home to find our son’s new bicycle missing. (It was locked to a pole outside the house.) Is it covered?
Do not leave your house or car keys in easily accessible places (i.e. in the electricity box or on the kitchen counter at night). We have had two cars stolen in exactly this fashion (i.e. a break-in, keys lifted from the kitchen table and cars opened and stolen). You have been warned!!
Part of an interesting teshuva from Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l on insurance:
The teshuva is in Igrot Moshe (Orach Chayim). Rav Feinstein zt”l gives a long introduction as to whether taking out insurance could be considered as lacking trust (bitachon) in Hashem. In a fascinating overview, he touches on many issues that are of vital relevance today and concludes (free translation): “Therefore, since Hashem Yitbarach has given the wisdom to later generations that there should be such a concept of insurance in the world, [through it] one can provide for one’s old age and for inheritance in a natural way. This is a good and worthwhile thing even for kosher, G-d-fearing people, who trust only in Hashem, who provides all material needs. For the one who buys insurance, this, too, is a part of Hashem’s “plan” and the trust in Hashem is that we should be able to pay the premiums each year and this is the bitachon that we must display. The following applies also to fire and theft insurance and also to motor insurance and such insurance shows no lack of trust at all…” (Copies of the full teshuva are available on request.)
1. Up to 0.5% of your total contents cover (e.g. for contents of NIS 200,000 you are covered for NIS 1,000 in cash.
2. No, unless such cover has specifically been granted by the insurance company.
3. None of these are covered.
4. If the bicycle was locked, it is fully covered. (The same applies to lawn mowers!)
Call us for a quote for your house and contents insurance.
Egert & Cohen – we’re here when you need us!