Canadians spend almost $50 billion on insurance annually, according to combined statistics from the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Many of us fork out thousands of dollars each year on insurance--it's the fifth-largest expenditure a family makes, according to Statistics Canada figures--but the strange thing is, few of us know what we've bought until we need it. Then we sometimes get a nasty surprise when we find out our insurance doesn't cover a particular loss. Perhaps our agent or broker didn't explain what our policy did and didn't cover when we bought it; likely we didn't read the policy ourselves--who does? But now it's too late--it's all water under the bridge--or in your basement!--and you simply have to grit your teeth and foot the repair bill.
Imagine spending the same amount on a new high-tech sound system as you do on insurance. You'd certainly want to make sure you were getting good value for your hard-earned cash, and you'd probably spend a lot more time shopping around for the sound equipment than for your insurance. Let's face it--it's pretty hard to get excited about buying a new insurance policy!
You'd also want to replace your sound system when it became old or outdated (which doesn't take long these days). Similarly, your insurance needs will change through various stages of life, as well as with changes in job status. For example, a single person starting a career probably will not need life insurance just yet, since he or she doesn't have a family to protect; empty nesters moving into a condominium will need different insurance than a homeowner; self-employed people may need health coverage that others usually get through their workplace, and so on.
Many factors affect an individual's insurance--age, marital and familial status, employment status, the purchase of a new car or new home, and the acquisition of valuables, like jewellery, a state-of-the-art computer, or even a rare comic book.