Ask a Money-Challenged Person: Why Am I the Worst?

Dear Money-Challenged Person,
I think I might have let my insurance expire but I’m not sure because I cannot force myself to open my mail. I’ve known about this for awhile, but can’t deal with it. Why am I the worst?

You’re not the worst. You have described nothing that I haven’t done five million times, and I am not the worst, therefore: You are not the worst. Plus like, some people kill other people and you just don’t enjoy dealing with bills? HA. You’re great, you’re the best.

You know what is the worst? Money and bills and dealing with those things. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if we could all go live in cabins in the woods and eat berries and bathe in waterfalls and also have HBO, somehow? I think about this paradise often. I’d have a hammock, and a dog, but not just any dog, specifically my dog who is no longer alive, but would be if I lived in the woods and ate berries. Anyway, it would be amazing. But: This is not our life. It is also not a potential solution to this particular problem (“True Life: I moved to the woods and picked berries to avoid opening my mail”).

Unfortunately the only solution to this particular problem is .. to deal with it, ugh. Ignoring it was on okay option for a minute, and I’m sure you had some great times doing great things while not thinking about your insurance policy. But now ignoring it will make it worse, probably, so: THE TIME IS NIGH. You’ve got to call those peeps, there’s no way around it.

Do it right now and be done with it so you can have a good weekend and not think about this for one more second. Call your insurance company ask about your account. I think that the chances are high that a very nice human will want to help you. If a very nice human doesn’t want to help you, ask to speak to a very nice manager. You can figure this out. Just do it. Like, right now. Get it over with.

You don’t say what kind of insurance policy you’re dealing with, but let’s talk worst-case scenarios, because those are the reasons you’re not calling: THE FEAR OF THE WORST. But: Even worst case scenarios are totally within your capacity to deal with, mean it.

If it’s a car insurance policy and non-payment has resulted in cancellation, you can probably talk them back into reinstating your policy. Focus on doing that. Send really positive vibes through the phone. Be really nice. Promise to never have a late payment again. (If this does not work, your life isn’t over, but you can’t drive until you get a new policy or else you’ll get fined or go to jail and it will be terrible. Also, you’re going to have to pay for a high-risk policy now, which is kind of a big deal and for sure more expensive, but you’re still not the worst, not even close to the worst, so while you’re dealing with it, just think about the universe and how vast it is and what a speck you and your problems are, comparatively. You could also take this as a sign to sell your car and get a bike.)

If it’s a health insurance policy you’re talking about, you have two periods to pay attention to: the grace period and the reinstatement period. If your payment is received after the end of the grace period, your policy is canceled. But really it’s “canceled,” because you have the reinstatement period to reinstate your policy. If you miss both periods, then your insurance is actually canceled and you have to get new insurance. But this is still okay, it’s still groovy, because unlike car insurance, which penalizes you as soon as you go without it (seriously: don’t ever go without it), health insurance gives you another grace period before they hit you with penalties for being a flake. You’ve got 63 days to get another policy without being penalized for having gone without insurance. So get on it. Apply away. Don’t lie on your forms.

(Someone that knows way more about this than I do is going to write about how to do this very soon, but for now, do what you can. Maybe ask a grown-up for help. It’s hard to ask for help, but it’s been my experience that people who have their stuff figured out really enjoy helping those of us who don’t have our stuff figured out. I don’t really understand why either, but let’s accept it as truth.)

Call and figure it out. And then automate all your bills — that’s money-challenged person rule number one. And then go buy yourself a treat. Maybe some berries.