Someone to Pay My Credit Card Bills?
By Gary Foreman
Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; they are but the instruments of
the wise. Samuel Lover
It doesn't take a genius to notice that our financial circumstances have changed
in the last few years. But, it does take some thought to recognize which
strategies are still sound and which ones need to be changed. Today we're going
to talk about one that may need to be changed depending on your circumstances.
For years credit card holders have had the option of buying 'credit card
insurance' on their accounts. There are a number of different forms. Some pay
your account if you die. Others pay if you're disabled. The one that we're going
to consider pays if you lose your job.
Before we begin, let's take a moment to discuss why we buy insurance. In it's
purest sense, we buy insurance to pay for losses that we cannot afford to absorb
ourselves. Often these losses are sudden, unexpected or out of our control.
Think car accidents or a home fire or burglary.
Typically, it's foolish to buy insurance for things that we can afford to cover.
You wouldn't buy insurance to pay for your next tank of gas. Presumably you can
afford it and the paperwork plus the insurance company profit would just add to
The second thing to recognize is that it's usually cheaper to buy insurance
that's broader. For instance regular term life insurance (that you can use
however you like) is going to be cheaper than credit card life insurance (that
will only pay your credit card bill).
OK, so today we're going to look at "involuntary unemployment credit card
insurance". That's insurance that will pay if you lose your job.
For years, I've advised against this type of insurance. It's expensive. And,
it's limited in what it covers. In fact, it's been a big money-maker for the
credit card companies. Plus, you shouldn't carry a balance that you couldn't
handle if you lost a job temporarily.
But, circumstances change. Given the economy, many people are concerned about
losing their job. And, they're right. There is more risk than usual. It's only
smart to consider how safe your job is. If you're not sure, here's a simple quiz
that can tell you how risky your situation is <
http://www.scorelogix.com/JSSPay.asp?product_id=1&Pid=4>. It was developed
by a group of mathematicians who specialize in forecasting.
If you think that there's a reasonable chance that you could lose your job you
should consider "involuntary unemployment credit card insurance."
Let's learn a little more about it. In the case of layoff they will make your
minimum payment. The insurance only covers the payment on that one specific
card. So if you have more than one open balance, you'll need more than one
Generally, they won't pay right away. You'll need to continue making the payment
until you've verified that the insurance is paying your bill. If you don't pay
and they don't either, you'll be facing late payment fees and a lower credit
You will need to meet the involuntary unemployment standards. Usually the
insurance probably will not pay if your hours are cut by less than 50%.
The insurance will only make your minimum payment. It will not pay off th entire
balance. That means that the unpaid balance will still be growing due to the
The insurance will only pay for a maximum number of months or a maximum dollar
amount. So your payment is not covered forever.
They will not make minimum payments on anything charged after you are laid off.
That can be important if you plan on using that card to help tide you over after
Now that we know something about it, what steps would you take to investigate
further? You'd begin by calling the credit card company. They'll put you through
to someone who should know how their policy works.
Ask them how much it will cost. They should give you a cost per $1,000 of
account balance and also tell you how much it would cost on your current
Find out exactly what has to happen and what you need to do for them to make
your payment. Know what is excluded. If you don't understand, ask questions
until you do. Don't 'think' you know what's covered.
Make sure you're clear who needs to be unemployed. Is it your account? Your
spouse's? A joint account? Know who needs to lose their job for the insurance to
Find out what it will take to cancel the insurance later. Hopefully your job
will be more secure at some point in the future and the insurance will not be
Decide what credit card you would use for routine purchases. Would that affect
which cards you insure?
Once you've gathered your information give yourself a day to think about it.
Discuss it with your spouse or a trusted friend/relative.
One final warning. Scammers may call you and claim to be from the credit card
company. Do NOT give them your card number. If you want to buy the insurance,
make sure that you're the one doing the calling.
Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
Gary Foreman is the editor of The Dollar Stretcher.com
www.stretcher.com/r/134.htm> and newsletters
http://www.stretcher.com/subscribe/subscribeDS.cfm>. Not only does the site
host thousands of articles on various ways to save money, but you'll also find a
vibrant forum where people share their dollar stretching ideas. You can comment
on this entry here
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