It’s easy to understand why some radio programs are so popular. The hosts (presenters) tend to be very engaging and they often go on crusades about subjects that capture the public’s imagination.

One popular presenter has recently undertaken the causes of strippers and even questioned whether MP’s  should be paid. When the subject is lightweight and entertaining, we can all enjoy ourselves.

Subject of money it changes

When the subject is more substantial and speaks to the basic well-being of the populace, we have to be careful to give both sides of the issue. Another popular radio presenter has been making a lot of noise lately about the insurance industry.

He happens to believe that the industry encourages people to live in a state of anxiety and that we really don’t need it. Is it a responsible position to take, telling people what they need or don’t need? Or is it the more responsible position to give the people the facts and let them make up their own minds? When it comes to insurance, some need it and some don’t. Some can afford it and some can’t.

Big bucks means big business

There are always at least two sides to every issue. The insurance industry helps many people and can be burdensome to others; and it’s huge. The insurance industry is an essential part of the UK economy; it’s the third largest in the world and the largest in Europe. In the UK, in 2010:

  • An estimated 19.6 million households had content insurance
  • 2.1 million claims were made
  • 24.3 million private vehicles were insured
  • £5.2 million was paid daily in liability claims

But those facts don’t reflect the issue. Our society is multi-layered and many on the lower strata simply cannot afford insurance, no matter whether it might be needed or not.

Low-income families

According to the organisation Consumer Focus, around one-fifth of the UK population (13.5 million people) live in low-income households. This segment of the population experiences a daily struggle to feed and clothe the family and pay the necessary bills to keep warm, dry and safe. And so, for fully one-fifth of the population, the question of the necessity of insurance is a non-starter; it just can’t be afforded.

For those with the discretionary income that allows you to afford insurance, you have to make informed decisions. In our society you can insure virtually anything; and some people do just that. Almost everyone agrees that, given the high cost of medicines and medical procedures abroad, you should get travel insurance if you can.

Beyond that, it is incumbent upon each individual or family to determine what they need. It’s a question of finding the right balance without going overboard. What is the likelihood that you’ll suffer an accident or critical illness abroad? The experts say it’s a one in seven chance for a man and one in eight for a woman.

Is road safety an issue?

Britain’s roads are amongst the safest in the world, but there’s still a 25 percent possibility of being in a motoring accident. If you’re in the market for a new home, it’s likely that mortgage insurance will be required. If you’re single, you probably won’t need life insurance. But if you do, term insurance is the most popular form. Just keep in mind, only one in 20 term policies result in a claim. The insurance industry spends a lot of money on adverts letting us know how vulnerable we are without their products. They tout their products as providing ‘peace of mind.’ The question then becomes ‘how much peace of mind can you afford?’

The moral of this story is: if you don’t have any rich friends to tide you over in times of need, a little bit of insurance might not be a bad thing.

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