This is an important read. Please take the time to read it. It comes from our Insurance Advisor, Linda Dodson’s true-life experience and most importantly, it comes from the heart.
Jenna’s story starts before she was born. I was told I could never have children. So that is the first miracle.
Here is the second:
On December 10, 2017, Jenna, her fiancé, and her future father-in-law suffered an automobile accident — they were T-boned by a driver carrying minimum liability limits. Tragically, Jenna’s future father-in-law died.
That night Jenna became my miracle for a second time. Her neurosurgeon said most people do not live when the neck is fractured as Jenna’s was. Even if they do live, they are paralyzed from the neck down. Jenna went through emergency neck surgery the next day, and the neurosurgeon said it was like putting back together pieces of a very tiny puzzle.
Jenna also had a punctured lung, four broken ribs, two breaks of her clavicle, a huge break in the humerus of her left arm, a fractured jaw, nerve damage on the left side of her head and a severed radial nerve.
Jenna required constant care and luckily, I was able to live with her and her fiancé, Mikey (who also had a fractured neck) and was able to take them to Dr.’s appointments, physical and occupational therapy, cook, clean, shop, help get Jenna showered and dressed and drive Mikey back and forth to work once he was able to return. It was two months before they were able to live by themselves and 3 months before they could remove their neck braces and begin to “live” independently again.
After 9 months of occupational therapy, we finally heard good news. Her radial nerve had started to regenerate enough to where she could return to work as a journalist and not undergo another painful surgery to restore it.
For years Jenna had fought me over her automobile liability and uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM) limits. I kept hounding her to keep her limits up. (I wanted her to have 250/500/250 but she ended up with 100/300/100 because I said that was the absolute minimum.)
Jenna’s expenses for the first week alone in the hospital were $174,000. At last count, the medical bills were nearing $300,000 for Jenna alone. By stacking coverages from all the insurance policies, we cobbled together enough coverage.
Yes, Jenna was lucky and had health and disability insurance. But she also had deductibles, co-pays, me (free help) and 8 out of the 9 months, her disability paid only 60% of her salary. She will also never again be able to make a fist with her left hand, and she still suffers from migraines and painful cramping of her left hand.
Jenna was very lucky. But what if she had had only minimum state-required limits or had waived the coverage? She could have received only $35,000 — completely inadequate to cover the reduction in wages, ongoing medical care, etc.
After the accident, I offered via Facebook to answer questions about car insurance limits for Jenna’s friends — or anyone. Yes, some had the $100,000/$300,000/$100,000 limits (the bare minimum) but shockingly young and old alike had minimum or lower limits than they needed. And this is what David and I see day in and day out when reviewing our client’s policies.
Many have asked why we did not sue the other driver. The other driver or rather, “kid” that hit them made minimum wage, had no savings in the bank and did not own a home. Nor did he have potential to make and earn money in the future. It just was not worth it, but let me tell you, had the circumstances been different, we all would have sued for everything we could get. Mikey lost his father; his mother lost her husband and well, Jenna went through 9 months of hell.
And this is not just about car accidents. Ask the poor folks in California who are underinsured after the wildfires, an article in Insurance Brokers & Agents magazine said 80% of the homeowners were underinsured. Other statistics report 60% of homes in the country are underinsured. When I hear about folks being underinsured, I wonder: Why the hell does any insurance professional — company, agent, or broker — still sell on price? And why would any consumer buy solely on price?
There is genuine value in insurance consulting, good advice, and proper coverage. This “story” is why I came back to an Insurance Advisor role and joined David (Ryan Everet Insurance) in March. Like me, David cares and is committed to making sure our clients (and even non-clients) understand their coverage and options to protect their financial investments.
Please share this story with your friends, family members, co-workers, and anyone you care about. Make sure they, too, have an advisor that cares enough to do what is right for them while making it easy as possible.
P.S. Jenna and Mikey were finally able to get married on December 8, 2018 and purchased a house this year. They also both received promotions this year and are doing great despite the odds…