7 Absolutely Essential Insurance Policies You Should Have ...

There are a number of essential insurance policies you must have if you want to avoid serious financial problems. People often feel that insurance is wasted money. Certainly you wouldn't want to buy insurance to cover repairs on every appliance you own, but there are others that you shouldn't be without for the peace of mind they offer. Here are the seven essential insurance policies you should buy …

1. Health Insurance

One of the most essential insurance policies you should have is health insurance. According to the Census Bureau (nytimes.com), in 2012, 48 million Americans were without health insurance. Although healthcare policies are costly, if you live in a country without a national health service you really should do everything possible to make sure you are covered.

2. Buildings & Contents

If you live in a rental property, you should have a policy to insure your belongings in case of theft or fire. Homeowners also need to buy buildings insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding in the event of fire or other disaster. Do ensure that your policy never runs out, and shop around every year to see if you can get a cheaper quote. Never let your policy lapse - it could be an expensive mistake.

3. Unemployment

Could you cope financially if you lost your job or had an accident? If you don't have the savings to tide you over until you find another job (or maybe even if you do), it's wise to get an insurance policy to cover a period of unemployment or illness. Don't assume that you will be entitled to State support - even if you do get help, it may be time limited or not cover your living expenses in full.

4. Life

Single people without dependents may not need life insurance. If you have a partner and/or children, insurance can give you peace of mind that they will be taken care of if you die. Hopefully it won't be needed, but if you died your family could be left with serious financial problems. Insurance means that their loss will not be worsened by trying to cope without an income.

5. Pet

Can you do without pet insurance? Well, possibly. This is one policy that isn't strictly speaking essential, but you'll be very glad you have it if your pet needs costly treatment. Accidents and serious illness can run up substantial bills. Having pet insurance gives you reassurance that your pet will be covered whatever happens.

6. Cellphone

If you have a basic, functional cellphone then you don't need to worry about insuring it. It can easily be replaced if lost or damaged, and nobody will want to steal it. However, these days most people have smartphones, which are worth several hundred dollars. I once dropped my old cell, which cost $50, down the toilet, and after drying out overnight it worked perfectly. Imagine if your iPhone suffered the same fate!

7. Travel

Travel insurance is essential if you're travelling overseas, and can be advisable even when staying within your own country. You'll need a policy that covers medical expenses, your possessions, and repatriation in case of death or serious illness. Don't even think of leaving without it - it just isn't worth taking the chance.

All of these policies are discretionary, apart from health insurance (if you own a vehicle, obviously you need to insure it to comply with the law). But depending on your circumstances you may need any or all of them. Have you ever learned the hard way that you should have bought insurance?