It’s time to check in on our Quarantine 30 Day Challenge! It may seem like 17 weeks have gone by, but it was only one month ago that our entire state of Florida began a state-wide, stay-at-home order. I chose to “attempt” a 30 day budgeting challenge. I figured, it would be a good thing, but I never dreamed that it would end up being a pretty IMPORTANT thing!
Budgeting helped us avoid a crisis!
In a nutshell, thanks to budgeting, I found out that our auto insurance policy had been cancelled.
My husband and I had NO IDEA.
We thought our automatic payments were going thru, as they had for the past 14 or so YEARS that we’d been with the same insurance company.
Thoughout that time, we bought and sold cars, moved from California to Texas and now to Florida, and we kept the same insurance company. Never had any issues. Had a great experience with the company when we needed to file a claim after having flood damage to one of our cars when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017.
I thought auto-pay was automatic
Imagine our surprise when, as I was “tweaking” our budget, I noticed that our car insurance payment had not been debited from our account.
Hmmm. That’s weird.
I checked and the previous month wasn’t showing up as debited either. Huh? Weird again.
The next day, I called to find out if maybe it had to do with a bank account and debit card change. A few months back we had changed bank accounts, but I thought we had set up our payments with the new bank and everything was running smoothly.
As you may know, if you ever miss a payment or two on anything, things can get cancelled. You might get phone calls from creditors, etc. So I figured, everything must be great!
To my utter shock, when I called the insurance company, they informed me that our policy had been cancelled almost 3 months earlier!
What do you mean by “cancelled?”
WHAT IN THE WORLD?! Excuse me? Can you explain to me how an insurance company simply cancels your insurance without an email or phone call? No notifications?
I feel like, if my husband or I had seen a “cancellation notice” or something similar, you would think we would have done something about it!
So, of course, I asked. I called the local office. I contacted the national office. I sent messages thru social media. I submitted a formal request to reinstate our account. And we hit all the dead ends you can imagine.
At one point, I think I just broke down and cried. The whole thing was so frustrating. You mean we didn’t have insurance for like 2-3 months?! How could we not know?
Thank God for budgeting (and 30 Day Quarantine Challenges!)
I quickly said a prayer of thanks to God for protecting us! Can you imagine finding out you don’t have insurance thru an accident? At least, we found out thru budgeting! (And then I thanked God again that I picked “budgeting” for this 30 Day Quarantine Challenge!)
Eventually, the insurance company said that they had mailed a letter to let us know about the cancellation. No email. No phone calls. Just a letter that my husband and I wish we would have known about. Maybe it got lost, or we accidentally thru it out with a pile of junk mail. Who knows?
But wait, it gets better!
To make this whole thing even more baffling, a few weeks before, when we were still unaware that we were uninsured, my husband went to the insurance office in person. He requested an extra copy of our insurance cards for the cars. They were like, of course! Here ya go! (Meanwhile, they did not tell us that they had cancelled our policy. They just gave us the cards, like everything was perfect!)
Can it get even better? Of course! Just last week we got a card from the same insurance company that cancelled our account, wishing my husband (whose policy they had cancelled) a happy birthday.
Back to the point, all that mattered was that we didn’t have insurance, so we HUSTLED to find a new company. Sadly, we found out that, because we had been “uninsured for so long,” we were going to have to pay a higher premium.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends for (budgeting) help
I asked, I begged, I called, I emailed and we looked at all the possible options. Thankfully, my husband was able to chat with a friend who, interestingly, works for the same insurance company that we’d been so frustrated with. She gave us great counsel. Our friend not only pointed us in the right direction, but helped us figure out how to set up insurance considering this situation. She helped us stay within our current budget, and guided us on what to do “repair the damage” that we were unaware had been caused.
I hope you never have something like this happen to you! As much as I love setting things up on auto-pay, I learned my lesson. Check your accounts regularly.
Quarantine 30 Day Challenge: Lesson Learned
If I learned anything from this Quarantine 30 Day Budget Challenge, it’s that keeping track of our income and expenses affects more than just money; it can truly affect your whole life.
In this case, budgeting helped save us from a potential crisis, had something happened to our cars while we were oblivious to our insurance situation. I’m glad we were able to set up insurance and thankful that God protected us in the interim!
Honestly, with how Corona-crazy things are in the world, we need peace of mind more than ever. Our state of Florida starts Phase 1, reopening in the midst of this Covid-19 crisis. The last thing I want for you is to stress out about money.
If you’d like budgeting help, I’m a fan of money expert Dave Ramsey! (So is another one of our Orlando Mom Collective moms, Angelica!) Dave’s free budgeting app, Every Dollar, is pretty easy to set up and use. That’s the one I use!
I’m also a fan of the You Need a Budget podcast. I haven’t tried their budgeting system, but have a friend who LOVES it. My friend & his wife are a 1-income family with tons of kids & they can somehow afford Disney Annual Passes! I think that means they can budget with the best of them! 🙂
Stay safe! And let me know in the comments if you have any budgeting stories! I’d love to hear from you!