How Reading My Mail Saved Me $1,566.87

by Joe Plemon on April 18, 2012

Because the letter was in a very plain, unofficial, innocuous looking envelope,  I nearly pitched it.  However, I decided to give it a look.  Good thing!  Here it is:

Dear Policyholder:

 In accordance with the terms of your policy, there will be a premium increase effective on the policy anniversary date.

 We are informing you in advance that starting with the pre-authorized check withdrawal on May 1, 2012, we will be withdrawing the new premium amount of $1,566.87 from your account.

 If you have any questions regarding this letter, please feel free to contact our office at the number below.


 Customer Service Department

Translation:  “Your 10 year term life policy is about to expire, so if you don’t contact us pronto, we are going to jump your monthly premium of $78.30 by 2000%.  By using this nondescript envelope, we hope to sneak this letter under your radar and thus legally rip you off.”

What did I do?

I called the “number below” as fast as my trembling fingers would do so and told the nice lady who answered that I wanted to cancel my policy immediately so I wouldn’t be paying out $1,566.87.  She was quite pleasant to deal with (I had the feeling that I wasn’t the first person who had ever called with that request), asking me to fax my cancellation request.  I did so and, in a few days, received a confirmation letter from the company.  I also contacted my bank who assured me that if the payment somehow goes through anyway, they will work with me to make sure I get my money back.

What about my cancelled life insurance?

I knew that my term was near expiration, but I just wasn’t sure when.  Although my wife and I have no debt, a paid for house and a decent investment portfolio, her survivor’s share of my pensions would only be about 60% of what we receive today.  We have more talking to do, but we are leaning toward a 20 year term (which will cover me until I am 85) for ten times that annual shortfall.  This gives Jan the security I want her to have and even though my premiums will go up, we will be able to easily afford them.

I know this:  I am glad I opened that letter.

Readers:  Do you always open those plain envelope letters? 

 How do you determine the size and type of life insurance you purchase?





krantcents April 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I open and read everything. I think you have to, sometimes I am surprised what I receive in the mail.

Joe Plemon April 19, 2012 at 6:47 am

You are right…we really need to. But I still pitch obvious advertizing solicitations (magazines, etc), so there is a possibility that I could also throw away something important. This “scare” has made me more aware of what could be lurking inside that envelope.

Joe Plemon April 19, 2012 at 6:49 am

A manly letter opener must be the key! What is it … a machete?

Craig Riley April 19, 2012 at 9:51 am

Wow, good thing you took the time to check out what’s inside that envelope. Thank you for reminding me to open and read letters I receive in the mail.

Joe Plemon April 20, 2012 at 6:21 am

Thanks for reading — I am glad my reminder helps.

Joe Plemon April 20, 2012 at 6:23 am

You’re welcome!

Jeannie April 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Wow, that would have been a costly oversight. I have had that happen twice that I can think of – the notice coming in a plain envelope and me just tossing it aside.

I did catch it in time, but consider it sneaky. Why not put some kind of notice on it about being important. I have seen sales letters like that on the envelope.

Joe Plemon April 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

It IS sneaky! If I had not opened that letter, the insurance company would have had a bunch of my money. I wonder how many people get burnt by the plain envelope tact?

John April 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Wow Joe! I bet you’re glad you opened that letter! I always open my mail, but some mail I read through faster than other mail. Perhaps I should slow down, take my time, and read everything!

Joe Plemon April 27, 2012 at 7:36 am

I don’t believe this had ever happened to me before, but now that it has, I will have my antennae up. One never knows.

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