How Reading the Fine Print (and Remembering It) Can Save You Money

Reading Fine Print Saves you Money

I would say I am a pretty cautious person and when bad things happen to me I usually try and solve it and take action.  I try to be self reliant and deal with the issue.  However, I must admit, I am not particularly fond of reading instructions, unless it’s on an easy, less than 5 minute Youtube video.  Let me tell you, that was the only way that Mr. GYM and I were able to install the rear facing infant car seat, through a Youtube video.  Those instructions provided with the car seat are hard to read!

When bad things happen to you, think about your ‘phone a friend’ in your back pocket… Sure, you can deal with the issue, but sometimes there is help when you need it!

how remembering you have insurance saves you money

Anyway, recently my car got broken into (one of my colleagues left something in my car and my window got smashed).  I felt really bad because she actually left her bag in my car thinking that it would be safe and her iPhone and wallet etc. got stolen.  This is Vancouver unfortunately, where your windows get smashed for leaving a penny in the car (true story, one of my friends’ car window got smashed for a few pennies in her cup holder, though this was before, when the penny was in distribution).  Now that the penny is devalued, her car won’t be broken into anymore, thankfully!

Unfortunately in British Columbia the main insurance option we have here is ICBC (a Crown Corporation) who recently announced that they may increase rates by 30% in the next two years (yeah, I know, ridiculous!!).  Anyway, because my car window got smashed, there is a $300 deductible I have to pay.  I was pretty bummed about paying a $300 deductible, might I add.  Anyway after reporting the incident to ICBC and after my coworker and I drove around the area trying to look for her discarded purse, we drove with the window smashed to the nearest glass shop where they fixed my window and I parted with the $300 solemnly.

I was talking griping about it with my friend who had just bought a new SUV for the new member of her family and she said she bought this insurance that pays the deductible for her, and would also replace her vehicle (for purchase price) if she were to total the vehicle in the next seven years.  She paid over $1000 for this extra insurance because ICBC is notorious for shafting you and not paying you very much to replace your car (it will usually be replaced at market value, and we know that cars depreciate drastically).  So that $25,000 car you bought 4 years ago might be replaced at $4000 if it were to be considered ‘totalled’.

With that special insurance (it was called Optiom insurance) you would get $25,000 or something like that.

Anyway, I had suddenly remembered that I bought that insurance too!  It was over 3 years ago, and I COMPLETELY forgot about it until she mentioned it.

I promptly went home and looked at my insurance papers and saw that I should be covered for any deductibles that I have to pay.  I paid over $1300 to have my new car insured (yes, I said yes to the up sell, they were good and it made some sense since I had bought a new car and I usually don’t buy new!)

I called the insurance company Optiom, thinking that they were going to wriggle their way out and say that I wouldn’t qualify or something like that, but no, they were pleasant and basically paid my deductible and sent me a $300 cheque after I sent them my claim information.

So you can bet my frugal frown turned upside down!  $300 saved.

how reading the fine print can save you money

Another example of remember and reading the fine print is when my boyfriend (now ex, but that’s another story) had HIS car broken into.  He had left the new iPod Touch I bought for him as a Christmas present in the glove compartment (yes, this was a while ago when people just had an iPod Touch and no $1000 iPhone and it was the newest thing) and someone just broke into his car (no broken glass or anything) to take the iPod.

Again I was pretty bummed out because I had bought that for him and does this mean I should spent another $300 and replace it? That’s when I remembered that there was something called Purchase Protection, I had just gotten a new credit card and was reading about the benefits of the card, there was extended warranty, purchase protection, and the usual rental car insurance.  I had bought the iPod within 90 days, and Purchase Protection from MasterCard states that it:

Provides coverage for most items you purchase with your eligible Mastercard if the item is damaged or stolen within 90 days of the date of purchase.

Again my frugal frown turned upside down!  $300 saved.

However, this took a much longer process from what I recall and I think they didn’t insure the taxes I paid so although I didn’t get 100% of what I spent back, I got a big chunk of it back.  There were a lot of forms I had to send back and it took a while to get my cash back.  I can’t remember if I bought another iPod Touch with that money for my ex, I really can’t, it was a while ago.  Nonetheless, I was grateful to have some cash back, I think I bought something else for him but not an iPod Touch.  I can’t remember though- I did tell him not to put valuables in his glove compartment but he did just ‘that one time’ and of course Murphy’s Law happens and the theft happens that one time you are less than careful.

So the moral of the story is kids, make sure you read those instructions and that fine print, and remember them, because they may come in handy one day to save your butt!  And when it does save your butt, your frugal frown will turn upside down too!

Readers, have you had instances where remembering the fine print saved you money and turned your frugal frown upside down?

Reading Fine Print Saves you Money

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15 thoughts on “How Reading the Fine Print (and Remembering It) Can Save You Money”

    • @Tom- Yeah I do that too. When there are too many unrecognizable words (aka chemicals) I get a little wary and put it back on the shelf.

  1. I used to NEVER read the fine print on anything. Once I rounded my mid 40’s I have been reading the fine print on almost everything. That’s for things If something didn’t work easily, I would get rid of it.

    When it came to financial information I have usually been a fine print kind of person however.

    You OTOH Gym are very thorough. I wish I was more like that during my younger years.

    • @Dr. MB- It’s good that you were a fine print kind of person with financial information- most people aren’t! Including me until I started seeing my Investor’s Group mutual fund plummet. I had to look up with OTOH meant. Haha, what kind of millennial am I?

  2. Purchase protection and double warranty benefits are great!

    It can really pay off to be strategic about putting certain purchases on those credit cards just in case you need to use the extra insurance in the future. I’ve never had to use it (thank goodness) but my brother has benefited from lost baggage insurance on his travel card.

    • @Owen- Yes you’re right- have to be strategic about it because not all credit cards have these benefits. I have another story about the baggage protection! Hahah! ANOTHER ex (boy, now I sound like I dated a lot of people) lost his baggage and he was bummed about it (he was on a work trip). Then I told him his card probably covers lost baggage. Well he managed to get a new suit for work that was much nicer than his previous suit!

  3. For years whenever I rented a car, I always paid extra for their rental company’s insurance. It wasn’t until I actually sat down and read the fine print of my credit card that I’m covered for rental car insurance and in fact most credit cards cover you for the insurance too. I should known about it earlier and would have saved some money.
    Their’s been a lot of break-ins here in SF especially at touristy spots. We try not to have anything visible in our car since we mainly park outside. If anything we sometimes leave a open plastic water bottle in our cup holder….not exactly something someone wants to break in and take. 🙂

    • @Kris- ME TOO (well it wasn’t for years) but it was a few times where I paid rental car insurance. The rental car companies must make a ton of money because most people are worried they don’t have it and need it. Yeah, a water bottle sounds pretty safe- if someone breaks in for that, this would be a very sad day!

  4. Sorry to hear about your car window incident. That is a hassle you had to deal with. I hate those fine prints, why don’t they make them bigger? It’s so hard to read those tiny and crowded crap. For those extra protection terms, I never paid any attention. That’s great you could remember those details, and get your money back.

  5. it’s pretty common to have full glass coverage here in the u.s. if your windshield gets cracked they just come to your house or job and replace it with no deductible. people ought to know what’s in their policy. i just found out most of the work we have done on our house the past 16 years was worth tax credits worth 20% of the costs. we only just discovered that this past year that we were giving away free money. it’s not exactly fine print but kinda like that. it’s what i just wrote about…great minds, right?

    • @Freddy Smidlap- Whhhhhaaaa? Is there any way you can get credit for the previous 15 years? Going to check out your blog now. That’s nice you have full glass coverage. Things are pretty scarce here in BC and we have a monopoly and still have to pay ridiculous amounts for car insurance ($1800/year) and don’t get full glass coverage haha.

  6. I find no matter how much I read about the coverage included with my credit cards, I always seem to forget! And there is so much in it, I am sure lots of people miss out on claims.
    The purchase protection is one example, there is also coverage for delayed flights, missing luggage…
    Sorry to hear about the car window:(

    • @Caroline- Oh no worries it was a few years ago. I actually wrote this post I think when I was pregnant or early post partum and it kept getting a bit delayed in the post queue. I think a lot of people don’t bother about delayed flights or delayed luggage because it’s such a hassle to deal with the insurance company- and that you might worry it won’t be covered or considered a ‘necessary good’


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