I don’t gamble.

OK, that might be a slight exaggeration.  I have been known to say things like “a pound says that it will rain before the end of the day because I’ve got my best killer heels on” but that’s usually about as far as it goes.

I’ve been to Vegas and other casino like places, and loved the atmosphere and the thrill of watching people place bets and see the look of joy when they win, but I’ve never been interested in placing a bet myself, because I know that the house always wins.  Why would they do it otherwise.

They are there to make money, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the probability is that I’ll lose more than I win.  So why not take advantage of the entertainment (and often subsidised bar) without having to place a bet.

I have a similar view to insurance.  Obviously I insure the things that I have to insure, because things like car insurance are mandatory, even if it’s just third party.  I’ve always insured my properties, even if it was just because the mortgage company required it, and some other insurance polices just make sense.  When my children were little, I had a policy on my life, to make sure that they were taken care of if anything happened to me.  On the other hand, other insurance polices have never made much sense to me, with legal insurance being top of that list, and not just because I can do it all for myself.

The problem with policies on things like legal matters is that if you are going to make a claim, you are completely in the hands of your insurer.  In my experience, they will insist that you use their solicitors who may be doing it on a conveyer belt system, with much of the work being done by junior/inexperienced staff.  I’ve also seen clients be put under pressure to agree terms in cases that they wouldn’t otherwise have done.  For example, a large employer who had an insurance policy to cover Employment Tribunal claims was forced to keep an employee on, long past their sell by date, in order to retain insurance cover.  What they ended up paying that employee in terms of salary far exceeded anything that they would have had to pay had the employee been dismissed.  Added to the premiums the client was paying for the insurance policy, not to mention staff moral that a workshy member of the team was still on the payroll, it was an expensive exercise.  Another client followed the insurers solicitors advice (which was contrary to my advice), and lost, and then ended up in a legal fight with the insures who then tried to wriggle out of paying the compensation.

That doesn’t mean I would say you should never take out insurance of this type, but simply that it’s always worth considering what you are actually getting for your money.  What are the terms of the cover and what are the caveats.  If the premium is more than the actual and practical value of the protection you will receive, then obviously it’s a false economy.

If in doubt, talk to a broker or a lawyer before you make a final decision.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Good advice whether you bet on red or black.