Real Life Insurance Stories: Carolyn Davis-Jardine and Her Husband, Dan
Carolyn Davis-Jardine would have never bought life insurance on her own.
As a migraine sufferer with a bad back, she is unable to work and tries to make ends meet on an extremely low fixed income provided by the income support cheques of the Ontario Disability Support Program. It took her second husband, Dan Jardine, to insist that the two get life insurance and he help to pay the premiums before she ever considered it.
Then, in August 2010, four short years after purchasing two $25,000 life insurance policies in each other's name, Dan was the victim of a tragic accident. A laminator by day, he would often help friends with small construction projects that they couldn't do by themselves by night. It was one of those times when he fell off of a friend's roof and fell into a coma. A few days later, Carolyn had to make a heart wrenching decision:
"I had to pull the plug. Dan's body was so badly damaged and, according to the doctors, he wasn't going to come out of it," she says. Because I love Dan to pieces, I mean, I loved him so much, I went through a very hard time where I couldn't even talk or call anybody."
Understandably, making an insurance claim was the last thing on her mind. So, while both policies were originally bought with funeral expenses in mind, she ended up cremating Dan and having a small backyard B.B.Q. memorial service. Besides, she says it's what Dan would have wanted. But when she finally did get the claim started a couple of months later, LSM Broker Tamara Humphries told her that she was in for a very pleasant surprise.
"When I got it, I only thought I was going to get $25,000 and then Tamara turned around and she said to me, 'No, because you've had it over three years, it automatically went up to $100,000. It shocked me."
Dan must have been smiling down because that money helped Carolyn in ways she could never have dreamed of, including paying a number of outstanding bills, being able to afford the Christmas she never had, buying a new car, and finally purchasing drugs and medical treatments she previously couldn't afford.
"When Dan was alive, he would spend most of his money on my medical situation, so with this I was really able to help myself out," she says.
Add to that the speed it took to get the money (it took less than a week), and Humphries still keeps in contact to this day, even though Carolyn has moved, just to make sure things are okay in her life and to see if she needs anything.
"Even before the trying times, Tamara was the biggest sweetheart I've ever met. She made a special financial planning book for me and Dan and told us what to put in it. She constantly would email us to say, 'How are you doing?' 'Merry Christmas,' and 'Happy Birthday,'" says Carolyn.
"When this happened, she literally was there. She was so helpful to me. Remember, my brain wasn't really working at that time, but I do remember she came over and I do remember she was there to comfort me. I remember that and I couldn't believe it."
On reflection, it's easy for her to see where she'd be without insurance. It changed her entire impression of the industry and gave her the funds to move away and start a new life.
"It helped me with so much that I would've never been able to do. If I didn't have this insurance when Dan died, I swear I wouldn't be here right now because I wouldn't have been able to handle it," says Carolyn.
"People have to get life insurance because everything is so expensive after people leave us and Dan's death came as a shock when it happened. Like I said, your brain doesn't work, and when Dan was in the hospital I wasn't thinking about bills or putting food on the table. When he actually did die, I was like, 'Oh my God, now what?'"
"For two months, I didn't care if I ate or did anything and when I finally did get the insurance, I was like, 'Thank you, Dan, thank you, thank you.' It was Dan that made me do it because I wouldn't have gotten it otherwise."
Her experience has completely changed her outlook on life insurance in general and she insists that she recommends it to anyone who asks.
"Before I even met Dan, I thought any insurance was a gimmick. I thought the company is just going to take my money for years and years and by the time I would've gotten any of it back, I would've put much more in than I would ever receive in return," she says. "I thought it was a waste of time and that there was always a loophole that meant you couldn't collect. Dan wasn't like that. He was like, 'No, we're buying insurance,' and I'm really glad he did that. He literally saved my financial life."