Insurance Disaster Bill

SACRAMENTO — Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today to streamline residential insurance claims for victims of disasters such as wildfires.

“When someone has lost their home or suffered serious damage in a disaster, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get coverage they are entitled to,” Sen. Dodd said. “Insurance companies must act swiftly to advance living expenses for temporary housing and other costs and they shouldn’t bury home owners in exhaustive inventory forms. People who pay their premiums deserve to be made whole without unnecessary delay.”

Senate Bill 872, sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, expands the definition of additional living expenses that must be paid to home owners for losses incurred in a state of emergency. Upon submission of a claim, it requires an advance payment of no less than four months for costs such as housing, furniture rental and transportation. Also, it requires an advance payment of no less than 25 percent of a policy limit for lost contents without submission of an inventory form.

The bill, coauthored by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, requires insurers to give home owners a 60-day grace period for payment of residential premiums after an emergency. Also, insurance companies will be barred from deducting the land value from payouts for those who build on new lots.

“When a disaster occurs, residents need immediate help, not red tape and unnecessary paperwork that adds to their problems,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “I am proud to sponsor this crucial legislation, enforcing actions that I have urged insurers to take after wildfires to protect policyholders. This proposal will help ensure residents have all the resources and time available to them to help ease the financial and emotional toll of a disaster.”

Don’t Take Life For Granted

Life is a gift. It is a precious gift we all take for granted. This isn’t a knock on anyone in particular, it just is something we don’t really think about, the same as breathing or waking up in the morning. We don’t really think about these things, but in all honesty, it is something we should. To be alive. To live and to love. To see the great wonders of the world and to experience life is truly the best gift of all. While we all feel pain, sadness and guilt at different parts of our life, it does not undo that we are alive and can feel the world around us. It is sad that not all of us are able to open up to the world, but after I learned of my HIV, it made me look at life and realize that, up to that point in time, I had taken it all for granted, and after I moved past the sudden shock and depression of the diagnosis, I decided to never take life for granted ever again.

Of course, I did take out some protective measures, such as life insurance, to ensure my family can continue living their lives in peace and comfort. After all, while I might have to live with HIV, there is no reason they should feel the side effects after I am gone.

How HIV Has Changed My Life…For the Better

Yes, it is true, nobody actually wants HIV. I didn’t wake up one morning and think "You know, I really hope the doctor tells me today that I have HIV." However, that simply is not how life works. You are tossed a curve ball, and while there are things I wish I would not have done to contract the virus, knowing that I have HIV is something that has totally and completely changed my life, for the better.

Before HIV, I would take for granted the time spent with my family. If my mom called on the phone, maybe I’d answer, or maybe not. I’d often avoid spending time with my sisters, simply because I did not want to hear about their days and have to deal with them complaining about what happened at work (even though they have husb ands for this). I’d also back out on my friends all the time, simply because I had a sudden change of heart. However, HIV has given me a sudden change of heart. I now look forward to the conversations, spend more time with my friends, and even talk to them about everything from sports to life insurance, because I want to make sure we are close and I don’t miss out on the important things in life, which is ultimately the people.

The Importance of Life Insurance

I always knew the importance of life insurance, how it is in place to protect your loved ones in the event if your death, but despite knowing the importance of it, I never actually went out and obtained it, at least until I was told I had HIV. That is something you never expect to hear, but is something that truly changes the way you think and feel about your life. HIV is one of those things that you have heard so much about on the news, in the movies and with other programming and material. However, while it is serious and you have to live with it for the rest of your life, it is not something that is going to completely stop your life and prevent you from living it. I have been living with HIV for three years now, and while I am still new to it, I underst and the need to have life insurance in order to protect my family.

I do not want my family to suffer through having to pay for my medical expenses and my final costs. As long as I can prevent the HIV from developing further, it is something that I know I can live with, but I still want to protect my family with the help of the life insurance.

What it is Like Living With HIV

When I tell people I’m HIV positive, people seem to think my life is completely out of whack and I must live in a super sterol hospital room, afraid to go outside and become sick. They also assume that I have to take a few hundred pills a day and must just sit around in a hospital gown as well. However, while I do take a few pills in the morning and before meals, my life really is not all that different from anyone else. In fact, I might go out on a limb to actually say my life is better.

When I wake up, I get out of bed, shower and get dressed just like everyone else. I drive to work just like everyone else and I have my own life insurance policy, just like anyone else might want to do. However, having HIV has allowed me to take stock in my life and look at what is important. I don’t spend full days just sitting on the couch any longer. Instead, I get outside, ride a bike, hang out with my friends or just do little things that most people take for granted, but I know is important, because life and the people you live it with are the most important people in the entire world.

Protecting My Family with Life Insurance

HIV is one of those things that as soon as you say it, people already have a stigma against you. It’s kind of like when you were five years old and you said the girl across the room had cooties. People just want to stay away from you, and while they don’t come right out and say it, you can simply see it in their eyes that they don’t want to catch it and almost believe that it can jump from my body to theirs. it has been a bit of a process, but now I am doing more with my life than I ever have before. I am also protecting my family by taking advantage of a life insurance policy.

This is something I would recommend anyone who has received word of an HIV diagnosis. While modern medicine has made it that much more possible to live a healthy life, you truly do not know what life might bring, which is true for anyone. And nobody really wants their family to be forced to front cash for their final expenses or fall into debt. I know my expenses are likely going to be expensive, which is why I want to protect everyone in my family with the life insurance. It just is the right thing to do for them.

HIV Isn’t a Death Sentence

Growing up, I always thought that HIV really meant a death sentence. Essentially, unless the person’s name was Ervin "Magic" Johnson, everyone else seemed to die after only a few years. However, after my Earth shattering diagnosis, I discovered this really was not the case. In fact, I have now been living with HIV for the last four years now, and unless I came right out and told you that I have HIV, you would not suspect me being any different at all. That is because treatment for HIV has drastically changed in the past 15 years and it is no longer necessary to be a millionaire (such as Magic Johnson) to live a long and healthy life.

I now do more with my family than I ever have in previous times in my life. I have two daughters and a wife who I love dearly. I contracted HIV by sharing a needle with someone who had HIV, and while I thought that this might have been the end of my life, it really is now just the beginning. The time I have spent with my family is something I would not change for the world, and while I do have to do things differently than what someone who does not have HIV might do, I can protect my family with life insurance just the same.

Don- The Story of Hope and Strength

Don was a man who loved life. He spent his twenties traveling, meeting new and exciting people and living an amazing life. In the early 1980’s he found out that he had AIDS. This was something he never thought would happen to him. One of the concerns he had was that this is something that would define him. However, during his life, Don showed everyone he knew that he was much more than this disease.

A big concern he had was that he would never get the life insurance he needed, much less find love again. He had some trouble in the beginning, but as AIDS awareness grew and he accepted the condition things became easier for him. He had two long term partners after his diagnosis. His last was another man named Don, who he was with the last 6 years of his life. He would often talk of how complete and happy his life was. He spent time working with other people who had recently found out they had AIDS to give them hope and support.

Even though Don never had a child his sister became a widow when her son was just a few years old and he raised his nephew as though he were his son. He watched his nephew grow up and even have a child of his own. Despite the fact that Don passed away in 2010, he showed the world what a fighter he was as he lived for three decades after being diagnosed.

I love you

Yes, according to the word dictionary, and human intelligence, love is definitely spelled L-O-V-E. However, really smart people with families and responsibilities spell love a totally different way; I-N-S-U-R-A-N-C-E. That’s right, getting insurance on your children and your pets, and yes, even your spouse tells them that you care, even if you don’t.

Getting Sick is Not an Option

Have you looked at a medical bill lately? Well, you should. If you visit the ER with complaints of a headache, those aspirins might cost you $5 to $10 a pop. This depends on the strength, of course. Please don’t get really sick, and need long term care, that’s another $500 dollars a day. Let’s face it, if you don’t have health insurance, you can’t afford to get sick.

No Discounts in the Life There After

Whatever, you do, please don’t forget to take out life insurance. There is a saying that goes, “You are worth more dead than alive.” Well, that might be true. Department stores run specials all the time, you can get your clothing and household items on special, or probably half off. But who will seriously offer you half off on your burial? That is unheard of.

You don’t want your family to remember you dressed in your favorite suit, and being lowered into the ground with a cardboard box. If you can have friends with benefits, why do have life insurance with benefits too.

Be sure to get life insurance to protect those you love
Be sure to get life insurance to protect those you love

Take Insurance Seriously

Don’t take being healthy for granted. Although, it does pay off, if you are looking for health and life insurance. If you are a smoker, your insurance premium has just increased and so is your risk for heart disease and lung cancer. The price of your insurance coverage depends on your lifestyle. Even if you have not taken the best care of your body, you can still get coverage for any pre-existing illnesses, but it is definitely going to cost you. So, pull out those “Duckies” and show some real love.

Growing Up with HIV

Growing up, I contracted HIV through a bad blood transfusion after a freak accident outside my parent’s house. I was playing and cut myself pretty good on the garden fencing. I was rushed to the hospital and they were running short on my particular blood type due to some sort of fault in the refrigeration system, so people were donating their blood inside of the hospital. I have a rare blood type, so when someone showed they had this kind of blood the doctors quickly took it and used it on me. Now, if this person hadn’t been around I probably would have died, just due to the extreme loss of blood, but because of the quick nature of it, the doctors were not able to make all of the necessary tests, including screening for HIV. It passed the initial test, but apparently the person was in the early stages of it and didn’t even know they had it, so through the blood it past on to me.

I know when I first discovered I had HIV I really wanted to be mad at the world. I mean, it wasn’t me that did anything wrong, yet I had been hit with this sudden strike of bad luck. However, without the blood transfusion I would have died anyway, so it really is a catch 22. Since the diagnosis though I have been living an extremely healthy life. Of course, my parents did take out life insurance on me, just in case, but at my request, because I did not want them to have to pay such extreme amounts when I am gone.