I’ve always been cautious.  Look to the right, look to the left, and look to the right again.

That’s how I ran my life, so when my marriage disintegrated in the early 1990s, I insured myself against every eventuality.

I took out life insurance (to pay out the mortgage if I died), income insurance (in case I got hit by a bus but didn’t die), and trauma insurance (for 23 “defined events”, such as breast cancer and heart attack).

If I couldn’t look after my kids, then the insurance company would.

I set up automatic debits to cover the monthly premiums and tried not to think about the money I was spending on something I hoped would never happen.

The kids grew up and became independent. The mortgage was under control and I was otherwise debt free. I was earning a good living. I was fit and healthy.

But month after month, year after year, I paid those premiums, too cautious to cut the umbilical cord that tied me to the policies.

When I remarried, my new husband questioned the value of all these insurances. He’d never had sleepless nights, wondering about who was going to look after him or his kids.

But old habits die hard, so I ignored his advice and persisted with my insurances.

In early 2010, I was diagnosed with facial melanoma.

Fortunately for me, it was caught early but the radical surgery knocked me for six. I felt disfigured and ugly.

When I finally picked myself up, my thoughts turned to the trauma insurance policy I’d taken out in 1988.

You can guess what happened, can’t you? My claim was rejected. Apparently, my melanoma was “not serious enough”.

I never paid another premium to that company.