life insurance

Life insurance sounds like it will keep you alive if something terrible happens. Like health insurance, but more so.

Here is the funny part: Life insurance doesn’t even kick in until you die. It’s a bet you make with an insurance company. You’re betting that you’re going to die soon. If you win (by dying), the insurance company has to give a lot of money to your relatives.

Some things scare us so much that we’re afraid to talk about them. So we pick a word that’s completely different from the thing we’re afraid of and say that instead.

We fear death far more than we fear earthquakes or floods. The people who named life insurance (shortly before attempting to sell it to other people) used this knowledge to their advantage. They knew nobody wanted to talk about dying or think about it or get a bill every month that said “death” on it, so they put a word in there that means the opposite of death.

Oh, sure, they might offer you some accidental death and dismemberment insurance as an afterthought, but “life” is always what gets you in the door.