Less than 23 hours into what one insurance company expected to be a year-long contest, a Georgia woman collected the $10,000 grand prize for actually reading the fine print in her travel insurance policy.
In February, Donelan Andrews purchased travel insurance from Florida-based company Squaremouth for an upcoming trip to London, CBS reported.
When the policy arrived, she read every last word, no matter how tiny the type.
“The main reason I always do it is that I went to the University of Georgia and I majored in consumer economics,” she said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “So it’s always been a passion of mine to be consumer aware, and particularly, not to be taken advantage of. I even read that HIPAA document they give you at the doctor’s office.”
The company buried instructions for claiming the prize in the fine print of every Tin Leg Travel Insurance contract. As she read and read, she unknowingly was getting closer and closer to $10,000.
“If you’ve read this far, then you are one of the very few Tin Leg customers to review all of their policy documentation,” the contract read, saying that the first person to email a given address would get the prize.
Squaremouth spokesperson Jenna Hummer said the contest was an idea to draw attention to the importance of reading policy documents, and that by the time Andrews won, only 73 policies with the hidden instructions had been sold.
“We want people to read it because we want people to understand what they’re covered for and not covered for,” Hummer said, according to The Washington Post. “It makes everybody’s life a lot easier.”
Andrews said the company’s gimmick was much like a trick she would use on her students.
“I used to put a question like that midway through an exam, saying ‘If you’re reading this, skip the next question.’ That caught my eye and intrigued me to keep reading,” Andrews said.
In announcing its “Pays to Read” campaign, the company said on its website that everyone should do what Andrews did.
“We understand most customers don’t actually read contracts or documentation when buying something, but we know the importance of doing so. We created the top-secret Pays to Read campaign in an effort to highlight the importance of reading policy documentation from start to finish,” Squaremouth wrote.
The company added that a lack of understanding of what insurance covers is the top reason claims are denied.
In addition to giving Andrews her prize, Squaremouth was inspired by Andrew’s “dedication to reading and teaching” and donated $10,000 to a children’s literacy group and $5,000 each to two high schools at which Andrews teaches.
Andrews will put the money to good use.
“I am retiring from teaching on May 31, after 25 years,” she said. “My husband and I are going on a trip to Scotland to celebrate my retirement and our 35th wedding anniversary! This will cover most of that cost! And by the way, I will be purchasing trip insurance!”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.