• It pays to read the fine print -- and it made one woman $10,000 richer

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    It pays to read the fine print. It was worth $10,000 to a Florida high school teacher.

    Donelan Andrews was reading the small print in the $400 travel insurance policy she bought from St. Petersburg-based Squaremouth when she noticed an interesting clause, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

    On page 7 of the nearly 4,000-word document for the Tin Leg policy she bought, Andrews, 59, noticed a section titled “pays to read.” It was well worth the read, the newspaper reported.

    According to the newspaper, the terms read, “In an effort to highlight the importance of reviewing policy documents, we launched Pays to Read, a contest that rewards the individual who reads their policy information from start to finish. If you are reading this within the contest period ... and are the first to contact us, you may be awarded the Pays to Read contest Grand Prize of ten thousand dollars.”

    The policy listed an email address to contact the prize, which Andrews did immediately, the Times reported. She received a telephone call the next day and learned she was $10,000 richer.

    Andrews, who calls herself a “nerd,” told the newspaper she always reads the terms of any contract she enters into.

    “The main reason I always do it is that I went to the University of Georgia and I majored in consumer economics,” Andrews told the 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.”

    Andrews is also familiar with the trick of hiding information. She told the newspaper she would hide a bonus in tests, and students who read the entire document would be rewarded. “So, I have to practice what I preach,” Andrews told the Times.

    Squaremouth had begun the promotion the day before Andrews discovered the clause. The company had intended to donate the $10,000 to charity if no one had claimed it within a year, the newspaper reported.

    Company spokeswoman Jenna Hummer said the company estimates only about 1 percent of its customers read their policies, the Times reported. Squaremouth sold about 73 policies with the hidden instructions before Andrews cashed in, the newspaper reported.

    Andrews told the newspaper she plans to use the money to take a trip to Scotland for her 35th wedding anniversary. Squaremouth donated an additional $5,000 to the two high schools where Andrews works to improve their media centers, and gave $10,000 to the children’s charity Reading is Fundamental.

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