It pays to read the fine print – literally.
A Georgia high school teacher recently won $10,000 for simply reading the entirety of a travel insurance contract.
Donelan Andrews, 60, is getting ready to retire this year. The travel insurance policy she read is for an upcoming trip with friends to London. As she was making her way through the last page of the document, she noticed something curious: “If you’ve read this far, then you are one of the very few Tin Leg customers to review all of their policy documentation.”
Hidden in the fine print was a contest, and Ms. Andrew was the first person to find it. The educator, who always encourages her students to read their assignments thoroughly, was surprised and elated at her discovery.
The contest was sponsored by SquareMouth, a website that reviews and compares travel insurance policies. They started this crafty “Pays to Read” contest to create awareness about the importance of reading policy documents, said the company in a press release. SquareMouth wanted to reward those rare, diligent travelers like Andrews, who read all of the fine print.
Andrews won the grand prize within 23 hours of the contest’s launch. While 65 policies that included the prize information were sold before hers, none of those customers noticed it.
Discovering the contest within her travel policy was similar to a test question Andrews has given her own students during her 25 years as a teacher of home economics and family consumer science teacher. “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,” she says.
Andrews and her husband are planning another big vacation to celebrate her retirement – a bucket-list trip to Scotland to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.
While her husband, a vice president of economic development at a college, has about eight years or so until he can call it a career, Andrews is already looking forward to her newfound freedom. Her last day in the classroom is May 31st.
“Not that anybody’s counting, but I think I have 48 or 49 more work days to go,” she says. “It’s a great feeling.” She plans to sleep in “past 5 am” every day and enjoy the time she has for herself. Thanks to the prize money, Andrews can also afford to take another bonus trip next year. “Now I can just leave that money in my savings account and try to plan for next summer,” she says. “So, the money’s helping me go on an additional trip.”
SquareMouth also donated $5,000 to each of the two Georgia high schools at which Andrews teaches. She says this gesture was especially meaningful to her. The company also made $10,000 donation to Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit organization that supports children’s literacy.