As It Happens

This Georgia teacher read the fine print — and won $13K

When a Florida insurance company slipped a secret contest onto the last page of its 4,000-word travel insurance policy, it never expected anyone to cash in.

Florida company slipped secret contest onto last page of travel insurance policy

Donelan Andrews read the fine print on her travel insurance policy, and found she'd won a secret contest with a $10,000 US prize. (Squaremouth )


When a Florida insurance company slipped a secret contest onto the last page of its 4,000-word travel insurance policy, it never expected anyone to cash in.

The fine print of Squaremouth's Tin Leg travel insurance document promised $10,000 US ($13,435.50 Cdn) to the first person who e-mailed with their name and number. 

The company planned to run the contest for a year and then donate the unclaimed prize money to a literacy charity. But just 23 hours in, Georgia teacher Donelan Andrews wrote in to claim her winnings. 

"Isn't that funny? I guess they didn't realize that Donelan Andrews from Thomaston, Ga., who has a degree in consumer economics from the University of Georgia, was adamant about reading all of her contracts,"  Andrews told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

Andrews, a detail-oriented high school teacher, had just purchased the insurance plan for her upcoming trip to London with her girlfriends when she printed it off and sat down to give it a good, thorough perusing.

"I wanted to be sure I knew everything that I had purchased," she said.

"I'm kind of a nerd about that. I always read contracts. I always read the fine print. And, you know, I even keep a hard copy of everything in a folder in a file cabinet — and I'm not ashamed of it."

'Pays to read'

When she got to the last page, she noticed a three words in bold: "Pays to read."

Underneath that, it read: "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."

"I immediately sat down at my computer and emailed them my name and phone number," she said.

The very next day she got a call explaining that she was the winner. The company sent representatives to her school to deliver a giant novelty cheque at a ceremony with some of her students in attendance.

Donelan Andrews, centre, receives a $10,000 US novelty cheque from representatives of Squaremouth insurance. (Squaremouth )

"We understand most customers don't actually read contracts or documentation when buying something, but we know the importance of doing so," the company said in a press release.

"We created the top-secret Pays to Read campaign in an effort to highlight the importance of reading policy documentation from start to finish."

'Read the fine print'

As well as awarding Andrews her prize, Squaremouth made an additional $10,000 US donation to the literacy charity Reading Is Fundamental, and $5,000 each to Upson-Lee High School and Lamar County High School, where Andrews works teaching life skills.

Andrews plans to use her prize money to take a 35th wedding anniversary trip to Scotland with her husband. 

"This is just a perfect example of why you need to read things. It's not just novels, it's anything that you get as an adult too," she said.

"You need to read everything, you know, read the fine print. And, wow, it sure did pay off for me this time."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Produced by Allie Jaynes.