Insurance: Just in Case...

May 25, 2010Insuranceby EconomyWatch

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Because you never know when you'll need it.

Insurance (def.): Insurance is a policy from a large financial institution that offers a person, company, or other entity reimbursement or financial protection against possible future losses or damages.

Insurance is something that everyone will need sometime, and it's worth understanding it before you buy.

Insurance include vehicle insurance, which includes auto, motorcycle, and boat insurance, health insurance, life insurance, home insurance, travel insurance, personal property insurance, keyman insurance, dental insurance, rental insurance, and more.

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a form of risk-management which spreads the risk of many people in exchange for small payments from each individual. Specifically, insurance transfers some type of risk (accident, theft, natural disaster, illness, etc) from one person or group to a more financially-sound entity in exchange for a payment (also known as an insurance premium). Premiums are often annual or monthly, but depending on the type of insurance they can be at other intervals.

For example, a consumer can pay a certain amount to an insurer such as Motley Fool each year to insure that person's car. This sum represents the insurance company's assessment of the likelihood that the car will be damaged or wrecked. These data are normally taken from historical figures relating to the age, sex, profession, driving record, and accident history of the insured, as well as statistics concerning make and model of the car and its accident record, as well as the engine size, number of passengers, and even color of the vehicle.

Statistically, if the make and model of the vehicle in question, and/or its driver have been in numerous accidents, the insurance company will charge a higher premium in order to hedge expected losses. As the risk increases, so too do the premiums. In fact, sometimes, insurance companies will not even insure certain people and/or vehicles as the chance of them having to make a payout (in the event of an accident) will be almost guaranteed.

Learn of the types of policies like, business insurance coverage and solutions.

What type of insurance coverage is most common?

Motor Insurance

This includes automobile, truck, motorcycle, aircraft, boat, or any other form of motorized transportation. It is perhaps the most common type of insurance, and is required by law in many countries.

Motor insurance covers the insured party against financial loss that he may incur to repair his vehicle or a third party’s in the event of an accident. In return for annual or semi-annual premiums, the insurance company is bound to pay any losses as described in the policy. Such a policy may include property, liability or third party, and medical coverage.

Property coverage insures damage to or theft of a vehicle; liability covers bodily injury or property damage that may occur as a result of the insured’s actions, and medical coverage pays any fees necessary for bodily injuries, rehabilitation and in some cases foregone wages and funeral costs.

In many countries, all of these types of automovile insurance are required of vehicle owners. In some countries, or states, only third party is required. However, in the case of new vehicles, any banks which may be financing the vehicle may require full insurance as a condition of financing.

Health Insurance

Most developed nations have government-funded health care which means that most or all citizens have access to medical facilities and treatment, as well as health insurance.

For example, the National health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom pays for citizens’ medical needs. However, in the US, there is no government-funded health policy - whether for insurance or treatment. As a result, US citizens and residents must be insured or risk facing astronomical medical bills, garnishing of wages, and bankruptcy. Often, medical insurance (both health and dental) is included in employee benefit packages in the US and other countries. Nevertheless, the issue of affordable health insurance and treatment in the US is one of the most controversial and heated topics, as many cannot afford either. If you live in a country without comprehensive national health care, then low cost health insurance is a vital requirement.

Disability Insurance

This form of insurance protects workers from injuries and illnesses which prevent them from doing their jobs. It can pay for existing commitments the policyholders may have such as outstanding bills, mortgages, utilities, and more.

Workers’ compensation is common in the US, and pays a worker his wages and medical expenses in the event of an injury on the job.

Permanent disability which prevents a worker from ever working again is covered by total permanent disability insurance. This provides the disabled employee with benefits for the rest of his or her life, or according to the terms specified in the policy. Companies can purchase a similar type of insurance, called, disability overhead insurance. This pays for ongoing overhead costs of a business while the owners are not able to work.

A Catastrophic Health Insurance plan, also known as a high deductible health plan, is good to have for those who prefer to pay lower monthly premiums. If your plan is eligible for a Health Savings Account, you can use those funds to pay the deductible and out-of-pocket expenses which saves you money in the long run.

Property Insurance

This type of insurance typically covers things like homes, machinery, crops, valuable goods, shipped cargo, rented property (homes or apartments), and more.

It can cover damages as a result of various activities including acts of God (earthquakes, floods, storms, hurricanes, etc), vandalism, terrorism, fraud, and more.

Liability Insurance

This covers negligent acts of an insured party with reference to a vehicle or a home. It protects the insured against legal claims and indemnification.

There are various types of liability insurance such as professional indemnity insurance Environmental liability insurance and Prize indemnity insurance .

Professional indemnity insurance protects employees from malpractice suits (as in the medical profession), errors and omissions (by appraisers, home inspectors, realtors, insurance agents, notaries, and others), and other acts of unintentional workplace negligence.

Credit insurance 

This is taken by lenders who need coverage against the people that have credit with them (borrow money). In the event of their inability to pay it back (usually due to unemployment, disability, or death), this insurance protects the lender.

There are many other kinds of insuance, and even each of the major categories mentioned above has dozens of variations and types. They differ depending on the markets, the understanding of risk and availability of historical data, government regulation and law, cultural perceptions and expectations, and more.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance covers financial losses caused by trips abroad. Depending on the policy in question, in may cover lost luggage, theft of personal possessions, medical costs and delayed flights.

Find out more about Insurance on EconomyWatch below.

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