Types Of Insurance
Insurance companies create insurance policies by grouping risks according to their focus. This provides a measure of uniformity in the risks that are covered by a type of policy, which in turn allows insurers to anticipate their potential losses and to set premiums accordingly. The most common forms of insurance policies include life, health, automobile, homeowners' and renters', PERSONAL PROPERTY, fire and casualty, marine, and inland marine policies.
Life insurance provides financial benefits to a designated person upon the death of the insured. Many different forms of life insurance are issued. Some provide for payment only upon the death of the insured; others allow an insured to collect proceeds before death.
A person may purchase life insurance on his or her own life for the benefit of a third person or persons. Individuals may even purchase life insurance on the life of another person. For example, a wife may purchase life insurance that will provide benefits to her upon the death of her husband. This kind of policy is commonly obtained by spouses and by parents insuring themselves against the death of a child. However, individuals may only purchase life insurance on the life of another person and name themselves beneficiary when there are reasonable grounds to believe that they can expect some benefit from the continued life of the insured. This means that some familial or financial relationship must unite the beneficiary and the insured. For example, a person may not purchase life insurance on the life of a stranger in the hope that the stranger will suffer a fatal accident.
Health insurance policies cover only specified risks. Generally, they pay for the expenses incurred from bodily injury, disability, sickness, and accidental death. Health insurance may be purchased for one's self and for others.
All automobile insurance policies contain liability insurance, which is insurance against injury to another person or against damage to another person's vehicle caused by the insured's vehicle. Auto insurance may also pay for the loss of, or damage to, the insured's motor vehicle. Most states require that all drivers carry, at a minimum, liability insurance under a no-fault scheme. In states that recognize no-fault insurance, damages resulting from an accident are paid for by the insurers, and the drivers do not have to go to court to settle the issue of damages. Drivers in these states may bring suit over an accident only in cases of egregious conduct, or where medical or repair costs exceed an amount defined by statute.
Homeowners' insurance protects homeowners from losses relating to their dwelling, including damage to the dwelling; personal liability for injury to visitors; and loss of, or damage to, property in and around the dwelling. Renters' insurance covers many of the same risks for persons who live in rented dwellings.
As its name would suggest, personal property insurance protects against the loss of, or damage to, certain items of personal property. It is useful when the liability limit on a homeowner's policy does not cover the value of a particular item or items. For example, the owner of an original painting by Pablo Picasso might wish to obtain, in addition to a homeowner's policy, a separate personal property policy to insure against loss of, or damage to, the painting.
Businesses can insure against damage and liability to others with fire and casualty insurance policies. Fire insurance policies cover damage caused by fire, explosions, earthquakes, lightning, water, wind, rain, collisions, and riots. Casualty insurance protects the insured against a variety of losses, including those related to legal liability, BURGLARY and theft, accidents, property damage, injury to workers, and insurance on credit extended to others. Fidelity and surety bonds are temporary, specialized forms of casualty insurance. A fidelity bond insures against losses relating to the dishonesty of employees, and a surety bond provides protection to a business if it fails to fulfill its contractual obligations.
Marine insurance policies insure transporters and owners of cargo shipped on an ocean, a sea, or a navigable waterway. Marine risks include damage to cargo, damage to the vessel, and injuries to passengers.
Inland marine insurance is used for the transportation of goods on land and on land-locked lakes.
Many other types of insurance are also issued. Group health insurance plans are usually offered by employers to their employees. A person may purchase additional insurance to cover losses in excess of a stated amount or in excess of coverage provided by a particular insurance policy. Air-travel insurance provides life insurance benefits to a named beneficiary if the insured dies as a result of the specified airplane flight. Flood insurance is not included in most homeowners' policies, but it can be purchased separately. Mortgage insurance requires the insurer to make mortgage payments when the insured is unable to do so because of death or disability.
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