Insurance 101


pen and insurance policy paper Insurance is one of the most important financial products to consider. When you have proper types and levels of insurance, it can help save you from depleting your savings to cover unforeseen expenses.

How insurance works

When you pay the insurance company, your premium dollars are pooled together with the payments of thousands of other clients. Other than life insurance, if a policyholder suffers a financial loss that's covered by the policy, the insurer pays for the covered amount in accordance with the terms of the policy, less any deductible or co-pay. Life insurance provides a sum of money for your beneficiary(ies) in the event of your death.

Common types of insurance

AutomobileDamages if your car, other property or people are hurt while you're driving or damage to your car caused by vandalism or acts of nature.
HomeExpenses for repair or replacement of your home and its contents due to fire, storms, vandalism or other unplanned events.
HealthCosts of doctor visits, surgery, hospital stays,medicine and other similar expenses.
LifeA death benefit to your beneficiary - usually someone who is dependent on you for income.

The real benefit of insurance

When you purchase insurance, there is no expectation that your premium dollars will be returned to you. Nevertheless, most policyowners consider themselves fortunate if they never have to file a claim. That is because they have been able to avoid, or help minimize, the hardship that often goes along with financial damages. In a sense, the underlying benefit of insurance is the peace of mind knowing that if anything covered by the policy happens, you may not have to incur the complete expense on your own.

Are you due for an insurance checkup?

It is a good idea to assess your insurance needs at least once a year, or whenever you experience a significant life event. Any big change that affects your overall financial picture can also impact your life insurance coverage needs.

Revisit your insurance needs whenever you:

  • Change jobs
  • Buy or sell a home
  • Get married or divorced
  • Have a child

One of the best ways to make sure you have the insurance you need is to talk with an insurance company or agent that you trust.

Read what to consider when choosing an insurance company.

Terms to know

The person(s), institution, trustee, or estate named to receive death benefits, if any, from an insurance contract.

Notification to an insurance company requesting payment of an amount due under the terms of the policy. Also called insurance claim.

A specific dollar amount that the insured must pay before the insurance company pays their share.

The person, group, or property for which an insurance policy is issued.

The party to an insurance arrangement who undertakes to indemnify for losses.

Fee paid to an insurance company in exchange for risk protection.

A contract of insurance, describing the term, coverage, premiums and deductibles.

The owner of an insurance policy; usually, someone who is dependent on you for income.

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