What Is Insurance?

Insurance is a contract, represented by a policy, in which a policyholder receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an insurance company. The company pools clients’ risks to make payments more affordable for the insured. Most people have some insurance: for their car, their house, their healthcare, or their life.

Insurance policies hedge against financial losses resulting from accidents, injury, or property damage. Insurance also helps cover costs associated with liability (legal responsibility) for damage or injury caused to a third party.

How Insurance Works

Many insurance policy types are available, and virtually any individual or business can find an insurance company willing to insure them—for a price. Common personal insurance policy types are auto, health, homeowners, and life insurance. Most individuals in the United States have at least one of these types of insurance, and car insurance is required by state law.

Businesses obtain insurance policies for field-specific risks, For example, a fast-food restaurant's policy may cover an employee's injuries from cooking with a deep fryer. Medical malpractice insurance covers injury- or death-related liability claims resulting from the health care provider's negligence or malpractice. A company may use an insurance broker of record to help them manage the policies of its employees. Businesses may be required by state law to buy specific insurance coverages.2

Types of Insurance

There are many different types of insurance. Let’s look at the most important.

Health Insurance

Health insurance helps cover routine and emergency medical care costs, often with the option to add vision and dental services separately. In addition to an annual deductible, you may also pay copays and coinsurance, which are your fixed payments or percentage of a covered medical benefit after meeting the deductible. However, many preventive services may be covered for free before these are met.

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