How does Insurance work | Insurance Definition, Purpose, Types, Importance, Advantages, and Disadvantages

In this write-up, we have the details for insurance for you to understand well. Right from the definition of insurance, how does insurance work to exploring the different types of insurances, we have covered everything for you.

Understand the purpose of insurance, the importance, pros, and cons of insurance along with its types and their features, claims, settlements, benefits, tax implications, and other details.

Just take an insurance policy…

I have an insurance policy to my name…

We are sure that you might have heard these statements for sure some time or the other.

People might often suggest you get life insurance, motor insurance, health insurance, and whatnot. However, how much do you know about insurance?

Is the concept of insurance clear to you? Do you have a good understanding of insurance and insurance policies?

In the majority of the cases, people consider insurance just as paying a premium for a particular number of years and getting a certain maturity amount.

Well, it is correct. But wait, here comes a twist. There is a lot more that goes along with just the premium, number of years, and maturity value.

 So, let’s not wait for long and get started with understanding insurance.

Also Read:- Banking System in India

Introduction to Insurance

What is insurance?

So, what comes to your mind when you think of the meaning of insurance?

Something or nothing

Whatever may be the case, you need not worry as we have the answer to this for you.

A legal agreement between the insurance company and the individual, the two parties, is termed as insurance. The insurance company is the insurer and the individual is the insured.

In the agreement made between both the parties, the insurance company will agree to make up for the losses of the insured on the happening of the event.

The event can be the death of the policyholder, motor damage, property damage, and more. The happening of the event is always under uncertainty which is why it is stated as a contingency.

The insured party pays a fixed amount of premium to the insurance company or insurer in return for the promise to make good of the losses.

In this, you can understand that it goes both ways, as it is an agreement.

How does insurance work?

Now, we will talk about the working of insurance. So, here it is.

  • Legal contract of the insurance in which the insurer and insured enter are termed as the insurance policy.
  • The insurance policy consists of details about the circumstances and conditions under which the insurer will become liable to pay the insurance to the insured or his/ her nominees.
  • Having insurance helps you in protecting yourself and your family against any financial loss or damage.
  • Usually, for big insurance covers, you will have to pay a premium of much lesser value. This happens because the insurance company undertakes the risk of offering a high cover for a smaller premium.
  • Very few people end up claiming the insurance amount for a big cover. This enables the company to offer smaller premium amounts for big insurance covers.
  • Whether it is a company or an individual, anyone can seek insurance. However, the decision of providing the insurance or not solely depends on the insurance company.
  • When you make an application, the insurance company will evaluate the same to settle on a decision. In many cases, you might experience that insurance companies will deny insurance for high-risk applicants.

What is the purpose of insurance?

Just get an insurance policy…

But why?

Have you ever asked this question? Or do you just go along with the advice of just get an insurance policy?

Explore the reasons with us that will make you understand the need and purpose of having insurance.

  • Having an insurance plan will enable you to pay for medical emergencies in case of any illness, hospitalization, treatments, or whenever any kind of medical care is required in the future
  • The unfortunate death of the sole earner of a family can bring along several financial issues and losses. Having an insurance policy will help the family in covering the financial loss partially or completely.
  • Having insurance policies will allow your family to maintain their standard of living if in case you are not around. The insurance amount will allow the family to cover the costs of living.
  • Having an insurance policy for property or goods will provide financial security to you in case of theft, damage, loss, or other unforeseen circumstances
  • It will help in protecting the future of yourself and your family while ensuring that you are financially secure
  • Several insurance plans have investment and saving schemes that will help you in building wealth and savings for your future.
  • An insurance plan can help you in availing tax exemptions or benefits as they are categorized as deductions under several sections of income tax

What is the importance of insurance?

What do you mean by the importance of insurance? Isn’t it just an investment or a sort of savings?

Well, you are missing so many points when it comes to how important insurance can be. Therefore, let’s explore and understand the importance of insurance.

In this world full of risks and uncertainties, everyone is exposed to different levels and types of risks, be it individuals, families, properties, assets, or businesses.

The risks and dangers can be of life, property, health, or assets among others.

Where you cannot always prevent unwanted events from occurring or offer protection against every risk or danger, you can minimize or compensate for the losses with financial resources.

One such financial resource to eliminate or reduce the impact of loss is getting an insurance plan.

Besides protecting the insured parties from different types of potential risks and dangers, the Insurance sector significantly contributes to the overall economic growth of the country by providing stability to the business functioning while generating long-term financial resources for various industrial projects.

Along with all this, the Insurance sector encourages investment and savings.

Safety and security for the insured

With insurance, you get the financial support that enables you in reducing the risks arising from uncertainties that as an individual or business you might face.

It serves as an ideal mitigation mechanism against the odds that can lead to financial distress.

Let’s understand this with an example.

Medical inflation is growing at 15% per annum approximately, which means that even simple medical treatments are enough to disturb your budget.

In businesses, you are always at a risk of theft, fire, or other damages arising due to various factors.

Having insurance will help you in covering your medical expenses as well as risks and damages to a certain or complete extent depending on your insurance plan.

Encourages economic growth

With the mobilization of domestic savings, the Insurance sector significantly contributes to the overall economy.

Through insurance, the accumulated capital is turned into productive investments. Alongside, it enables the mitigation of losses, promoting trade and commerce, and providing financial stability eventually leading to sustainable economic development and growth.

This way insurance contributes to the growth of the economy of the country.

Long-term financial resources

In the insurance sector, the funds are obtained through premiums from the policyholders.

These finds have a long-term nature that enables the insurance sector to invest them in long-term infrastructure assets – assets crucial for nation-building.

Above that, it helps in increasing employment opportunities as big investments lead to capital formation in the country’s economy.

Supports dependants during emergencies

During medical emergencies or the death of the sole earner of the family, the financial strain can be heavy. Everyone in a family – from children to elders, is at risk of health issues.

With the rising medical treatment costs and prices, it can quickly drain your savings and disturb your budget. With life insurance, accidental insurance, or medical insurance policies, you can distribute or reduce the financial strain that might arise.

Spreads the potential risks

With the help of insurance plans and facilities, the insured move the risk of loss to the insurer. The primary principle of insurance is to spread the risks.

Many insurance policyholders pay a premium to the insurer. And, in case of any loss or contingency, the insured is compensated out of the corpus of funds that the insurer has collected from the policyholders.

What are the principles of insurance?

Like everything else, insurance also works on certain principles.

Well, human also has some principles and so does insurance. But, what do you know about these principles of insurance?

Do you not know the principles, know just the principles, or are fully aware of the details as well? In which category do you fall?

Don’t worry; no matter where you stand, we will help you understand the underlying principles of insurance. Get along and explore for yourself where do you stand. Let’s get started.

Insurable interest

The insured should have an insurable interest in the subject matter of the insurance agreement.

Well, this does not explain it. We’ll make it simple for you.

The principle of insurable interest means that the subject matter of the insurance agreement should provide for some financial gain for the insured and will cause a financial loss.

The subject owner possesses insurable interest till s/he is the owner.

Utmost good faith

The principle lays down that both the parties involved in the contract have to act in good faith towards each other.

Both parties should provide concise and clear information related to the terms and conditions of the insurance contract.

This forms one of the basic principles owing to the nature of the service where the insurer has to provide security and solidarity to the insured.

Along with this, the insurance company will have to look for scams to get free money. This is why good faith from both parties is required.

If you incur any loss due to any false or misrepresented information of the insurance company, they are liable in that situation.

If you misrepresented or concealed any information related to you, crucial to the insurance contract, the liability of the insurance company will become void.

Indemnity

The principle of indemnity acts as a guarantee to the insured to restore him to the financial position before the happening of event or contingency.

In this, the insurer will compensate the insured.

The insurance company will be liable to compensate the policyholder for the loss incurred up to the sum agreed in the contract based on the terms and conditions.

This forms an essential part of the contract as it lays down that the policyholder has the right to get compensation or indemnified for his/ her loss.

The compensation amount stands in direct proportion with the loss value.

Here is an example.

Suppose you insured your car for a sum of 10000. The damages to the car total to 3000. In this, you are only entitled to receive 3000 and not 10000.

Proximate cause

The simplest way to understand this principle of insurance is through an example. So, here it is.

  • The cause of loss or damage could be more than one incident that can be in succession to each other as well
  • Your insurance might cover one cause but not the other
  • In this case, when your property is not covered for all the causes, it is important to find out the nearest cause of the event.
  • If the proximate cause comes out to be the one having insurance against, the insurance company is liable to pay.
  • If not, the insurer pulls their hand from any kind of payment or compensation.

When you select an insurance plan, you will select the causes for which you or your property will be covered and for what is not covered.

It is important to be aware of all the causes that are covered. This is because, in certain cases, it can happen that the insurance company revokes its liability stating that it is not covered.

Subrogation

Now, we have reached the most confusing principle of all – The principle of subrogation. But don’t worry; we will make it simple with an example.

  • Suppose, you were in a car wreck that was caused by a third party
  • You file a claim to get compensation for the damages and medical expenses with your insurance company
  • Your insurance company will assume ownership of your medical bills and car and file a lawsuit or claim with the person responsible for the damages, loss or expenses
  • So, the insurance company benefits from subrogation when they win back the money they paid to you along with costs incurred in acquiring the sum.
  • Any extra amount paid by the third party goes to the policyholder.

To sum it up – subrogation substitute one creditor (insurance company) for another to compensate for the losses made in an event.

Loss minimization

The final principle that creates a contract along with being the simplest one is the Principle of Loss Minimization.

In any contingency, the insured holds the responsibility of taking all the required precautions to minimize the loss on the property.

Insurance contracts do not imply getting free stuff for any uncertain event or contingency. It lays out the responsibility of the insured to take all possible measures of minimizing the losses.

This can be a debatable principle and you can oppose the debate if you think you are unfairly judged.

Contribution

We will start this with an example to understand it better.

  • You own a sports car worth millions.
  • You decide to take out two insurance contracts on the car to cover yourself fully in any situation.
  • One policy with ABC is $30000 and another with XYZ of $50000.
  • You ended up in a wreck causing damage worth $50000 to the car.
  • In this case, ABC will cover $19000 and XYZ will cover $31000 of the total damages.

The principle of contribution establishes a corollary where both the insurance contracts come together in an incident involving the same subject.

This sums up the principle of contribution. Each policy will pay its proportion and not the full damage amount.

What are the advantages of insurance?

Well, by now, you know a lot about insurance.

The fear of financial loss in this increasingly expensive world has made insurance an integral part of human life and businesses. An uncertain part of the future always haunts us.

So, let’s move on and explore the advantages listed as follows:-

  • Through insurance, the insured gains economic and financial protection against any uncertain losses or damages in exchange for a premium. In events of premature death of the insured, the nominee obtains financial protection. Considering the loss of property due to fire, accident, theft, or natural calamities, insurance covers the same as well.
  • Insurance helps in distributing or eliminating the levels of risk among the insured and the insurance. The insurance company takes the liability and reduces the risks in exchange for a premium.
  • Individuals and businesses can gain financial protection against any contingency which allows them to maintain their standard of living or business as the insurance company safeguards them against the risks to a certain extent.
  • The insured has to pay the premium on time as agreed in the contract which leads to encouraging a saving habit. Therefore, it can be taken up as a form of regular savings to reduce unnecessary expenses.
  • The dependents or family can suffer from non-compensational or unbearable losses. Having insurance protects against unbearable losses where the insurance policy provides financial support to the dependent or the family.
  • By providing your insurance policy as the security, the insured can obtain a loan from the insurance company or other Financial Institutions. Banks and other financial institutions consider insured assets as Collateral security to grant loans.
  • The insurance sector has emerged as a rapidly growing business in the modern world where hundreds of people are engaging in this line. The development and establishment of new insurance companies provide employment opportunities to many people based on their qualifications.
  • For businesses, they can obtain financial compensation in an event of damage or loss to the property or goods of the business with the help of insurance.

What are the disadvantages of insurance?

Like we always say – every side has two coins. Likewise, insurance also has disadvantages along with advantages.

So, let’s explore the negative points of insurance as follows:

  • Insurance might not cover or compensate for all kinds of losses that can be caused to you or your business
  • The lengthy and legal formalities stretch the time of getting the financial compensation for your loss
  • Despite insurance serving as a medium of savings, you will not get the facilities as offered by the bank
  • The insurance companies widely aim to compensate as little as possible to maximize the profits instead of maximizing the well-being of the insured
  • Insurance has often been related to crimes in the society owing to the greed of the beneficiaries to receive the insurance amount
  • In certain cases, the amount of premium might exceed the amount of maturity value received. Therefore, this makes it important to check everything beforehand.

What are the types of insurance?

Life, health, motor, mobile, house, and many more, you might have heard these types of insurance. But, here is a catch. How much do you know about them?

Therefore, get along with us and explore the different types of insurances you can get as an individual or a business.

So, let’s dive straight into exploring the types as follows:-

LIFE INSURANCE

It is a legal agreement or contract between the insurance company and insurance policyholder where the former promises to pay a certain sum, in exchange for a premium, after a set period or upon the death of the insured.

Features

  • Life insurance is done of an individual/ person
  • It is payable on the death of the insured or after a set time
  • The nominee is entitled to receive the compensation
  • The nominee can claim the insurance amount

Types

  • Term life insurance
  • Whole life insurance
  • Money-back insurance policy
  • Endowment life insurance policy
  • ULIP life insurance plans
  • Child insurance policy

Benefits

  • Financial security and peace of mind
  • Wealth creation or savings
  • Tax deductions and savings
  • Death benefits
  • Loan options
  • Return on investments

Factors to consider

  • Age of insured
  • Gender of the insured
  • Health state and conditions
  • Budget or amount of premium and return
  • Duration of the insurance plan
  • Insurance companies

Tax implications

Deductions under Sec 80C and exception under section 10(10D) are provided to the policyholder

Companies

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India
  • HDFC Standard Life Insurance
  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance
  • Max Life Insurance
  • SBI Life Insurance

HEALTH INSURANCE

The type of insurance that covers the medical expenses arising due to hospitalization or illness is called health insurance.

It covers the hospitalization costs, medical expenses, and others as per the terms decided in the insurance plan.

Features

  • Health insurance covers the medical expenses
  • The expenses covered are limited to those stated in the plan
  • The insurance covers illnesses and health conditions as agreed in the plan
  • The remaining expenses are to be covered by the insured above the insurance coverage

Types

  • Medical insurance
  • Family floater plan
  • Individual coverage
  • Senior citizen coverage
  • Critical illness plan
  • Personal accident plan
  • Hospitalization cash benefit plan

Benefits

  • Comprehensive coverage of several health conditions or  illnesses
  • Cashless treatment as the insurance companies usually have a wide network
  • Financial security against the increasing medical expenses
  • Offers portability benefits – can be transferred to a new health insurance provider

Factors to consider

  • Insurance amount
  • Network of hospitals
  • Pre/ post-hospitalization benefits
  • Maternity benefits
  • Lifetime renewal
  • Claim process
  • Family health insurance
  • Free medical checkup
  • Your age and medical history

Tax implications

The Income Tax Act 1961 offers tax benefits on health insurance plans under Section 80D which the policyholder/ insured can take advantage of.

Companies

  • Religare Health Insurance
  • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
  • Cigna TTK Health Insurance
  • New India Assurance Company
  • Oriental Insurance Company

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is an insurance plan that covers unforeseen financial losses or damages during your trip or travel. The travel can be domestic as well as international.

Features

Covers the cost of personal accident covers in case of permanent disability during travel

Covers cost of loss due to loss of personal possession or baggage during travel

Covers the loss of passports and other important documents

Covers cost of trip cancellation mostly due to unavoidable circumstances

Types

Domestic travel insurance

International travel insurance

Group travel insurance

Medical travel insurance

Single and multi-trip travel insurance

Senior citizen travel insurance

Benefits

Complete financial protection during your travel

Hospitalization expenses for immediate medical assistance required

Cost of personal accident expenses and related medical expenses

Covers cost of baggage or personal belongings

Reimbursement of expenses due to trip delay

Covers the insured against any legal liability

Factors to consider

Nature of trip

Trip duration

Destination

Medical history

Time sensitivity

Maximum sum assured

Type of coverage

Companies

Apollo Munich

Tata AIG

Bajaj Allianz

Bharti AXA

SBI General Insurance

ICICI Lombard

Reliance

PROPERTY INSURANCE

Serving as a broad term for a series of insurance policies, property insurance provides either property protection or liability coverage.

The owners or renters are entitled to financial reimbursements in case of theft, damage, or other situations included in the insurance policy.

Features

It is a series of policies offering liability or property protection

It can include homeowners insurance, flood insurance, renter insurance, earthquake insurance, and more

There are three types of property insurance coverage

Types

Home insurance

Travel insurance

Home insurance

Industrial insurance

Agricultural insurance

Public liability insurance

Financial insurance

Marine, railway, and aviation insurance

Benefits

Comprehensive coverage and protection of structure and content of the property

Protects your assets from any contingency or uncertainty

Reduces the stress of unforeseen circumstances resulting in loss or damage

Fastens the rebuilding process in case of damage

Factors to consider

Value of the property assets

Occupation

Type of construction

Surroundings

Availability of security systems

Exclusions

Willful destruction of property

Loss to property due to war

Loss to unoccupied property, if unoccupied for more than a set time

Loss of money such as antiques, cash, and collectibles

Damages to the property due to wear and tear

Companies

Cholamandalam

Future Generali

Bajaj Allianz

IFFCO Tokio

Oriental

Reliance

SBI General

Universal Sompo

MOTOR INSURANCE

The insurance policy that covers your vehicles, bike, car or others, against any financial risks or damages is called motor insurance.

The insurance policy provides financial security against damages from accidents and other threats as well.

Features

It offers comprehensive financial coverage to your vehicle against damage and risks

You get personal accident cover as well

Types

Private car insurance policy

Two-wheeler insurance policy

Commercial vehicle insurance

Comprehensive insurance

Third-party insurance

Benefits

Covers your vehicles from potential financial risks

Covers loss or damage due to accident, fire, theft, strikes, riot, or during transit

A large network of garages where you can get your vehicle repaired

It includes third-party damages or losses as well in case of accidents

Factors to consider

Insured declared value

Premium amount

State’s guidelines

No claim bonus

Add-on coverage

Claim settlement ratio

Exclusions

Brand reputation

Tax implications

Not all motor insurance claims can be made for tax exceptions but only those for vehicles being solely used for business purposes can be claimed for tax purposes.

Companies

Bajaj Allianz Insurance

Bharti AXA Insurance

Chola MS Insurance

Future Generali Insurance

ICICI Lombard Insurance

IFFCO Tokio Insurance

Liberty Insurance

MOBILE/ LAPTOP INSURANCE

Laptop or mobile insurance is a plan that offers comprehensive coverage for your mobile, laptop, and other related gadgets or device.

It provides financial protection against damage, theft, liquid spills, accidental damage, or fire among others.

Details

With mobile or laptop insurance, you can protect your device against any damage or fault arising in it. It will cover all your expenses as agreed in the insurance plan.

You will get coverage against a wide range of losses or damages that can be caused to your device.

Before choosing a mobile/ laptop insurance plan, consider the device, model, brand, insurance coverage, premium, and more.

Companies

Syska Gadget Secure

One Assist

SyncNscan

ICICI Lombard

Times Global Assurance

FIRE INSURANCE

It is a legal contract between the insurance policyholder and the insurance company where the insurance company provides a guarantee for compensation against any losses due to accidental fire, explosion, lightning, etc.

The fire can be caused due to other sources as covered under the fire insurance plan.

Features

Provides financial protection for goods property against fire

The policyholder should have an insurable interest in the subject matter of insurance

It usually comes with a one-year tenure which is renewable

Types

Valued policy

Specific policy

Floating policy

Average policy

Excess policy

Blanket policy

Reinstatement Policy

Open declaration policy

Benefits

Covers the cost of loss due to fire

Loss of life advantages due to fire incident

Provides for maintenance price for the machine is damaged due to fire

Medical expenses of employees of injured to fire

Construction or repair expenses are covered

Factors to consider

Value of goods, construction, or infrastructure

Fire protection measures

Location and occupancy

Exposure and fire risks

Exclusions

The fire was caused due to nuclear risks, war, riots, or earthquakes

Underground fire

Intentional or planned fire

Fires of human origin, hostile or malevolent

Flight loss during or after the incident

What does insurance not cover?

Oh, I have an insurance policy. So, I don’t have to worry about anything.

Do you often think or hear things like that? Well, if yes, then you are in a delusion.

With insurance, you are covered for the losses or damages but to what extent. Yes, if you are wondering what does an extent means, we will help you make it clear.

Whenever you get an insurance policy, you select the causes that are covered and those that are not.

So, it is wrong to think that you have insurance and you don’t have to worry about financial loss.

Let’s explore the things that different types of insurance plans do not cover.

Life insurance

Loss of life due to alcohol or drug abuse

War or terrorism

Suicide

Self-inflicted injuries

carelessness or gross negligence

Health insurance

Hospitalization as a result of ware or relevant causes

Medical treatment due to alcohol/ drug or intake of hallucinogenic substances

Any medical condition existing before the policy

Non-allopathic treatments and therapies

Diagnostic charges – if the reports do not confirm the covered diseases

Self-inflicted injuries

Accidental insurance

Claims arising out of past illness or causes

Self-injuries or suicide

Natural death

Pre-existing disability

Pregnancy or childbirth

Non-allopathic treatments

Mental disorders or related sufferings

Travel insurance

Traveling against physicians advice

Delay of baggage for less than 24 hours

Self-inflicted or psychological injuries during the trip

Civil or war unrest in international locations

Participation in dangerous/ hazardous sports

Property insurance

Willful destruction of the property

Any damage due to wear and tear of the property

Loss of valuables or belongings kept in the property

Loss to property that was unoccupied for a certain time

Motor insurance

Any damage caused when the policy is inactive

Loss of belongings kept in the vehicle

Any damage that is not insured

Damage caused when driving without a license

Damaged when driving under alcohol/ drug influence

Damage due to mutiny, nuclear risks, or war

Normal wear and tear or ageing or vehicle

Tube or tire punctures

Mobile/ laptop insurance

Willful acts of negligence

Damage due to war or related risks

Pre-existing defects or faults

Natural wear and tear or gradual degradation

Normal or routine maintenance

Fire insurance

Loss or damage caused due to nuclear perils/ wars or relevant activities

Contamination or pollution

Electrical or mechanical faults or breakdowns

Is insurance premium paid monthly?

Policyholders have the option to pay their insurance premium in monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annual installments. So, yes, you can pay your insurance premium monthly as well.

Is it better to pay insurance yearly or monthly?

The betterment of one option over the other depends on several factors.

  • Several insurance companies offer discounts on annual payments of premiums.
  • If your budget fits well with a monthly payment, then that could be the better option

Therefore, it is up to you to choose the best payment alternative for your insurance premium.

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