Insurance enables those who suffer a loss or accident to be compensated for the effects of their misfortune. The payments come from a fund of money contributed by all the holders of individual insurance policies. In other words, individual risks are pooled and shared, with each policyholder making a contribution to the common fund.
The contribution is known as the premium. Premiums are paid to insurers - these are institutions which accumulate the money into the fund from which claims are paid. The loss is in fact paid for by the policyholder making the claim and by all the other policyholders who have not suffered in the same way.
Insurers are professional risk takers. They know the probability of different types of risk happening. They can calculate the premiums needed to create a fund large enough to cover likely loss payments. Clearly, only a proportion of policyholders will require compensation from the fund at any one time.
There are two different tupes of insurance -
Life Insurance and General Insurance
With life insurance you don't renew your policy each year. Instead, you agree to pay a fixed premium for a set number of years. In other words you enter a long-term commitment when you buy a life insurance policy
Life insurance is a financial resource for your family and loved ones in case of your death. It is a cover which allows your family to maintain a standard to living as they are currently, and meet their financial obligations. It also serves as an effective investment and tax saving tool.
Insurance other than ‘Life Insurance’ falls under the category of General Insurance. General Insurance comprises of insurance of property against fire, burglary etc, personal insurance such as Accident and Health Insurance, and liability insurance which covers legal liabilities. There are also other covers such as Errors and Omissions insurance for professionals, credit insurance etc.
Non-life insurance companies have products that cover property against Fire and allied perils, flood storm and inundation, earthquake and so on. There are products that cover property against burglary, theft etc. The non-life companies also offer policies covering machinery against breakdown, there are policies that cover the hull of ships and so on. A Marine Cargo policy covers goods in transit including by sea, air and road. Further, insurance of motor vehicles against damages and theft forms a major chunk of non-life insurance business.
Personal insurance covers include policies for Accident, Health etc. Products offering Personal Accident cover are benefit policies. Health insurance covers offered by non-life insurers are mainly hospitalization covers either on reimbursement or cashless basis. The cashless service is offered through Third Party Administrators who have arrangements with various service providers, i.e., hospitals. The Third Party Administrators also provide service for reimbursement claims. Sometimes the insurers themselves process reimbursement claims.
Suitable general Insurance covers are necessary for every family. It is important to protect one’s property, which one might have acquired from one’s hard earned income. A loss or damage to one’s property can leave one shattered. Losses created by catastrophes such as the tsunami, earthquakes, cyclones etc have left many homeless and penniless. Such losses can be devastating but insurance could help mitigate them. Property can be covered, so also the people against Personal Accident. A Health Insurance policy can provide financial relief to a person undergoing medical treatment whether due to a disease or an injury.
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