Types of Insurance
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 02, 2017
You’re probably familiar with certain types of insurance, such as homeowner’s insurance and car insurance. But the insurance industry is huge and includes many kinds of insurance coverage, some you may have never heard of and some you would never need. However, there are also many types of policies that could be useful to you, depending on your circumstances. The article below gives an overview of some of the most common types of insurance available today.
Health insurance helps you cover the cost of medical care, from routine check-ups and prescriptions to life-saving surgery. It’s currently mandatory for most people to have health insurance, and many obtain it through their employers, their state’s exchange program, Medicare or Medicaid.
Dental insurance is similar to health insurance, but provides coverage for your dental care. Most dental plans will pay a percentage of the costs of things like regular cleanings, fillings, surgery, and other necessary care.
There are several different types of life insurance plans, but the general idea is that you pay a regular premium to insure your life for a certain amount of money. When you die, the proceeds from your life insurance policy are paid out to your surviving beneficiaries.
Almost all states require you to have automobile insurance if you have a car. Auto insurance plans offer coverage for property damage and injuries to you and others to varying degrees. Different states have different requirements regarding what types of insurance you must carry and the minimum limits of each category.
Homeowners insurance is a wise investment for the vast majority of homeowners and it’s required by many banks and lenders as a condition of your mortgage. Homeowners insurance helps cover the costs of unfortunate events, such as theft, vandalism, water damage from plumbing or heating issues, fires, hail, wind storms, and injuries sustained by someone while on your property.
Similar to homeowners insurance, renters insurance offers coverage for when someone is injured on your property, your personal belongings are stolen or damaged, or if you have to live somewhere else temporarily because your home is uninhabitable.
Standard homeowner’s and renter’s policies don’t cover certain natural disasters such as earthquakes, though you may be able to add it as an additional part of your policy. Earthquake insurance can help cover the costs of repairing or replacing your home and its contents, as well as the expense of having to live somewhere else while repairs are being completed.
Standard home insurance policies also don’t cover flood damage, unless it’s from something inside the house, like a burst pipe. However, a flood insurance policy will provide coverage for your property, the contents of your home, or both. It usually won’t cover certain items, such as cash, valuable papers, property around your home (hot tubs, decks, etc.), or your car.
Like certain aspects of home and auto insurance, boat insurance offers coverage for recreational boat accidents and liability, including personal injury and property damage claims. It can also cover your losses in case of theft, vandalism, and accidents caused by uninsured boaters.
An umbrella insurance policy extends the coverage of an underlying insurance policy, like your home, car, or boat insurance. It adds additional coverage in case you’re sued for someone’s injuries or property damage. This can help cover the costs of your legal defense and pay for the other party’s damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. It can also help with your legal fees if you’re sued for libel, slander, or false imprisonment.
GAP insurance is a type of auto insurance that covers the difference between what you owe on your car loan and the actual cash value of the car. For example, if you owe more on your car than it’s actually worth, and then you total your car, this insurance can help you pay back what you owe your lender.
Like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can help you cover the costs of medical care, but for your pet. This can include things like vaccinations, wellness exams, lab tests, prescriptions, surgeries, chronic conditions, and more. You can easily find plans for dogs and cats, but some companies also offer coverage for other pets, like birds, horses, and exotic pets.
There are many types of insurance policies you can buy to help protect your business. These policies can help cover the costs of unfortunate events such as theft, premises liability claims, product defect claims, defamation lawsuits, worker’s compensation claims, and many other issues.
When you’re looking to buy a home, many lenders will require you to buy title insurance. This covers the costs of dealing with a claim against your use or ownership of the property, such as a lien, easement, or claim of ownership that originated before your own title insurance went into effect. It can also recoup some of your losses if the claim against your use or ownership is successful.
Many farmers and ranchers purchase crop insurance to protect their business against a loss of revenue thanks to a decline in market prices, or the loss of their actual crops due to natural disasters, like flooding, drought, hail, and disease.
Homeowners may also choose to purchase fire insurance in addition to their homeowner’s insurance policy. This can add more coverage in case a fire damages their property, other buildings, and personal property. It will also usually cover damage caused by smoke or water.
Credit insurance is optional insurance you can take out to cover a loan or credit balance if you die, become involuntarily unemployed, or go on disability, subject to certain limits. It can also protect personal property used to secure a loan in the event that property is lost due to things like theft, accidents, or natural disasters.
Get Help Protecting Your Rights Under Your Insurance Plan
With so many different types of insurance and all of the fine print in each individual policy, understanding what your rights and responsibilities are under a given insurance plan can be a daunting task. Whether your claim has been denied or you think your insurance company is failing to live up to its obligations under your insurance contract, contact a local insurance attorney who can explain your rights and help protect your interests.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.