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Guide to Different Types of Insurance

You're probably familiar with certain types of insurance, such as homeowners and car insurance. However, the insurance industry makes many types of insurance products available to provide insurance coverage. Insurance covers a variety of risks. You may be unaware of some types of coverage available.

With so many different types of insurance, knowing your policies is critical. Review the fine print in each policy. Understanding your rights and responsibilities under a given insurance plan is essential. It can be a daunting task, but this step can allow you to get the most out of your coverage or address issues.

The article below gives an overview of some of the most common types of insurance available. It also provides information regarding insurance regulation and what to do if your insurer fails to meet its obligations.

Health Insurance

Health insurance helps you cover the cost of health care. Your health care could require anything from routine check-ups and prescriptions to life-saving surgery. For most people, having a health insurance plan is best to help cover medical expenses.

Depending on what type of insurance coverage you have, you could have the choice from among several providers. Many people obtain health insurance through their employers, their state's exchange program, or Medicare or Medicaid.

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is similar to health insurance but provides coverage for your dental care. Most dental insurance plans will pay a percentage of the costs for services like the following:

  • Regular cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Surgery
  • Other necessary care

You pay the deductible for covered dental expenses requiring out-of-pocket costs or copays. Once you reach your deductible or the total out-of-pocket maximum, your insurer will pay the agreed percentage of the remaining balance.

Types of Life Insurance

Several different types of life insurance plans provide a death benefit. Life insurance offers a predictable way to provide for family or loved ones in the event of your death.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is often an inexpensive option. With term life insurance, you are insured for a certain amount of time. You pay the insurance premiums for a specified term of years. These policies do not build a separate cash reserve. If you die during the term of years the policy is in effect, your beneficiaries receive the proceeds from your life insurance policy.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance provides lifetime coverage. When the insured pays premiums, the policy guarantees that benefits will be paid out upon death. There are several different types of permanent life insurance. They include the following:

  • Whole life insurance
  • Universal life insurance
  • Single-premium life insurance
  • Variable life insurance
  • Variable-universal life insurance
  • Survivorship life insurance

A licensed insurance agent can help you determine which type of life insurance is best for your situation.

Long-Term Care Insurance

It's wise to consider long-term care insurance as part of a comprehensive financial plan. The monthly premiums can be expensive, but you could be hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket without such insurance. If you are self-insured with adequate savings account reserves, purchasing a policy may not make sense. It depends on your circumstances.

Long-term care insurance addresses the need to replace income during a significant disability. Long-term care insurance can help cover the following:

  • The cost of assistance with daily activities
  • Care rendered in your home
  • Cost of a nursing home
  • Cost of an assisted living facility
  • Costs for an adult daycare center

Policyholders are usually eligible when they cannot perform a certain number of activities of daily living.

Disability Insurance

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, one in four of today's twenty-year-olds will become disabled before they retire. The average disability is nearly three years. While we may assume that accidents cause disabilities, it's usually illnesses and injuries such as:

  • Back injuries
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Other illnesses

If you become disabled for a prolonged period, you could face serious financial hardship. Disability insurance benefits could help you during a period of disability. Disability insurance policies come in all shapes and sizes.

Whether your disability payments would be tax-free depends on several factors. This IRS FAQ page helps you determine if the long-term disability is considered taxable.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides monthly payments to people with a disability that stops or limits their ability to work. Eligibility for SSDI is based on the disability and having enough work history. The Social Security Administration administers it.

Auto Insurance

Almost all states require automobile insurance. Auto insurance plans offer coverage for property damage and injuries. Different states have different requirements. State law dictates what types of insurance you must carry and the minimum coverage limits. For example, your state might require minimum liability coverage and acceptable proof of insurance.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is a wise investment for the vast majority of homeowners. Banks and lenders require coverage for those with a mortgage on their property. Homeowners insurance helps cover the costs of unfortunate events, such as the following:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Water damage from plumbing or heating issues
  • Fires
  • Hail
  • Wind storms
  • Injuries sustained by someone while on your property

Policyholders should be aware of any exclusions to their homeowners' insurance policy. This will help avoid unexpected scenarios should a casualty event occur.

Renters Insurance

Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance offers coverage when someone is injured on your property, your personal belongings are stolen or damaged, or you have to live somewhere else because your home is uninhabitable for a period. Some landlords may require renters insurance as a condition of the lease.

Earthquake Insurance

Standard homeowner's and renter's policies don't cover certain natural disasters such as earthquakes. However, you can add it as an additional part of your policy. Earthquake insurance can help cover repairing or replacing your home and its contents. It can also cover the expense of living elsewhere during repairs.

Flood Insurance

Accidental water damage that occurs as a result of a sudden, unexpected event such as a burst pipe is likely covered under your standard homeowners insurance policy. However, standard home insurance policies don't cover most flood damage.

A flood insurance policy can provide coverage for your property in the event of a flood. Flood insurance usually won't cover certain items, such as the following:

  • Cash
  • Valuable papers
  • Property around your home (hot tubs, decks, etc.)
  • A car located on your property

You would need to obtain separate coverage for such items. Flooding can happen anywhere. Homeowners should consider flood insurance.

Boat Insurance

Boat insurance offers coverage for recreational boat accidents and liability. It can cover personal injury and property damage claims. It can also cover your losses in case of theft, vandalism, and accidents caused by uninsured boaters. If you own a boat, you should explore this type of insurance.

Umbrella Insurance

An umbrella insurance policy extends the coverage of an underlying insurance policy. It can provide additional insurance on top of coverage supplied by:

  • Home insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Boat insurance

An umbrella policy adds additional coverage in case you're sued for someone's injuries or property damage. This can help cover your legal defense costs and pay the other party's damages. Damages may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage

It can also help with your legal fees if you're sued for libel, slander, or false imprisonment.

GAP Insurance

GAP insurance is a type of auto insurance that covers the difference between what you owe on your car loan and the car's actual cash value. GAP insurance comes into play if you owe more on your car than it's worth. If you total your car, this insurance can help you pay your lender.

Pet Insurance

Like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can help you cover the costs of medical care. This can include things like:

  • Vaccinations
  • Wellness exams
  • Lab tests
  • Prescriptions
  • Surgeries
  • Chronic conditions

Plans for dogs and cats are easy to find. Some companies also cover other pets like birds, horses, and exotic pets.

Business Insurance

You can buy many types of insurance policies to help protect your business. These policies can help protect against many risks. These risks can include:

  • Theft
  • Premises liability claims
  • Product defect claims
  • Defamation lawsuits
  • Worker's compensation claims

Considering insurance for your business is essential. It could play a critical role in your company's risk management.

Title Insurance

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. Claims can include any of the following:

  • A lien
  • An easement
  • A claim of ownership that originated before your title insurance went into effect

Title insurance can also recoup some losses if the claim against your use or ownership is successful.

Travel Insurance

Many of us look forward to travel. We imagine ourselves getting away from normal day-to-day activities in the desired location. We don't want to think about the unexpected, but it happens. Travel insurance benefits can bring you security and peace of mind regarding your investment in travel.

Insurance coverage may be unnecessary for inexpensive trips, but it can provide a sense of security for more expensive pre-paid vacations. Consider comprehensive plans or medical-only policies. Depending on the policy, it reimburses you or offers services when the unexpected occurs.

Crop Insurance

Many farmers and ranchers purchase crop insurance. It can protect their business against a loss of revenue due to a decline in market prices. Crop insurance also covers the loss of crops due to natural disasters. These include the following:

  • Flooding
  • Drought
  • Hail
  • Disease

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation is a wholly owned government corporation that administers the federal crop insurance program. There is also state-regulated private crop insurance. Crop insurance serves as a critical risk management tool for farmers and ranchers.

Fire Insurance

Homeowners may also choose to purchase fire insurance. Most homeowner's insurance policies cover fire damage, but there can be circumstances where you need to add additional coverage in the case of fire. Fire can damage real property or personal property. Fire insurance will also cover damage caused by smoke or water.

Your homeowner's policy that includes fire insurance or a separate fire insurance policy would cover such losses.

Credit Insurance

Credit insurance is optional insurance. It can cover a loan or credit balance. Credit insurance issues a payout if you:

Credit insurance can also protect personal property used to secure a loan if the property is lost. Property loss may occur due to:

  • Theft
  • Accidents
  • Natural disasters

Consider whether you need credit insurance. Sometimes, the terms can be more favorable to the lender and provide you with little benefit.

Get Help Protecting Rights Under Your Insurance Plan

Has your claim been denied? Do you otherwise believe your insurance company failed to meet obligations under the insurance contract? If so, you can discuss your issue or file a complaint with your state's regulator. Each state has an insurance regulator

If you need further help, contact a local insurance attorney. They can explain your rights and help protect your interests.

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