Employee Benefits

Different Types of Insurance You Can Get

4 min read
Sep 15, 2023

Your lifestyle, your priorities, and your dreams are all part of your financial future. To protect it, you may need multiple types of insurance coverage. But do you know what types of coverage are available or how to tap into them? This article outlines many of the most essential types of insurance, including those typically offered as employer-sponsored benefits. Use it as a starting point to help assess your insurance needs and create a coverage strategy that's right for you and your loved ones.

Health insurance

Health insurance is one of the most essential types of coverage in the U.S. With many Americans carrying medical debt, adequate coverage could mean the difference between a manageable bill and major financial issues.

Even if you’re healthy, health insurance is important. Routine check-ups and tests, which are often covered by health insurance, can help detect hidden medical issues and prevent potentially serious conditions that can occur down the road. If you don’t have health insurance, you may end up paying the bills for expensive medical tests and treatments out of pocket.

How to get health insurance

Most people enroll in health insurance coverage through an employer or the federal health insurance marketplace. You can also buy health insurance directly from a provider or through an insurance agent. High-deductible health plans (HDHPs), federal programs, and subsidized policies exist for qualifying applicants as well.

Life insurance

Life insurance is an insurance contract that provides your beneficiaries with a lump sum of money at the time of your death. There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term life insurance provides financial protection to children or dependents for a specific period of time. Permanent life insurance offers more comprehensive coverage, which may be better for developing an estate plan and leaving an inheritance for your survivors. You can choose from several types of permanent life insurance, including whole, universal, burial, variable universal, and survivorship life insurance.

How to get life insurance 

Your employer may offer life insurance as part of their benefits package, or you can purchase a plan individually. 

Disability insurance

Disability insurance isn’t just for risky occupations. This type of insurance provides coverage if you’re unable to work for various reasons, such as arthritis, back pain, diabetes, car accidents, pregnancy, and mental health.

Disability coverage supplements a portion of your income, and depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), employer-sponsored group disability insurance, or individual disability policies. Some disability plans have a monthly payout cap that limits how much you can draw from your policy. Also, most plans have a waiting period before coverage begins. Refer to individual policy information to assess factors like these when choosing your plan.

How to get disability insurance

Employers may offer group disability insurance as a benefit or you can buy individual policies. Terms, coverage, and eligibility requirements vary by company. Some policies may require you to undergo a medical evaluation or provide medical records. Insurance companies assess your eligibility and terms of coverage based on your application and medical history.

Dental and vision insurance

Dental insurance helps cover the cost of dental exams and treatment. Vision insurance helps with the costs of vision exams and eyewear. Benefits vary among plans, but common coverage includes routine cleanings, dental surgeries, and some corrective surgeries.

How to get dental and vision insurance 

You can get dental or vision insurance on your own or through your workplace if they’re offered as a benefit. Review the plan details and coverage options provided, and become familiar with your provider network.

Hospital indemnity insurance

It’s no secret that overnight visits are expensive — and not always covered by health insurance.2 (In fact, a three-day hospital stay costs an average of $30,000!) You can help protect your finances as well as your health with hospital indemnity insurance.

Hospital indemnity insurance is used to he;p cover costs associated with hospital admission, inpatient rehabilitation, and overnight inpatient stays. Typically, a hospital indemnity plan provides cash payments directly to enrollees. You can use the cash payments for virtually any purpose, including copay and coinsurance charges, deductibles, and living expenses, like food or mortgage payments.

How to get hospital indemnity insurance 

Hospital indemnity insurance can be purchased independently or through your employer (if offered). If your employer offers this benefit, you can have premiums automatically deducted from your paycheck.

Person reviewing insurance documents at desk with laptop

Critical illness insurance and cancer insurance

Critical illness insurance and cancer insurance are types of insurance policies created to provide benefits that can help cover the costs of treating acute illnesses and medical conditions, like heart attacks, chronic illnesses, and cancer.

In many cases, they offer policyholders a cash payout for covered incidents, which can be used to cover treatment costs, living expenses, or however you see fit. Your employer may also offer benefits such as dependent coverage for your spouse and children and coverage for recurring illnesses. 

How to get critical illness and cancer insurance 

When getting critical illness insurance or cancer insurance through your employer, you can typically enroll during the open enrollment period, when you first join the company or after a qualifying life event (QLE). You can also purchase these benefits through an independent insurance provider. 

Accident insurance 

Accident insurance provides benefits in the event the participant sustains certain injuries caused by an accident. Most accident insurance plans provide benefits that can be used as the participant sees fit, including to help cover a range of expenses, such as emergency room visits, insurance deductibles, and copays.

These plans typically provide enrollees with a lump-sum payout they can use how they see fit. For example, you can use the money to pay for costs directly related to medical treatment, like a hospital bill, or indirect expenses like food, hotel stays, or transportation. 

How to get accident insurance

If this benefit is offered through your workplace, follow the instructions provided by your employer to enroll. If not, research providers, compare plans, and enroll online with your chosen provider.  

Legal insurance 

Legal insurance provides access to attorneys offering legal services — including drafting and reviewing documents, consultation, or representation in court. For a monthly premium, you get access to a network of attorneys, making it easier to find a trusted advisor for whatever legal assistance you need. 

How to get legal insurance 

You can opt into a legal insurance plan through your employer (if offered) or on your own. If you're a federal employee or member of the military, you have the option to enroll in legal insurance anytime during the year, even if it's outside of the typical enrollment period. 

Pet insurance 

Pet insurance can help cover costs related to your pet’s healthcare, including emergencies, overnight vet stays, and unexpected illnesses. It helps reimburse covered veterinary costs from accidents and illnesses — like ear infections, broken bones, and cancer. However, certain expenses — like grooming, food not prescribed by a vet, and elective surgeries — generally aren’t covered. 

How to get pet insurance 

Your employer may offer coverage as part of your benefits package, or you can buy pet insurance online through a commercial provider.  

Homeowners insurance 

Homeowners insurance may be mandated by mortgage lenders in order to get a homeowner’s loan. This coverage provides financial protection in case your home is damaged. Most home insurance policies help cover costs related to dwelling and personal property damage, additional living expenses, and certain types of natural disaster damage. 

How to get homeowners insurance 

Homeowners insurance generally isn’t offered by employers, so you'll most likely need to purchase a policy on your own. Evaluate your coverage needs by considering the value of your property, its contents, and any additional structures you want to insure before choosing a provider. 

Renters insurance 

A landlord’s insurance covers any structural damage to your rental home or apartment, like roof repairs or fire damage. Renters insurance, however, provides financial protection for your personal belongings while you’re renting 

 How to get renters insurance 

Renters insurance is most often purchased by an individual through an insurance provider. Compare coverage, deductibles, and premiums, and then choose a plan that aligns with your needs and budget. 

Long-term care insurance 

According to the Administration for Community Living, about 60% of people will require long-term care at some point.3 And no matter what type of long-term care you may need, it can get costly. Long-term care (LTC) insurance helps pay for costs related to a variety of long-term care services, including in-home assistance, short- or long-term nursing home stays, and adult day care. 

Some may wait to invest in LTC when they’re in their 50s or 60s. However, the cost to purchase LTC insurance can increase with age, which may make it more cost-effective to enroll at a younger age. Some life insurance policies allow you to add an LTC rider, so contact your insurance agent or human resources representative to learn more about your options. 

How to get LTC insurance 

Some employers offer group long-term care insurance as part of their employee benefits package. If they do, you can enroll during open enrollment periods. If not, you can purchase it independently. 

Auto insurance

Almost every state requires drivers to have auto insurance. Car insurance helps cover costs related to accidents, car theft, or damage to your vehicle from natural disasters. It may also help protect you against lawsuits related to an accident. 

How to get auto insurance 

Employers don't typically offer auto insurance, so you’ll probably need to purchase it on your own through an insurance provider. Consider bundling home or renters insurance and auto insurance through one provider to save money. 

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is designed to safeguard travelers against unforeseen events and financial losses associated with a trip. It offers coverage for things like trip cancellations, lost or delayed baggage, medical emergencies, and other travel-related expenses. 

How to get travel insurance 

Some employers may offer travel insurance to cover employees for business-related trips. However, for personal travel protection, you most likely need to purchase it on your own through an insurance company, travel agency, or credit card company. 

Umbrella insurance 

Umbrella insurance is a type of liability insurance that offers coverage beyond the limits of your existing insurance policies — such as auto or homeowners insurance — to provide additional financial protection. 

Let’s say you’re at fault in a car accident, and the damages exceed the liability limits of your auto insurance policy. Without umbrella insurance, you’d be responsible for covering the remaining costs out of pocket. However, with umbrella insurance, that extra amount would be covered up to the limit specified in your policy. 

How to get umbrella insurance 

To obtain umbrella insurance, you’ll first need to have an underlying primary insurance policy with certain minimum liability limits. Most umbrella insurance coverage plans are purchased from the provider that issued your primary policy. 

Knowing the different types of insurance helps you prepare for life’s curveballs 

Now that you’re familiar with the most common types of insurance, consider which types align with your needs and offer the best coverage for your circumstances. It’s important to consider factors like your health, dependents, financial situation, and assets. As you dive into the details of the plans, consider consulting with an insurance professional to help make the best decision for you and your family. 

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1 “1 in 10 Adults Owe Medical Debt, With Millions Owing More Than $10,000” KFF, 2022
2 “Why health insurance is important” HealthCare.gov
3 “What is Long-Term Care (LTC) and Who Needs it?” Administration for Community Living, 2021  

This article is intended to provide general information about insurance. It does not describe any MetLife product or feature.