Types of insurance
Insurance helps provide coverage for a wide variety of situations and events.
The most common types of insurance include:
Health insurance: helps cover medical expenses and treatments, such as routine medical visits, injuries, or hospital stays
Dental insurance: often helps cover dental expenses, like regular cleanings and dental procedures
Vision insurance: typically covers routine eye exams, a portion of out-of-pocket eyewear expenses, and will occasionally contribute to procedures like LASIK
Legal insurance: provides access to a network of attorneys for legal help as well as digital self-help documents and resources
Life insurance: pays a set amount to a designated beneficiary when the policyholder dies
Accident insurance: pays out a lump sum in the instance of certain accidents
Disability insurance: provides a portion of income payments to a person who can no longer work due to pregnancy, mental health, injury, illness, or accident
Auto insurance: helps cover collisions, property or personal damage, and comprehensive or no-fault incidents (hitting a deer, storm damage, vandalism, etc.)
Homeowners insurance: helps cover damage to your home from natural disasters, accidents, and other risks associated with owning property
Critical illness insurance: helps provide financial assistance for certain illnesses
Hospital indemnity insurance: helps pay expenses related to hospital stays
Pet insurance: often covers veterinary costs for instances like an injury, illness, and routine vet care
Benefits of insurance
To summarize, here are some key benefits of having insurance:
Financial protection: Insurance helps protect you and your family against unforeseen events and losses that could result in high out-of-pocket expenses.
Risk mitigation: Insurance may reduce the financial burden of an unexpected expense.
Healthcare coverage: Health insurance helps cover the costs of a policyholder's medical expenses, including preventative care and treatments.
Legal assistance: Certain types of insurance, such as legal insurance or liability coverage, offer access to legal services, representation, and advice.
Tax benefits: Depending on the insurance policy, you may be eligible to deduct insurance premiums, leading to lower taxable income and potential tax savings.
How to choose an insurance plan
When choosing an insurance plan, consider your needs and specific circumstances. Start by assessing the types of coverage you require and the level of coverage needed. Consider factors like your health, property value, dependents, and budget. Then, research and compare insurance providers, considering their plan options, costs, limits, and any additional benefits offered.
If you need extra guidance, consult with an insurance professional or agent. They can help you understand your options. If you’re enrolling in an insurance policy through your employer, you can reach out to your company's HR department.
How to get insurance
Depending on the type of insurance and the enrollment period, the process of getting insurance will vary. Here are some general guidelines to help you navigate the process:
Open enrollment: During the designated open enrollment period, you may be able to enroll in insurance offered through your employer or the government. Open enrollment dates for employer-sponsored plans are determined by the company and usually take place once a year. However, dates can change or vary by state or circumstance.
Special enrollment period (SEP): Certain qualifying life events (QLEs) may qualify you to enroll in insurance outside of the standard open enrollment period. QLEs can include marriage, divorce, having or adopting a child, a change in residence, or a job loss. When a QLE occurs, you’ll typically have a pre-determined time frame (e.g. 30-60 days) to make changes to your insurance coverage.
Year-round enrollment: Some types of insurance, such as auto, homeowners, and life insurance, can be obtained at any time during the year depending on the plan and insurance company. Contact the insurance provider directly for instructions on how to enroll.