Monthly Archives: June 2017

Insurance For Beginners

Welcome to the global business guide. In this context, we will be taking about the insurance industry, the general definition of insurance, adequate and precise explanation of the definition, brief talk about the history, the insurer, the insured, classes of insurance, the role of the underwriter in the industry and how you as an individual can benefit maximally when you get yourself, your car, your house, even that your business insure. We do hope you will enjoy reading this article and the essence of your quest for the topic above will be met.

Insurance is a financial institution classified as a non bank financial institution. They are important financial inter-mi diaries. It is believed to have originated from the ancient practices of inhabitants of the valleys of rivers Tigris and Euphrates in the present day Iraqi in about 4.000BC. History has it that in 1800BC, the Babylonians code of Hammurabi contained provisions which had elements of insurance in the laws that govern their commerce. But today what we have in the industry, both locally and internationally had moved from just an agreement between two persons into a very big industry across the globe.

Going by definition, we learn that insurance means a situation whereby someone protects his or herself against risk and reduce effects of uncertainties as well as distribute loss. Other explanation to this owe it to the situation whereby a certain amount of money when collected from someone by an insurance company agrees to pay a compensation or render services to that person if and whenever that person suffers the kind of loss specified in the insurance agreement; and from the explanation, this is where an insurance company comes into play since they are the people that will go into agreement with the person taking any insurance policy against any of his belongings. This industry has widely been believed as a means whereby people reduce the risk of unforeseen circumstances. As financial intermediaries, they act as middlemen between the surplus units and deficit units of the economy thereby sustaining the general growth of the economy.

One may ask, how do insurance companies generate the money used in compensating their policy holder when affected by any mishap? The answer to this question, will lead us into talking about the various means via which the insurance companies make their money and how their policy holders are compensated. The truth is that, the money they collect from their policy holder (i.e one that has an agreement with the insurance company) is invested in the form of premiums (an extra sum of money paid in addition to the normal cost of something. by BBC. Eng. dict) and that money is invested in Bonds, in stocks, mortgages (i.e house) and government securities (in our subsequent article, we will explain more of this: Bonds, stocks, mortgages and govt. securities). They generate income for themselves and those who are in their service. They invest their policy holder’s money in better business that has short term maximum returns on investment and from there meet their numerous needs when needed in claims and losses. These funds themselves are invested, that not only do they earn interest to be added to the funds, but they also benefit the government, public authorities, and industries whose securities the investment are spread, because of the investment policy of the insurer (we will explain later), their reserve funds are not left idle butt are used productively.

Another way via which the insurance companies compensate those who are in their service is that the contribution of many is used to compensate the few among them who were affected by the misfortune insured against. So the loss of few people is share by many.

We hope that to this extend, you must have understood the above explanation about insurance company. Now the next thing we will be considering is the functions of the insurance companies.

Amongst other functions, the main function of the insurance company is risk bearing, the financial losses of individuals are judiciously distributed among many people, for example, in the case of fire, the policy holder in fire insurance pays a premium into a common pool, out of which those who suffer loss are compensated.

FUNCTIONS INCLUDE

1. The insurance industry encourages thrift (i.e money conservation) especially via it’s life policies which provide funds for family, welfare and old age provisions. It provides employment opportunity for those that have the interest of working with the industry.

The insurance companies works hand in hand with commerce. It owes it’s existence to commerce (i.e business in general both industrial etc) and commerce in return owes it’s strong stability to insurance, this is because it helped in various ways to enhance the general trend in business.

Before we proceed further to other functions, let’s explain this two terms: the insurer; the insured as it will aid us in our understanding.

The insured: This is the party affecting the insurance in other words, the individual or individuals which is taking the insurance policy. This can be done either directly or indirectly or via an agent or broker.

The insurer: This is the party providing the protection to cover by the policy. The insurer covers every other terms which includes the underwriter who is a senior official of an insurance company whose business lies in undertaking new business for the company.

The insurance company has a contract which promises to pay compensation at a future date for a consideration known as premium (i.e. the money paid by the insured to the insurer for the insurance cover provided in the policy). Like the way we have it in other contracts, i.e having it that contracts is based on the principles of offer and acceptance, consideration and capacity to contract. These contract, especially in insurance involves two parties i.e. the insurer and the insured.

FUNCTIONS 2

Insurer, by reason of their principal function accumulate large funds which they hold as custodians and out of which claims and losses are met. Like in some countries, their insurers operate in many parts of the world and earn vast sums in overseas market in terms of underwriting profit and investment income. This tells us that insurance forms a considerable part of that country’s invisible exports.

As we continue in our functions, let’s see the role of the insured and the insurer.

ROLES OF THE INSURED:

In insurance, when the proposer becomes insured the party effecting an insurance is known as the proposer throughout the negotiations, and until the contract is in full force. The insurer plays a vital role in making this aforementioned contract to come into force, knowing that in insurance contract, just like we said before is base on the principle of offer and acceptance, consideration and capacity to contract, the contracts are always evidenced in writing which is made up of various forms to be filled and signed. If the insured does not accept the insurance offer and giving meticulous consideration to that, there can hardly be capacity to contract i.e the insurance contract can never be. So, from this, we now learn that this two parties (i.e the insurer and the insured) must be involved before an insurance contract can becomes a policy.

ROLES OF THE INSURER

Here we are considering the roles of the insurer as a subsidiary functions of insurance; this is because in general sense (they have a very wide range of function), the insurer is the one providing the necessary insurance services, benefits to the insured, should any mishap, depending on the insurance policy undertaken. The insurer helps also in loss-prevention in the following ways:

We know that the extend to which loss prevention is seen, is mostly on property. An individual or a population can suffer great loss materially, if it were not for the intervention of loss prevention scheme by insurance companies to their policy holders.

The insurer also assists in boasting business venture: Many large -scale enterprise today can make their business in good faith, having transferred all their risk to the insurance company, in other words. The insurance companies help to maintain and to stabilize the atmosphere of the present day large-scale business and organizations.

Many questions had risen by on onlookers, as on how the policy holder can be compesated, should there be any mishap on the policy covered. It is better for us to note that the insurance company, when a loss is incurred to the policy holder can make for his or her loss, but that can only compensate him and make him return to his normal financial position before the occurrence of the incidence and not to profit him from the misfortune. This is generally because, no amount of financial compensation can pay adequately for the life and health of persons, so life and personal accidents are regarded as benefit policies. So let there be no misconception on this fact when mishap occurs, where the public is looking for the victim to be given everything lost, and having a meager compensation given to him or her. So let’s not distrust insurance companies in this area, knowing that it’s only the restoration to the exact position before the loss that is provided.

Now, as we have gone so far in understanding the functions of the insurance companies, the roles of the insured and the insurer, we will be proceeding forward to look at the various ways via which one can benefit from being insured in all spheres of life. For those who against all odds, accept insurance policy adequately, benefits, awaits them in areas like

1. pecuniary insurance

2. personal insurance

3. property insurance

4. liability insurance

We will take our time to give you enough explanation in all the sub-sections of these areas that will be of help to you.

1. PECUNIARY INSURANCE: This has to do with money or relating to something of such nature. This insurance policy benefits mostly company owners, directors, managers e.t.c This insurance policy provides cover to the employer against the loss of money unintentionally, or in a situation where an employee defrauds his or her employer on certain amount of money placed under his or her custody or in things relating to other occurrence/loss. Other policies under pecuniary insurance are; fidelity guarantee (known also as surety ship), legal expenses, credit insurance and business interruption insurance. All of these have their various function which in one way or the other relates to pecuniary. Like earlier stated, pecuniary insurance provides cover for C.E.O., M.D’S etc in case of loss of money either by intent or accident placed under the care of their employee or any officer of higher responsibility. These type of insurance cover, which their employee has will help to compensate them (i.e the employer’s) and also ease the employee the fear and tension which the mishap might generate for him or her. It is therefore advisable you consider this policy very well as an MD, C.E.O. etc, especially with the assistance of your insurance broker so as to adequately know, and be directed properly on how to go about it.

2. PERSONAL INSURANCE

This involves all classes of life assurance and also accident policies. There are other types of person insurance, and the purpose of each is to meet the different need of individuals in their aim to provide for the future either for themselves or for their dependents. Other sub-divisions of personal insurance are:

i. Life assurance

ii. Personal accident and sickness insurance,

iii. Permanent health insurance,

iv. Social security

These sub-divisions has various similarities which come out at the end to meet the same aim, like in life assurance, personal accident and sickness insurance, this policy ensures that the policy holder when befallen by any misfortune, which resulted into permanent disability or death will still be able to fend for his or herself and also for his or her dependants in the case of death.

3. PROPERTY INSURANCE

Property insurance policy involves insurance cover for property should any risk of damage or loss by fire, accident, burglary or other risks that may occur. Under this, there are other sub-divisions which include:

i. Motor Insurance

ii. Marine Insurance

iii. Fire Insurance

iv. Burglary Insurance

v. Special peril Insurance

vi. All risk Insurance

In all these sub-divisions of property insurance, respective insurance cover is given to them all should there be any damage or loss relating to the type of policy the holder has.

4. LIABILITY INSURANCE

This provides cover for the insured against his legal liability to others. This can arise via negligence of the insured in failing to act in a reasonable manner. Such manners like crossing the road without properly looking on both side of the road which might result in accident. This may also arise via the insured’s unlawful disturbance of another person in the enjoyment of his or property (i.e constituting a nuisance to them) or via the insured’s trespass which is an unlawful act committed with force or violent on another person’s property. Liability insurance is also sub-divided into employer’s liability to his employee and public liability by the insured. The two sub-divisions of liability insurance owe their explanation to their respective liabilities, and since liability generally arises from lawsuits, liability policy covers only claims which the insured becomes legally obligated to.

We should also bear in mind that no insurance policy can prevent theft, fire, or other misfortune or the creation of legal liability, but can provide financial assistance in such situations. It does not also protect for example, the material property which is the subject matter of the insurance, but the financial interest of the insurer. This mean that the insurer can only get a financial compensation when any mishap happens to any thing insured against and not having the property restored back in case of fire or collapse (for building).

Car Insurance Terms and Glossary

No car insurance resource would be complete without a comprehensive glossary of car insurance terms. We’ve compiled a list of terms and their definitions to better help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of insurance

Accident – This is an unexpected sudden event that causes property damage to an automobile or bodily injury to a person. The event may be an at-fault or not-at fault and it may be report or unreported. An accident involving two vehicles may be termed a collision.

Accident report form – This is the report filed by police, often called the police report, containing the important information regarding the vehicle collision. This report will include the names of all individuals involved, vehicles involved, property damaged and citations that were issued.

Adjuster – This is the person who will evaluate the actual loss reported on the policy after an accident or other incident. They will make the determination on how much will be paid on the auto insurance policy by the Insurer.

Agent – This is a licensed and trained individual who is authorized to sell and to service insurance policies for the auto insurance company.

At Fault – This is the amount that you, the policy holder, contributed or caused the auto collision. This determines which insurance agency pays which portion of the losses.

Auto Insurance Score – This is a score similar to credit score that evaluates the information in your consumer credit report. These scores are used when determining pricing for your auto insurance policy. Negative marks on your credit report can increase your auto insurance premiums. The use of this information to determine policy pricing does vary from state to state.

Automobile Insurance – This is a type of insurance policy that covers and protect against losses involving automobiles. Auto Insurance policies include a wide range of coverage’s depending on the policy holders needs. Liability for property damage and bodily injury, uninsured motorist, medical payments, comprehensive, and collision are some of the common coverage’s offered under an auto insurance policy.

Binder – This is a temporary short-term policy agreement put in place while a formal permanent policy is put into place or delivered.

Bodily Injury Liability – This is the section of an insurance policy that covers the cost to anyone you may injure. It can include lost wages and medical expenses.

Broker – This is a licensed individual who on your behalf sells and services various insurance policies.

Claim – This is a formal notice made to your insurance company that a loss has occurred which may be covered under the terms of the auto insurance policy.

Claims Adjuster – This person employed by the insurance agency will investigate and settle all claims and losses. A representative for the insurance agency to verify and ensure all parties involved with the loss, get compensated fairly and correctly.

Collision – The portion of the insurance policy that covers damage to your vehicle from hitting another object. Objects can include but are not limited to; another vehicle, a building, curbs, guard rail, tree, telephone pole or fence. A deductible will apply. Your insurance company will go after the other parties insurance policy for these cost should they be at fault.

Commission – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that is paid to the insurance agent for selling and servicing the policy on behalf of the company.

Comprehensive – This is a portion of the insurance policy that covers loss caused by anything other than a collision or running into another object. A deductible will apply. This includes but is not limited to vandalism, storm damage, fire, theft, etc.

Covered loss – This is the damage to yourself, other people or property or your vehicle that is covered under the auto insurance policy.

Declarations Page – This is the part of the insurance policy that includes the entire legal name of your insurance company, your full legal name, complete car information including vehicle identification numbers or VIN, policy information, policy number, deductible amounts. This page is usually the front page of the insurance policy.

Deductible Amount – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that is the amount the policy holder must pay up front before the Insurance Company contributes and is required to pay any benefits. This amount can be within a wide range in price and varies from approximately $100 – $1000. The larger amount you pay in a deductible the lower your normal monthly/yearly policy will cost. This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that would be applicable only to comprehensive or collision coverage.

Discount – This is a reduction in the overall cost of your insurance policy. Deductions can be given for a variety of different reasons including a good driving record, grades, age, marital status, specific features and safety equipment on the automobile.

Emergency Road Service – This is the part of an auto insurance policy that covers the cost of emergency services such as flat tires, keys locked in the car and towing services.

Endorsement – This is any written change that is made to the auto insurance policy that is adding or removing coverage on the policy.

Exclusion – This is the portion of the auto Insurance policy that includes any provision including people, places or things that are not covered under the insurance policy.

First Party – This is the policyholder, the insured in an insurance policy.

Gap Insurance – This is a type of auto insurance provided to people who lease or own a vehicle that is worth less than the amount of the loan. Gap auto Insurance will cover the amount between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the amount left on loan should the care be stolen or destroyed.

High-Risk Driver – If you have a variety of negative marks on your insurance record including driving under the Influences, several traffic violations, etc. you may be labeled as a risk to the insurance company. This will increase your insurance policy or may make you ineligible for coverage.

Insured – The policyholder (s) who are covered by the policy benefits in case of a loss or accident.

Insurer – Is the Auto Insurance company who promises to pay the policy holder in case of loss or accident.

Liability insurance – This part of an auto insurance policy which legally covers the damage and injuries you cause to other drivers and their vehicles when you are at fault in an accident. If you are sued and taken to court, liability coverage will apply to your legal costs that you incur. Most states will require drivers to carry some variation of liability coverage Insurance and this amount will vary state by state.

Limits – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that explains and lists the monetary limits the insurance company will pay out. In the situation you reach these limits the policy holder will be responsible for all other expenses.

Medical Payments Coverage – This is the portion of an auto insurance policy that pays for medical expenses and lost wages to you and any passengers in your vehicle after an accident. It is also known as personal injury protection or PIP.

Motor Vehicle Report – The motor vehicle report or MVR is a record issued by the state in which the policy holder resides in that will list the licensing status, any traffic violations, various suspensions and./ or refractions on your record. This is one of the tools used in determining the premium prices offered by the insurance agency. This is also used to determine the probability of you having a claim during your policy period.

No-Fault Insurance – If you reside within a state with no-fault insurance laws and regulations, your auto insurance policy pays for your injuries no matter who caused the accident. No-fault insurance states include; Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington, DC..

Non-Renewal – This is the termination of an auto insurance policy on the given expiration date. All coverage will cease as of this date and insurer will be released of promised coverage.

Personal Property Liability – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that covers any damage or loss you cause to another person’s personal property.

Personal Injury Protection or PIP – This portion of an auto insurance policy pays for any lost wages or medical expenses to you and any passengers in your vehicle following an accident. PIP is also known as medical payments coverage.

Premium – This is the amount charged to you monthly, yearly or any other duration agreed upon by insurance company and policy holder and paid directly to the auto insurance company. A premium is based on the type and amount of coverage you choose for your vehicle(s) and yourself. Other factors that will affect your insurance premium prices include your age, marital status, you’re driving and credit report, the type of car you drive and whether you live in an urban or rural area. Premiums vary by insurance company and the location you live.

Quotation – This is the amount or estimated amount the insurance will cost based on the information provided to the agent, broker or auto insurance company.

Rescission.- This is the cancellation of the insurance policy dated back to its effective date. This would result in the full premium that was charged being returned.

Rental Reimbursement – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that covers the cost of an automobile rental of similar size should the covered vehicle be in repair from a reported incident.

Replacement Cost – This is the amount of money it would cost to replace a lost or damaged item at it is actually new replacement value. This monetary amount would be based on a new identical item in the current local market.

Salvage – This is the auto insurance policy holders property that is turned over tot eh insurance agency in a loss final settlement. Insurance companies will sell the salvage property in hopes to recoup some of its monetary loss due to the loss and settlement.

Second Party – this is the actual insurance company in the auto insurance policy.

Surcharge – This is the amount added to your auto insurance policy premium after a traffic violation or an accident in which you were found to be at fault.

Third Party – This is another person other than the policy holder and auto insurance company who has faced a loss and may be able to collect and be compensated on behalf of the policy holder’s negligence.

Total Loss – This is complete destruction to the insured property of a policy holder. It has been determined that it would be a great sum of money to repair the item rather than replace the insured piece of property to its state prior to the loss.

Towing Coverage – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that covers a specified amount for towing services and related labor costs.

Under insured Driver – This is the portion of an auto insurance policy which covers injuries to you caused by a driver without enough insurance to pay for the medical expenses you have incurred from the accident. This is portion of the policy can vary state by state as some states include damage to the car in this section.

Uninsured Driver or Motorist – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy which covers injuries to you caused by a driver who was without liability insurance at the time of the accident. Uninsured driver or motorist coverage comes in two different sections; uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage. Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage covers the injuries to you or any passenger in your vehicle when there is an accident with an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage covers the cost for the property damage to your vehicle when there is an accident with an identified uninsured driver. Uninsured driver or motorist coverage must be offered when you purchase the required liability coverage for your vehicle. You must sign a declination waiver if you decline Uninsured driver or motorist coverage. The majority of states require drivers to carry some form of uninsured motorist coverage. Some states include damages to your car in this coverage.

Vehicle Identification Number or VIN – A VIN is a 17 letter and number combination that is the identification of the specific vehicle. It will identify the make, modem and year of the automobile. This number is typically located on the driver’s side window on the dash. It can also be found on the vehicles registration and title.

A Beginner’s Guide to Insurance

Having the right kind of insurance is central to sound financial planning. Some of us may have some form of insurance but very few really understand what it is or why one must have it. For most Indians insurance is a form of investment or a superb tax saving avenue. Ask an average person about his/her investments and they will proudly mention an insurance product as part of their core investments. Of the approximately 5% of Indians that are insured the proportion of those adequately insured is much lower. Very few of the insured view insurance as purely that. There is perhaps no other financial product that has witnessed such rampant mis-selling at the hands of agents who are over enthusiastic in selling products linking insurance to investment earning them fat commissions.

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a way of spreading out significant financial risk of a person or business entity to a large group of individuals or business entities in the occurrence of an unfortunate event that is predefined. The cost of being insured is the monthly or annual compensation paid to the insurance company. In the purest form of insurance if the predefined event does not occur until the period specified the money paid as compensation is not retrieved. Insurance is effectively a means of spreading risk among a pool of people who are insured and lighten their financial burden in the event of a shock.

Insured and Insurer

When you seek protection against financial risk and make a contract with an insurance provider you become the insured and the insurance company becomes your insurer.

Sum assured

In Life Insurance this is the amount of money the insurer promises to pay when the insured dies before the predefined time. This does not include bonuses added in case of non-term insurance. In non-life insurance this guaranteed amount may be called as Insurance Cover.

Premium

For the protection against financial risk an insurer provides, the insured must pay compensation. This is known as premium. They may be paid annually, quarterly, monthly or as decided in the contract. Total amount of premiums paid is several times lesser than the insurance cover or it wouldn’t make much sense to seek insurance at all. Factors that determine premium are the cover, number of years for which insurance is sought, age of the insured (individual, vehicle, etc), to name a few.

Nominee

The beneficiary who is specified by the insured to receive the sum assured and other benefits, if any is the nominee. In case of life insurance it must be another person apart from the insured.

Policy Term

The number of years you want protection for is the term of policy. Term is decided by the insured at the time of purchasing the insurance policy.

Rider

Certain insurance policies may offer additional features as add-ons apart from the actual cover. These can be availed by paying extra premiums. If those features were to be bought separately they would be more expensive. For instance you could add on a personal accident rider with your life insurance.

Surrender Value and Paid-up Value

If you want to exit a policy before its term ends you can discontinue it and take back your money. The amount the insurer will pay you in this instance is called the surrender value. The policy ceases to exist. Instead if you just stop paying the premiums mid way but do not withdraw money the amount is called as paid-up. At the term’s end the insurer pays you in proportion of the paid-up value.

Now that you know the terms this is how insurance works in plain words. An insurance company pools premiums from a large group of people who want to insure against a certain kind of loss. With the help of its actuaries the company comes up with statistical analysis of the probability of actual loss happening in a certain number of people and fixes premiums taking into account other factors as mentioned earlier. It works on the fact that not all insured will suffer loss at the same time and many may not suffer the loss at all within the time of contract.

Types of Insurance

Potentially any risk that can be quantified in terms of money can be insured. To protect loved ones from loss of income due to immature death one can have a life insurance policy. To protect yourself and your family against unforeseen medical expenses you can opt for a Mediclaim policy. To protect your vehicle against robbery or damage in accidents you can have a motor insurance policy. To protect your home against theft, damage due to fire, flood and other perils you can choose a home insurance.

Most popular insurance forms in India are life insurance, health insurance and motor insurance. Apart from these there are other forms as well which are discussed in brief in the following paragraphs. The insurance sector is regulated and monitored by IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority).

Life Insurance

This form of insurance provides cover against financial risk in the event of premature death of the insured. There are 24 life insurance companies playing in this arena of which Life Insurance Corporation of India is a public sector company. There are several forms of life insurance policies the simplest form of which is term plan. The other complex policies are endowment plan, whole life plan, money back plan, ULIPs and annuities.

General Insurance

All other insurance policies besides Life Insurance fall under General Insurance. There are 24 general insurance companies in India of which 4 namely National Insurance Company Ltd, New India Assurance Company Ltd, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and United India Insurance Company Ltd are in the public sector domain.

The biggest pie of non-life insurance in terms of premiums underwritten is shared by motor insurance followed by engineering insurance and health insurance. Other forms of insurance offered by companies in India are home insurance, travel insurance, personal accident insurance, and business insurance.

Buying Insurance

There are an umpteen number of policies to choose from. Because we cannot foresee our future and stop unpleasant things from happening, having an insurance cover is a necessity. But you need to choose carefully. Don’t simply go with what the agent tells you. Read policy documents to know what is covered, what features are offered and what events are excluded from being insured.

1. Know your Needs

Determine what asset or incident must be protected against loss/damage. Is it you life, health, vehicle, home? Next determine what kinds of damage or danger exactly would the assets be most probably be exposed to. This will tell you what features you should be looking for in a policy. Of course there will be losses which cannot be foreseen and the cost of dealing with them can be very high. For instance nobody can predict that they’ll never suffer from critical illnesses no matter if they’re perfectly healthy at present.

The biggest mistake while it comes to buying insurance, particularly life insurance is to view it as an investment. Clubbing insurance and investment in a single product is a poor idea. You lose out on both fronts because for the premiums you’re paying more cover could’ve been got in a term plan and if the premiums were invested in better instruments your returns could’ve been several times more.

Be wary of agents who want to talk you into buying unnecessary policies like child life insurance, credit card insurance, unemployment insurance and so on. Instead of buying separate insurance for specific assets or incidents look for policies that cover a host of possible events under the same cover. Whenever possible choose riders that make sense instead of buying them separately. Unless there is a fair chance of an event happening you do not need insurance for it. For instance unless you are very prone to accidents and disability due to your nature of work or other reasons you do not need an Accident Insurance policy. A good Life Insurance policy with accidental death rider or waiver of premium rider or a disability income rider will do the job.

2. Understand Product Features and Charges

The worst way of choosing an insurance product or insurer is to blindly follow the recommendation of an agent or a friend. The good way to do it is to shop around for products that suit your need and filter out the ones offering lower premiums for similar terms like age, amount of cover, etc. All details you need about the product features and charges will be provided on the company’s website. Many insurance policies can now be bought online. Buying online is smarter because premiums are lower due to elimination of agent fees. If buying offline in case of life insurance, tell the agent that you’re interested only in term insurance.

Before you sign on the contract make sure you have understood what items are covered and what items are exempted from the cover. It would be so devastating to learn in the event of damage or loss that the item you hoped to cover with the insurance was actually excluded. So many people rush to their insurers after being treated for diseases only to realize that the particular disease was excluded. Understand details like when the cover begins and ends and how claims can be filed and losses be reported.

Don’t choose an insurance company because your neighbourhood friend is their agent and never let them coax you into buying from them. Insurance premiums run for years and it means a sizeable amount of money. Apart from the premiums charged look for the service provided. When you are faced with a peril you want the claims collection processed to be complicated with non-cooperating staff in the insurance company’s office. Seek answers from people who have had previous experience with the company for questions like how customer friendly and responsive the company is when it comes to handling claims.

3. Evaluate and Upgrade in Time

As you walk from one life stage to another or when the asset insured changes your policies must be reviewed. Perhaps your cover will need to be increased (or decreased) or you’ll need to top it up with a rider. Some instances when you need to review your cover are when you getting married, when you have children, when your income increases your decreases substantially, when you’re buying a house/car and when you’re responsible for your ageing parents.

Fire Insurance Under Indian Insurance Law

A contract of Insurance comes into being when a person seeking insurance protection enters into a contract with the insurer to indemnify him against loss of property by or incidental to fire and or lightening, explosion, etc. This is primarily a contract and hence as is governed by the general law of contract. However, it has certain special features as insurance transactions, such as utmost faith, insurable interest, indemnity, subrogation and contribution, etc. these principles are common in all insurance contracts and are governed by special principles of law.

FIRE INSURANCE:

According to S. 2(6A), “fire insurance business” means the business of effecting, otherwise than incidentally to some other class of insurance business, contracts of insurance against loss by or incidental to fire or other occurrence, customarily included among the risks insured against in fire insurance business.

According to Halsbury, it is a contract of insurance by which the insurer agrees for consideration to indemnify the assured up to a certain extent and subject to certain terms and conditions against loss or damage by fire, which may happen to the property of the assured during a specific period.
Thus, fire insurance is a contract whereby the person, seeking insurance protection, enters into a contract with the insurer to indemnify him against loss of property by or incidental to fire or lightning, explosion etc. This policy is designed to insure one’s property and other items from loss occurring due to complete or partial damage by fire.

In its strict sense, a fire insurance contract is one:

1. Whose principle object is insurance against loss or damage occasioned by fire.

2. The extent of insurer’s liability being limited by the sum assured and not necessarily by the extent of loss or damage sustained by the insured: and

3. The insurer having no interest in the safety or destruction of the insured property apart from the liability undertaken under the contract.

LAW GOVERNING FIRE INSURANCE

There is no statutory enactment governing fire insurance, as in the case of marine insurance which is regulated by the Indian Marine Insurance Act, 1963. the Indian Insurance Act, 1938 mainly dealt with regulation of insurance business as such and not with any general or special principles of the law relating fire of other insurance contracts. So also the General Insurance Business (Nationalization) Act, 1872. in the absence of any legislative enactment on the subject , the courts in India have in dealing with the topic of fire insurance have relied so far on judicial decisions of Courts and opinions of English Jurists.

In determining the value of property damaged or destroyed by fire for the purpose of indemnity under a policy of fire insurance, it was the value of the property to the insured, which was to be measured. Prima facie that value was measured by reference of the market value of the property before and after the loss. However such method of assessment was not applicable in cases where the market value did not represent the real value of the property to the insured, as where the property was used by the insured as a home or, for carrying business. In such cases, the measure of indemnity was the cost of reinstatement. In the case of Lucas v. New Zealand Insurance Co. Ltd.[1] where the insured property was purchased and held as an income-producing investment, and therefore the court held that the proper measure of indemnity for damage to the property by fire was the cost of reinstatement.

INSURABLE INTEREST

A person who is so interested in a property as to have benefit from its existence and prejudice by its destruction is said to have insurable interest in that property. Such a person can insure the property against fire.

The interest in the property must exist both at the inception as well as at the time of loss. If it does not exist at the commencement of the contract it cannot be the subject-matter of the insurance and if it does not exist at the time of the loss, he suffers no loss and needs no indemnity. Thus, where he sells the insured property and it is damaged by fire thereafter, he suffers no loss.

RISKS COVERED UNDER FIRE INSURANCE POLICY

The date of conclusion of a contract of insurance is issuance of the policy is different from the acceptance or assumption of risk. Section 64-VB only lays down broadly that the insurer cannot assume risk prior to the date of receipt of premium. Rule 58 of the Insurance Rules, 1939 speaks about advance payment of premiums in view of sub section (!) of Section 64 VB which enables the insurer to assume the risk from the date onwards. If the proposer did not desire a particular date, it was possible for the proposer to negotiate with insurer about that term. Precisely, therefore the Apex Court has said that final acceptance is that of the assured or the insurer depends simply on the way in which negotiations for insurance have progressed. Though the following are risks which seem to have covered Fire Insurance Policy but are not totally covered under the Policy. Some of contentious areas are as follows:

FIRE: Destruction or damage to the property insured by its own fermentation, natural heating or spontaneous combustion or its undergoing any heating or drying process cannot be treated as damage due to fire. For e.g., paints or chemicals in a factory undergoing heat treatment and consequently damaged by fire is not covered. Further, burning of property insured by order of any Public Authority is excluded from the scope of cover.

LIGHTNING : Lightning may result in fire damage or other types of damage, such as a roof broken by a falling chimney struck by lightning or cracks in a building due to a lightning strike. Both fire and other types of damages caused by lightning are covered by the policy.

AIRCRAFT DAMAGE: The loss or damage to property (by fire or otherwise) directly caused by aircraft and other aerial devices and/ or articles dropped there from is covered. However, destruction or damage resulting from pressure waves caused by aircraft traveling at supersonic speed is excluded from the scope of the policy.

RIOTS, STRIKES, MALICIOUS AND TERRORISM DAMAGES: The act of any person taking part along with others in any disturbance of public peace (other than war, invasion, mutiny, civil commotion etc.) is construed to be a riot, strike or a terrorist activity. Unlawful action would not be covered under the policy.

STORM, CYCLONE, TYPHOON, TEMPEST, HURRICANE, TORNADO, FLOOD and INUNDATION: Storm, Cyclone, Typhoon, Tempest, Tornado and Hurricane are all various types of violent natural disturbances that are accompanied by thunder or strong winds or heavy rainfall. Flood or Inundation occurs when the water rises to an abnormal level. Flood or inundation should not only be understood in the common sense of the terms, i.e., flood in river or lakes, but also accumulation of water due to choked drains would be deemed to be flood.

IMPACT DAMAGE: Impact by any Rail/ Road vehicle or animal by direct contact with the insured property is covered. However, such vehicles or animals should not belong to or owned by the insured or any occupier of the premises or their employees while acting in the course of their employment.

SUBSIDENCE AND LANDSLIDE INCULUDING ROCKSIDE: Destruction or damage caused by Subsidence of part of the site on which the property stands or Landslide/ Rockslide is covered. While Subsidence means sinking of land or building to a lower level, Landslide means sliding down of land usually on a hill.

However, normal cracking, settlement or bedding down of new structures; settlement or movement of made up ground; coastal or river erosion; defective design or workmanship or use of defective materials; and demolition, construction, structural alterations or repair of any property or ground-works or excavations, are not covered.

BURSTING AND/OR OVERFLOWING OF WATER TANKS, APPARATUS AND PIPES: Loss or damage to property by water or otherwise on account of bursting or accidental overflowing of water tanks, apparatus and pipes is covered.

MISSILE TESTING OPERATIONS: Destruction or damage, due to impact or otherwise from trajectory/ projectiles in connection with missile testing operations by the Insured or anyone else, is covered.

LEAKAGE FROM AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER INSTALLATIONS: Damage, caused by water accidentally discharged or leaked out from automatic sprinkler installations in the insured’s premises, is covered. However, such destruction or damage caused by repairs or alterations to the buildings or premises; repairs removal or extension of the sprinkler installation; and defects in construction known to the insured, are not covered.

BUSH FIRE: This covers damage caused by burning, whether accidental or otherwise, of bush and jungles and the clearing of lands by fire, but excludes destruction or damage, caused by Forest Fire.