Insurance can best be defined as an agreement between two or more parties (the insured(s) and the insurer) whereby the insurer agrees to assume the risk of a financial loss sustained by the insured(s). The insured(s) pay(s) consideration, usually money, to the insurer for the assumption of the risk.
Insurance is based upon the principle of indemnity such that the insured(s) are made financially whole for the loss sustained. The responsibilities of the parties, including the amount payable by the insurer are usually set forth in a written document called an insurance policy.
Casualty insurance is sometimes referred to as "property and casualty insurance". It is a broad term that encompasses kinds of insurance that do not fall squarely into other categories. It includes property insurance, such as the homeowners insurance, professional liability insurance, and both the collision and liability portions of an automobile insurance policy. Casualty insurance is found in both personal and commercial settings.
Health insurance refers to insurance contracts that pay medical/hospital charges resulting from illness or injury. Coverage is triggered when the insured incurs those charges for reasons not excluded by the policy.
Health insurance is presently medically underwritten, meaning that whether, and at what premium an applicant will be issued a policy depends, in part, upon his/her health.
There is currently under discussion in the United States a form of nationalized health insurance under which benefits will be paid from tax dollars. Most jurisdictions have limited insurers' power to deny issuance of policies based upon certain pre-existing conditions.
A premium is the amount of money paid for an insurance policy.
The premium paid is a multiple of the "rate", which is the cost per $100 of coverage. The rate is based upon risk factors related to the kind of coverage involved (such as the make and model of a car and the driver of it).
Insurance regulators approve/disapprove rates to ensure that they are not inadequate, excessive nor unreasonably discriminatory. They are especially concerned that the insurer charges a sufficient rate so that it collects enough money to be able to pay claims as they are incurred.
Life insurance is insurance on human lives.
It is a "valued policy" meaning that the amount payable by the insurer is determined at the inception of the policy. The contingency that triggers the insurer's duty to pay is the death of the insured for a reason that is not excluded by the policy.
It is medically underwritten meaning that whether a policy will be issued to an applicant, and at what premium, depends in part upon the health of the applicant. Proceeds of a life insurance policy are paid upon the insured's death to beneficiaries designated by the policy owner.