what are insurance premiums

Everyone understands that insurance is expensive, but one phrase that may be unfamiliar when you first begin shopping for insurance is “premium.” Insurance premiums are typically the amount paid by an individual (or a corporation) for policies that provide auto, house, healthcare, or life insurance coverage.

What are Insurance Premiums?

An insurance premium is the amount you pay for insurance coverage. Simply explained, premiums are the amounts of money paid to insurance companies in exchange for coverage. As a result, when you hear the term “insurance premium,” think “insurance price.”

Premiums are often paid monthly, semiannually, or annually, depending on the policy. Premium companies will occasionally provide you with a little discount if you bundle your plans or pay your premiums annually.

The cost of your premium is determined by the type of insurance you purchase, which could be life, renters, auto, or homeowners. You may also be required to pay an insurance deductible, which is the amount you pay before the insurer begins to reimburse the costs of a claim.

Types of Insurance Premiums

#1. Car Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance premiums are frequently depending on your age, driving record, claims history, vehicle, and the quantity of coverage you purchase.

In general, full coverage insurance, which covers liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance, has the highest premiums. According to NerdWallet’s auto insurance rates investigation, a full coverage car insurance policy costs $1,630 per year on average for good drivers with good credit. A driver with the same background would, on average, pay $561 for basic auto insurance.

When shopping for coverage, compare auto insurance quotes to discover the best deal.

#2. Life Insurance Premiums

When calculating life insurance premiums, insurers often consider your age and medical history. Other factors that influence the pricing include your credit history, the amount of coverage you purchase, and your work status. According to Quotacy data, the average cost of life insurance is $27 per month for a 20-year, $500,000 term life policy for a 40-year-old.

Permanent policies, such as whole life insurance, are the most expensive of the many types of life insurance since they provide coverage for the rest of your life. Term life insurance, on the other hand, covers a specific length of time, such as 10 or 20 years.

#3. Renters Insurance Premiums

According to NerdWallet’s renters’ rates investigation, renters insurance premiums average $14 per month. In most jurisdictions, the cost of your premiums is determined by particular factors such as the value of your goods, if the building has a burglar alarm, and your credit score. Before purchasing coverage, compare renters insurance quotes.

#4. Homeowners Insurance Premiums

According to a NerdWallet rates analysis, the average homeowners’ insurance premium is $1,765 per year. Homeowners’ insurance premiums are determined by a number of criteria, including the location and value of the building, your credit score in most jurisdictions, your claims history, and the amount of coverage you wish to purchase.

What Factors Influence Insurance Premiums?

Four major elements normally affect an insurance premium:

#1. Coverage Type

When you acquire an insurance policy from an insurance company, you have several alternatives. The more your insurance premium may be, the more coverage you obtain or the more comprehensive coverage you select.

When comparing home insurance premiums, for example, open peril or all-risk coverage home insurance policy will be more expensive than a named perils home insurance policy that simply covers the fundamentals.

#2. The Amount of Coverage and the Cost of Your Insurance Premium

If you buy life insurance, car insurance, health insurance, or any other type of insurance, you will always pay a larger premium (more money) for more coverage.

This can be done in two ways. The first method is simple, while the second is a little more involved yet effective in lowering your insurance premiums:

The financial amount you want to insure can change the quantity of coverage you have. Insuring a house for $250,000 is not the same as insuring a house for $500,000. It’s fairly simple: the higher the dollar amount you wish to insure, the higher the premium.

If you choose insurance with a higher deductible, you can pay less for the same level of coverage. For example, you can save up to 25% on home insurance by raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000. Higher deductibles or plans with alternative options, such as higher co-pays or longer waiting periods, are available in the case of health insurance or supplemental health policies.

#3. Insurance Policy Applicant’s Personal Information

Your insurance history, where you reside, and other aspects of your life are all considered when calculating the insurance premium that will be charged. Each insurance company will have its own set of rating criteria.

Some businesses employ insurance scores, which are established by a variety of personal criteria ranging from credit score to auto accident frequency, personal claims history, and even vocation. These criteria frequently translate into insurance policy premium cuts.

Other risk variables particular to the person being insured, such as age and health issues, will also be considered when purchasing life insurance.

Insurance firms, like any other business, have target customers. To remain competitive, insurance companies will assess the type of clients they want to attract and then devise programs or discounts to attract those clients.

For example, one insurance firm may determine that it wants to attract seniors or retirees as customers, but another may set premiums to appeal to young families or millennials.

#4. Insurance Industry Competition and Target Market

If an insurance firm decides to actively pursue a market niche, it may diverge from standard rates to attract new business. This is an intriguing aspect of insurance premiums since it has the potential to substantially alter rates either temporarily or permanently if the insurance firm is successful and achieves good outcomes in the market.

Who Determines Insurance Premiums?

Every insurance firm employs people who specialize in various aspects of risk assessment.

For example, actuaries work for insurance companies to determine:

  • The likelihood of dangers and risks
  • The costs involved with a disaster or claim, and actuaries then construct forecasts and standards based on this information.

Using the calculations, actuaries predict how much it will cost to pay claims as well as how much money the insurance company should collect in order to ensure that it has enough money to pay prospective claims while also making a profit.

The information provided by the actuaries aids in the development of underwriting. To underwrite the risk, underwriters are given instructions, and one of the tasks is to establish the premium.

The insurance firm determines the price of the insurance contract it is selling.

What Is the Insurance Company’s Policy on Insurance Premiums?

The insurance firm must receive premiums from many people and ensure that enough of that money is saved in liquid assets to fulfill the claims of a few.

The insurance company will collect your premium and save it for each year you do not file a claim. The company will be profitable if it collects more money than it pays in claim fees, operational costs, and other expenses.


Earned premium is the portion of the entire premium that an insurance company can declare as revenue on its income statement based on the duration of the policy and how much of the term has elapsed.

What Is an Actuary?

An actuary evaluates and controls the risks associated with financial investments, insurance policies, and other potentially hazardous undertakings. Actuaries use probability, economic theory, and computer science to estimate financial risks in specific scenarios. Most actuaries work for insurance businesses, where their risk-management skills come in handy when assessing risk levels and premium pricing for a certain insurance policy.

Why Do Insurance Premiums Vary?

An insurance firm may not need to raise insurance premiums during lucrative years. If an insurance business sustains more claims and losses than expected during a less lucrative year, it may have to reevaluate its insurance premium structure and re-evaluate the risk elements in what it insures. In such instances, premiums may rise.

Insurance Premium Adjustment and Rate Increase Examples

Have you ever talked to a friend who was covered with one insurance company and heard them brag about their fantastic rates, only to compare it to your own experience with the same company’s costs and found them to be drastically different? This could occur due to a variety of personal circumstances, discounts, or regional factors, as well as the insurance company’s competition or loss experience.

For example, if insurance company actuaries review a specific area one year and determine that it has a low-risk factor and only charges very low premiums that year, but then by the end of the year they see an increase in crime, a major disaster, high losses, or claims payouts, they will review their results and change the premium they charge for that area in the following year. As a result, rates in that area will rise. The insurance firm must do this in order to remain in business. People in that neighborhood may then shop elsewhere.

People may switch insurance companies if premiums in that location are raised above what they were previously. As the insurance business loses clients in that area who are unwilling to pay the premium it wants to charge for what it has assessed to be the risk, the insurance company’s profitability or loss ratios would likely decline.

Fewer claims and adequate premium prices for the risks allow the insurance firm to keep its target clients’ costs affordable.

How to Get the Lowest Insurance Premiums

Finding the insurance company that is most interested in insuring you is the key to receiving the lowest insurance premium.

When an insurance company’s prices suddenly rise, it’s always worth asking your agent whether there’s anything you can do to lower the premium.

If the insurance company refuses to reduce the premium it charges you, shopping around may result in a lower price. It will also provide you with a better picture of the average insurance cost for your specific risk.

Inquiring with your insurance representative or an insurance professional about the reasons for your premium increases, as well as whether there are any opportunities to obtain discounts or reduce insurance premium costs, will help you understand whether you are in a position to obtain a better price and how to do so.

What Do Insurers Do With the Premiums?

The premiums that are paid to insurers by their clients and policyholders are put toward covering the liabilities that are linked with the policies that the insurers underwrite. Some insurance companies choose to invest the premium money in order to increase their returns. These companies are able to offset some of the costs associated with providing insurance coverage, which in turn assists insurers in maintaining pricing that is competitive within the market.

How Are Insurance Premiums Paid?

In most cases, insurance companies will accept payments for premiums in the form of installments, which can be made on a monthly or semi-annual basis. On the other hand, there are certain insurance firms that demand that you pay the total cost of the policy in one lump sum at the beginning of each year in the form of an annual payment. These payments can typically be made online in the modern era; however, they can also be made via a traditional check. If you are purchasing insurance through your place of employment, the company may pay for all or a portion of the premiums on your behalf. There is also the option of having your donations deducted from your paycheck.

How Can You Lower Your Car Insurance Premium?

The higher the deductible on your auto insurance policy, the lower your monthly cost will be. Call your automobile insurance provider and have a conversation with them about the various ways in which you might be able to reduce the amount you pay for your monthly premium. It is possible that it would be good to shop around and receive quotations from a variety of different companies.

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Your Insurance Premium?

If you do not pay your insurance premium, your insurance provider could stop your coverage. This might occur if you don’t pay your insurance premiums on time, whether it be for your vehicle insurance, your health insurance, your life insurance, or another type of insurance. There may be a grace period during which you can make up any missed payments on your premium before your coverage is terminated.

Insurance Premiums FAQs

What are the 4 major elements of insurance premium?

A quantifiable risk, a fortuitous event, an insurable interest, risk shifting, and risk distribution are the factors.

How often do you pay an insurance premium?

Premiums are commonly paid monthly, every six months, or once a year.

What is a benefit premium?

Premium – Agreed-upon costs paid for medical benefits coverage for a set period of time. Premiums might be paid by companies, unions, or employees, or they can be split by the covered person and the plan sponsor.


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