There are many types of insurance companies, ranging from those that specialize in automotive or home to those focusing on life or long-term medical care. Understanding the difference in types can be useful to help you determine which one to contact. Generally, there are two main types of insurance companies: those that sell life insurance and related products and those that sell non-life, which includes automotive, health, boat and similar products.
Life Insurance Companies
Life insurance companies sell a premium to pay out a specified amount to a person’s beneficiaries. A term life policy covers only a specified number of years and will pay only if the insured dies during that time. A permanent life policy will build a cash value and pay the benefit when the insured dies, with no time-limit stipulation. Some of the largest life insurance companies include Prudential, Mutual of Omaha and MetLife. New York Life is the largest life insurer in the U.S.
Auto Insurance Companies
These companies provide basic or advanced auto insurance, depending on your state’s requirements. A premium is paid to the company usually every six months. Auto insurance companies might also cover boats or motorcycles. As a policyholder, you might deal directly with an insurance company or with an agent who represents several different companies. Some of the leading automotive insurance companies are State Farm, Allstate, Farmers and Progressive.
Health Care Companies
Companies such as Aetna and Blue Cross offer a variety of health insurance to meet most needs. Whether you need individual or family coverage, usually your best choice is the plan offered through your employer. The employer is not the insurer, so you typically deal directly with the company or plan that writes the program.
Homeowners and Renters Insurance
A company dealing with homeowners insurance offers financial repayment for loss of your home, or portion thereof, due to damage caused by fire or falling trees, for example. Some of these companies also offer flood or earthquake coverage under a separate policy with its own premium. State Farm and Farmers are two of the nation’s largest homeowner insurers.
Disability Insurance Companies
If you have an agent you work with now for life or homeowners insurance, ask him about disability insurance. If he doesn’t sell that product, chances are he can recommend a reputable agent. Disability insurance may pay benefits to you if you are unable to work due to an illness or accident. American General, Assurity and The Hartford are three of the largest disability insurance companies.