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To mitigate the risk of loss, people purchase insurance policies from a company. When buying a policy, the person agrees to pay a premium, which is small, regular payment based on the losses that may occur. If the insurance provider determines there is a greater chance of risk as compared to the average policy, the premium is usually higher. Premiums are often paid monthly, and can add up over time up to be greater than the expense of replacing the insured item.
Many types of insurance only cover a certain amount of risk on an item. The amount the policyholder must pay before an insurance policy begins covering an expense is called the deductible. In the event of damage or loss to whatever the policy covers, the policyholder is responsible for the deductible no matter what. If the cost of damage or loss is less than the deductible amount, the insurance company does not pay anything. If the cost is greater than the deductible, the policyholder only pays the deductible, while the insurance pays the rest. Generally, the deductible amount is related to your premium, with a higher deductible usually requiring a lower premium, and vice-versa.
Selecting the right insurance involves careful research and evaluating many different options for coverage. This is why many people use an insurance agent to assist with making the right choice depending on their needs and financial situation. Agents often interview potential or current clients to get an idea of which insurance policies would benefit them the most. Based on their needs and individual risk, agents can often give potential customers a quote, which serves as a cost estimate for a specific policy. This is only a rough idea of what the policy will cost, because evaluating the risk associated with a given customer can take time. Insurance companies often compile an insurance score to quantify the risk an individual poses and calculate premiums accordingly. Credit scores play a major role in insurance scores, but past insurance-claim history is also taken into account.
While agents often specialize in a particular category of insurance, some sell several different types of insurance. Agents can work for a larger insurance company or operate independently, selling policies from several different insurers.