Eli5: If an insurance company is willing to sell you insurance, does that mean the insurance company is expecting to make profit and therefore you will make a loss and should not take up insurance?

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Eli5: If an insurance company is willing to sell you insurance, does that mean the insurance company is expecting to make profit and therefore you will make a loss and should not take up insurance?

In: Economics

It’s more about shared cost. If 15 people buy it and only 2 people end up needing the insurance to pay out, the company makes the profit of 15 premiums – 2 claims (very rough math). The profit on their end is based on the idea that (1) more people will buy it than will need payouts each year and (2) everyone won’t need payouts at the same time.

An insurance company needs to make profit to stay afloat financially, but how they make profit is by spreading your risk. You might pay $1000/year to insure a house you own 30 years, and if you have no loss, you’re only out $30,000. If you have a fire, but no insurance, you could be out for the whole cost of the house. So, by spreading your risk among all the insured, it limits the amount you could lose.

Insurance is about spreading the risk and cost. If yo have 1/100,000 chance of needing to pay $100k, you pay insurance so you can not have to come up with $100k when you need it. Like of you were involved in a traffic accident, or needed a major surgery. The insurance company of course sets the rates so its profitable

The insurance company expects to make a profit on insuring thousands or more of you. It will take a loss on tens to a hundred or more in that thousand, but overall make a profit. It may even take a loss overall in a given year but make it up over any N year period.

You are free to not buy insurance but could have an issue if your loss is say a year or more in wages. For instance, it is unlikely a tornado will totally destroy your house. However if it does, can you afford to rebuild without insurance? The insurance company can afford to rebuild because tens of thousands of people bought insurance and only 10 people got hit by the tornado.

It’s not about you making a profit or loss — it’s about being protected from something catastrophic. Yes, the average person will pay 10% more in premiums than they see in claims benefits over their lifespan, but you’re protecting yourself from your house burning down, a car accident that totals your car and other while causing injuries, from getting cancer or needing an organ transplant which each might cost the insurance company many times what you’ve paid them.