Insurance History Introduction

Insurance as we know it today can be traced to the Great Fire of London, which in 1666 devoured 13,200 houses. In the aftermath of this disaster, Nicholas Barbon opened an office to insure buildings. In 1680, he established England's first fire insurance company, "The Fire Office," to insure brick and frame homes.
The first insurance company in the United States underwrote fire insurance and was formed in Charles Town (modern-day Charleston), South Carolina, in 1732.
Benjamin Franklin helped to popularize and make standard the practice of insurance, particularly against fire in the form of perpetual insurance. In 1752, he founded the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. Franklin's company was the first to make contributions toward fire prevention. Not only did his company warn against certain fire hazards, it refused to insure certain buildings where the risk of fire was too great, such as all wooden houses

Car or Auto Insurance Defined

Automobile or Car insurance, is probably the most common form of insurance and may cover both legal liability claims against the driver and loss of or damage to the insured's vehicle itself. Throughout most of the United States an auto insurance policy is required to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. In some jurisdictions, bodily injury compensation for automobile accident victims has been changed to a no fault system, which reduces or eliminates the ability to sue for compensation but provides automatic eligibility for benefits.

Property or Homeowners Insurance Defined

Property or Homeowners Insurance, provides protection against risks to property, such as fire, theft or weather damage. This includes specialized forms of insurance such as fire insurance, flood insurance, earthquake insurance, home insurance, inland marine insurance or boiler insurance.

Life Insurance Defined

Life insurance provides a monetary benefit to a decedent's family or other designated beneficiary, and may specifically provide for burial, funeral and other final expenses. Life insurance policies often allow the option of having the proceeds paid to the beneficiary either in a lump sum cash payment or an annuity.

Health Insurance Defined

A health insurance policy is a legal, binding contract between the insurance company and the customer. The largest difference between private sector health insurance and life insurance is that for life insurance, a person may purchase guaranteed renewable insurance for the whole of the insured's life at a constant premium rate, while health insurance is generally purchased year by year with generally no assurance of renewability and if renewable no guarantee that premium rates will not increase.

This is a consumer assistance web site designed to help the average consumer become more educated on their insurance policies as well as insurance needs.

Consumer Insurance Resources