self-insure

verb \ ˌself-in-ˈshu̇r , -in-ˈshər- \
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of self-insure

: to insure oneself; especially : to practice self-insurance

self-insurer

play \-ˌselfˈshu̇r-ər, -in-ˈshər-\ noun

First Known Use of self-insure

1932


Financial Definition of SELF-INSURE

self-insure

What It Is

To self-insure means to use one's own money to pay for unexpected losses (rather than insurance).

How It Works

Let's say John Doe owns a restaurant. He buys property and casualty insurance that only covers claims over $100,000. Any losses below that are John's to deal with. John figures that smaller losses are so unlikely and infrequent that it's cheaper to pay for the losses when they happen instead of sending an insurance company money every month. Thus, we might say John self-insures below $100,000.

Many companies choose to self-insure their employees, meaning they don't rely on insurance companies to pay for the claims.

Why It Matters

People and companies most often choose to self-insure when they are reasonably certain that certain losses are unlikely and/or less expensive to deal with than paying to insure against those losses.

Self-insurance is one way to explain why retirees generally need less life insurance than, say, people in their 30s: A young family that loses a breadwinner is far more financially devastated than a retired couple that would face little or no income loss if one person dies.


Law Dictionary

self-insure

transitive verb self-in·sure \ ˌself-in-ˈshu̇r \

legal Definition of self-insure

: to insure by self-insurance (as in workers' compensation)
  • an employer wishing to self-insure its liability
  • Pennsylvania Statutes
intransitive verb
: to use self-insurance
  • a governmental agency that self-insures

self-insurer

noun

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