Property and Casualty Insurance for Peace of Mind | SmartFinancial (2024)

Property and casualty (P&C) insurance is an umbrella term for various insurance products that protect your home, car or another type of asset against loss or damage. P&C insurance can cover you for personal liability in case you’re held responsible for another person's injuries or damages and losses to their property.

Since P&C insurance applies to drivers, homeowners, renters, business owners and more, you're bound to purchase a policy at some point in your life. This beginner's guide will break down the property and casualty insurance basics and the different types of coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Property insurance can insure physical items like your home, car, personal belongings or business equipment.
  • Casualty insurance refers to liability coverage that can help pay toward damages or your legal fees if you’re held responsible for another person’s injury or property damages.
  • Since there are so many types of policies under the P&C umbrella, scope in coverage, exclusions and cost will vary by policy.
  • Auto insurance is legally required in most states, while other types of policies like homeowners insurance and commercial property insurance are not required by law but instead by your mortgage company or lender.

On This Page

  • How Does Property and Casualty Insurance Work?
  • Types of Property and Casualty Insurance
  • What Does Property and Casualty Insurance Cover?
  • How Much Property and Casualty Insurance Do I Need?
  • How Much Does Property and Casualty Insurance Cost?
  • FAQs

Property and Casualty Insurance for Peace of Mind | SmartFinancial (8)

How Does Property and Casualty Insurance Work?

When you take out an insurance policy, you pay premiums to the insurance company in exchange for coverage against specific losses, like fire damage, theft and liability. Logistically, the purpose of paying premiums is to divide the risk among all the policyholders, thereby reducing the risk for everybody. That way, when you experience a covered loss, you can file an insurance claim to help pay for your damages.

Consider this (super) simplified example:

You're one of 1,000 auto insurance policyholders and you each paid a $1 premium. The insurance company now has $1,000 in premiums total. Now, let's say you get into a car accident and it costs $100 in repairs so you file a claim, which is approved. You paid only $1 but benefited from $100 in coverage because the risk and financial burden were shared among the 999 other policyholders.

Without insurance, many people would be crippled by the full financial burden of recovering after an incident.

P&C insurance gives people the means to recoup some of their losses (on covered claims) — drivers can offset the costs of repairing their vehicle after a car accident and business owners can pay for expensive legal fees if sued. However, keep in mind that many property insurance policies require that you meet a deductible before coverage kicks in. That means if you have a $500 deductible, you must pay that first and then your insurance company will pay toward the rest.

Fun fact: P&C insurance underwriting as we know today may have started as early as 1735 when the first fire insurance firm was formed, according to the Insurance Information Institute.[1] Beyond fire damage, today's insurance policies now protect against theft, natural disasters, vehicle collisions, injuries and more.

Types of Property and Casualty Insurance

Property and casualty coverage can vary by the type of insurance policy you carry. Below, we’ve summarized some common types of insurance.

Insurance Policy


Auto Insurance

Legally required in most states, auto insurance protects you and your vehicle against damages and liability after suffering an accident. Additional coverage can protect against theft, vandalism and more.

Home Insurance

Protects your home and personal belongings against covered perils, including fire and theft. Liability coverages would pay for damages or medical bills when somebody is injured while on your property.

Renters Insurance

Provides personal property coverage (e.g., your electronics, furniture). Liability coverage is often included, which would pay for property damages or medical bills if somebody is injured while inside your unit.

Condo Insurance

Pays for damages to the interior of your unit and medical payments for those injured while on your property.

Commercial Insurance

Can protect the company against various risks, including lawsuits, loss of income, business property damage, bodily injury, advertising injury, malpractice, negligence and more.

Landlord Insurance

Pays for damages and liability costs related to owned income-generating property. Coverage includes specific perils, like fire, and the landlord benefits from liability protection when a tenant is injured while on the property.

Umbrella Insurance

Provides additional liability coverage when the limits in your other insurance policies are insufficient. For example, if you’re liable in a car accident but don’t have enough coverage, umbrella insurance would pay toward the difference.

What Does Property and Casualty Insurance Cover?

Property-type losses that are commonly covered in a homeowners, condo and commercial property insurance policy include:

  • Fire and lightning
  • Windstorm and hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Damage by aircraft or vehicle
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects

Of course, the scope and type of coverage you get will largely depend on the type of policy you’ve purchased. For example, home insurance can uniquely cover damages resulting from a home appliance suddenly leaking, while auto can insure your car for damages resulting from a car accident. Machinery and inventory will be covered in a commercial property policy but not a home insurance policy.

In addition, certain policies will cover only certain types of liability losses. For example, auto insurance will cover you for liability for accidents that occur while you were driving your car, while commercial insurance covers third-party losses that can be traced back to your business activity.

What Isn’t Covered?

All insurance policies will carry exclusions, which are types of losses that are not covered by the insurance company. While these will vary by policy and carrier, the below types of losses will be excluded in many standard policies:

  • Intentional damages
  • Losses resulting from wear and tear or lack of maintenance
  • Floods and earthquakes
  • Fraudulent activity
  • Nuclear hazards
  • War
  • Pests and infestations
  • Mold

It should be noted that some of the losses listed above may be covered by purchasing a specific type of policy. For example, homeowners insurance excludes coverage for floods and earthquakes but it is possible to buy a standalone flood policy and standalone earthquake policy.

How Much Property and Casualty Insurance Do I Need?

The amount of P&C coverage you need to buy will largely depend on the value of the property you are insuring and your risk exposure. Using homeowners insurance as an example, you must buy enough dwelling coverage to rebuild your home if it is completely destroyed by a covered peril like a fire or windstorm. In addition, most policies come with a minimum of $100,000 in personal liability coverage but you may want to increase to around $300,000 to $500,000, especially if you have high-risk attractive nuisances on your property like a swimming pool or trampoline.[2]

How Much Does Property and Casualty Insurance Cost?

The cost you can expect to pay will change based on the type of P&C policy you are buying. For example, in 2020, homeowners paid $1,311 per year on average for homeowners insurance and drivers paid $1,176.18 for an auto policy with full coverage.[3][4] Meanwhile, renters insurance is relatively cheap, costing less than $15 per month on average.[3]

Actual rates will vary based on several risk factors, which will vary by the type of policy you’re buying. The cost of homeowners insurance, for instance, will consider your home’s rebuild cost, the condition of your roof and when it was built. Meanwhile, auto insurance prices are based on your driving record, the type of car you drive and your age.

How To Get P&C Insurance

Regardless of whichever type of casualty and property insurance policy you’re buying, it’s always a good idea to shop around before choosing a carrier. Insurance companies use different underwriting methodologies and by comparing at least three to five quotes, you may find that one carrier offers a cheaper quote than another for the same level of coverage. That said, price is just one factor and you should also look at reviews, customer satisfaction scores and financial ratings in your considerations.


Is property and casualty insurance required?

Some types of property and casualty insurance are legally required such as auto insurance for driving a car. Other types, like homeowners or renters insurance, may not be legally required but may be required by your mortgage company or your landlord.

Does P&C include life insurance?

Life insurance is generally not a type of P&C insurance since it is insuring your life and not your property or for liability.

What is an example of property and casualty insurance?

Examples of property and casualty insurance include auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance and commercial insurance.

What is the difference between property and casualty insurance?

Property insurance helps pay for your stuff when it's damaged or stolen, while casualty insurance provides liability coverage when you're involved in an accident where another person's body is injured or their property is damaged.

Why is it called casualty insurance?

Casualty insurance refers to injuries or deaths that you may be held liable for. If you’re legally or financially responsible for another person’s death or injury, certain types of casualty insurance can help pay for their legal or funeral fees and your legal fees if you are sued.


  1. Insurance Information Institute. “Brief History.” Accessed Nov. 29, 2023.
  2. Insurance Information Institute. “How Much Homeowners Insurance Do You Need?” Accessed Nov. 29, 2023.
  3. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Dwelling Fire, Homeowners Owner-Occupied, and Homeowners Tenant and Condominium/ Cooperative Unit Owner’s Insurance Report: Data for 2020,” Pages 28, 133. Accessed Nov. 29, 2023.
  4. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report,” Page 25. Accessed Nov. 29, 2023.

As an insurance expert with a deep understanding of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance landscape, I can provide valuable insights into the concepts discussed in the article. My expertise is grounded in years of industry experience and a comprehensive knowledge of insurance products and practices. Let's delve into the key points outlined in the article:

Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance Overview: Property and casualty insurance serve as a protective umbrella for various assets, including homes, cars, and personal belongings. It encompasses both property insurance, covering physical items, and casualty insurance, providing liability coverage for injuries or damages for which you may be held responsible.

How Does Property and Casualty Insurance Work? When you purchase an insurance policy, you pay premiums to the insurance company in exchange for coverage against specific losses such as fire damage, theft, and liability. The premiums are pooled to distribute the risk among policyholders, reducing the financial burden for individuals. This shared risk enables policyholders to file claims and receive coverage when facing covered losses.

Fun Fact: The roots of P&C insurance underwriting trace back to 1735 with the formation of the first fire insurance firm.

Types of Property and Casualty Insurance: The article outlines various types of insurance policies under the P&C umbrella:

  • Auto Insurance: Legally required and protects against damages and liability after accidents.
  • Home Insurance: Protects homes and personal belongings against covered perils.
  • Renters Insurance: Covers personal property and includes liability coverage for renters.
  • Condo Insurance: Pays for damages to the interior of condo units.
  • Commercial Insurance: Protects businesses against various risks, including lawsuits and property damage.
  • Landlord Insurance: Covers damages and liability costs related to income-generating properties.
  • Umbrella Insurance: Provides additional liability coverage when other policy limits are insufficient.

What Does Property and Casualty Insurance Cover? The coverage includes property-type losses like fire, theft, windstorm, and other perils. The scope depends on the specific policy purchased, such as homeowners insurance covering damages resulting from home appliances.

Exclusions in Property and Casualty Insurance: Insurance policies have exclusions, and common ones include intentional damages, wear and tear, floods, earthquakes, fraudulent activity, nuclear hazards, war, pests, and infestations.

Determining Coverage and Cost: The amount of coverage needed depends on the property value and risk exposure. Costs vary by policy type, with factors like home rebuild cost and driving record influencing prices for homeowners and auto insurance, respectively.

Getting Property and Casualty Insurance: It is advisable to shop around and compare quotes from different carriers. Factors such as underwriting methodologies, reviews, customer satisfaction, and financial ratings should be considered along with the price.

FAQs: The article addresses frequently asked questions, including the legal requirements for certain types of P&C insurance, the distinction between P&C and life insurance, examples of P&C insurance, and the origin of the term "casualty insurance."

In summary, property and casualty insurance form a crucial aspect of risk management, providing financial protection against a wide range of potential losses. Understanding the types, coverage, and considerations involved empowers individuals to make informed decisions when selecting P&C insurance policies.

Property and Casualty Insurance for Peace of Mind | SmartFinancial (2024)


What is the hardest insurance exam to pass? ›

Each insurance licensing exam presents its own challenge. Between Life and Health, students say that the Health insurance exam is the more difficult. Health insurance policies are simply more complicated than life insurance policies. The Property insurance exam is easier than the Casualty insurance exam.

What state has the hardest P&C exam? ›

In fact, the Nevada property and casualty exam has the highest pass score requirement, and is widely known as the most difficult exam to pass.

How to pass the NC property and casualty exam? ›

Try this:
  1. Go through the quizzes – just click pass the course material.
  2. Answer the same set of questions 3-5 times in a row. If you get an answer wrong, start the set over.
  3. Give yourself time. ...
  4. Try not to practice the night before.
  5. Get a good night's rest before your exam (keep in mind test times are as early as 8 am)

How to pass the Illinois property and casualty exam? ›

Passing the Illinois P&C license exam can prove challenging, but taking an exam prep course and following a good study program can help prepare you to pass on your first attempt. If you happen to fail the Illinois P&C insurance exam, you can retake the exam and pass both sections within 90 days of your first attempt.

Is property and casualty harder than life and Health? ›

I personally thought that the Life and Health test was harder than the Real Estate Exam. If you're interested in joining the insurance industry, I would recommend starting with property and casualty, then moving into life and health. Of the three, I felt that it was the easiest to pass.

What is the hardest part of being an insurance agent? ›

An agent who is only out to earn a commission, regardless of the needs of the client, is not likely to last long in the business. Agents and brokers who listen carefully to what their clients and prospects say will be able to earn their trust, which is the hardest part of their job.

What is the passing score for the P&C license in California? ›

After you finish your prelicensing course, you are now ready to take the state licensing exam. You must score 60% or higher to pass your state licensing exam.

What is the pass rate for the Series 7? ›

The Series 7 license pass rate is around 65%. How hard is it to pass Series 7? Yes. The test is difficult, so you need to make sure you are fully prepared before you take it.

Is the Florida P&C exam hard? ›

The Property and Casualty insurance licensing exam is challenging. It requires hard work and effort to prepare, but by following these study tips, you should be well on your way to passing the exam on the first try. It's also helpful to learn what to expect on exam day.

How much does it cost to get a property and casualty license in NC? ›

In North Carolina, you must apply online via the NIPR. The fee for an online application is $50 per line of authority ($100 for both property and casualty) plus an $82 application fee, the $38 fingerprinting fee, and a $5.60 NIPR transaction fee for a total cost of $225.60.

What are personal lines in insurance? ›

Personal Lines are property/casualty insurance products that are designed for and bought by individuals, including homeowners and automobile policies. Personal Lines is also offered as a license through the California Department of Insurance.

How to pass the insurance exam in NC? ›

Read every chapter and take the end-of-chapter quiz with a minimum score of 70%. Chapters must be taken in order. State rules impose a maximum number of 8 hours of study per day. Complete and pass the Certificate Exam with a score of 70% or better with a proctor/disinterested third party present.

How many questions is the P&C exam in Texas? ›

The Texas General Lines Property and Casualty exam has 150 questions.

How many times can you take the property and casualty exam in Georgia? ›

There is no limit on the number of attempts a candidate can take the same exam. However, candidates taking an online examination are allowed only two attempts per exam. All subsequent examination attempts will have to be taken at a Pearson VUE testing center. There are no exceptions to this rule.

How hard is the Georgia property and casualty exam? ›

Passing the Georgia P&C license exam can prove challenging, but taking an exam prep course and following a good study program can help prepare you to pass on your first attempt.

What is the Series 65 pass rate? ›

The Series 65 exam is a North American Securities Administrators Exam that's administered by FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The Series 65 pass rate is typically around 65%-70%, underscoring the importance of proper study and preparation beforehand.

What is the pass rate for the Series 66? ›

The Series 66 is difficult since it covers a wide breadth of detailed material. The official pass rates for the Series 66 exam are not officially published; however, test prep programs estimate the pass rate to be around 65% to 70% of test takers.

How to pass an insurance medical exam? ›

How to prepare for a life insurance medical exam
  1. Eat healthy. During the life insurance physical, the examiner will take a blood sample for testing and he or she will check your blood pressure and pulse. ...
  2. Drink water. ...
  3. Consider fasting. ...
  4. Skip the gym. ...
  5. Get a good night's sleep. ...
  6. Wear lightweight clothing.


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