On the preference for full-coverage policies: Why do people buy too much insurance?
One of the most intriguing questions in insurance is the preference of consumers for low or zero deductible insurance policies. This stands in sharp contrast to a theorem proved by Mossin [Mossin, J. (1968). Aspects of rational insurance purchasing. Journal of Political Economy, 76, 553-568], that under quite common assumptions when the price of insurance is higher than its actuarial value, then full coverage is not optimal. We show in a series of experiments that amateur subjects tend to underestimate the value of a policy with a deductible and that the degree of underestimation increases with the size of the deductible. We hypothesize that this tendency is caused by the anchoring heuristic. In particular, in pricing a policy with a deductible subjects first consider the price of a full-coverage policy. Then they anchor on the size of the deductible and subtract it from the price of the full-coverage policy. However, they do not adjust the price enough upward to take into account the fact that there is only a small chance that the deductible will be applied toward their payments. We also show that professionals in the field of insurance are less prone to such a bias. This implies that a policy with a deductible priced according to the true expected payments may seem "overpriced" to the insured and therefore may not be purchased. Since the values of full-coverage policies are not underestimated the insured may find them as relatively better "deals".
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2004.
"For Better or for Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior,"
in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 81-126
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "For Better or For Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior," JCPR Working Papers 256, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "For Better or For Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 8651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 2002. "How Much Is Investor Autonomy Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1593-1616, 08.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Wakker, P.P. & Thaler, R.H. & Tversky, A., 1997. "Probabilistic insurance," Discussion Paper 1997-35, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- W. Viscusi & Richard Zeckhauser, 2006.
"National survey evidence on disasters and relief: Risk beliefs, self-interest, and compassion,"
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,
Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 13-36, September.
- W. Kip Viscusi & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2006. "National Survey Evidence on Disasters and Relief: Risk Beliefs, Self-Interest, and Compassion," NBER Working Papers 12582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985.
"The equity premium: A puzzle,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
- Johnson, Eric J, et al, 1993. " Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-51, August.
- Michael Braun & Alexander Muermann, 2004. "The Impact of Regret on the Demand for Insurance," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 71(4), pages 737-767.
- Rajnish Mehra & Edward C. Prescott, 2003.
"The Equity Premium in Retrospect,"
NBER Working Papers
9525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:reg:rpubli:435 is not listed on IDEAS
- George Wu & John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006.
"The uncertainty effect: When a risky prospect is valued less than its worst possible outcome,"
Framed Field Experiments
00152, The Field Experiments Website.
- Uri Gneezy & John A List & George Wu, 2006. "The Uncertainty Effect: When a Risky Prospect Is Valued Less Than Its Worst Possible Outcome," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1283-1309, November.
- Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Reference points, anchors, norms, and mixed feelings," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 296-312, March.
- Wakker, Peter P & Thaler, Richard H & Tversky, Amos, 1997. "Probabilistic Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 7-28, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:29:y:2008:i:5:p:747-761. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.