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Mental accounting, access motives, and overinsurance

Listed author(s):
  • Fels, Markus

People exercising mental accounting have an additional motive for buying insurance. They perceive a risk of having insufficient funds available to self-insure. In this way insurance protects the consumption value of the insured asset beyond the expenditure to acquire/replace it. This complements previous approaches based on probability weighting and loss aversion to explain the high profitability of warranties and an aversion toward deductibles. It helps to account for why the value of a warranty is found to be positively related to the value of the product and why there is seemingly contradictory empirical evidence on how household income affects demand for warranties. The adapted model rationalizes a strong aversion to deductibles, and explains the observed sensitivity of this aversion to the insurance context. Finally, it predicts a strong impact of how an insurer pays out benefits on the value and cost of insurance. This can explain both the evidence on strong deductible aversion for flood insurance and the lack of such evidence for long-term care insurance.

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File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/110623/1/826353096.pdf
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Paper provided by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 69.

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Date of creation: 2015
Handle: RePEc:zbw:kitwps:69
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.wiwi.kit.edu/

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  1. Levon Barseghyan & Francesca Molinari & Ted O'Donoghue & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2013. "The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2499-2529, October.
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  8. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
  9. Levon Barseghyan & Jeffrey Prince & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2011. "Are Risk Preferences Stable across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 591-631, April.
  10. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Finkelstein, Amy, 2007. "Why is the market for long-term care insurance so small?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 1967-1991, November.
  11. Tao Chen & Ajay Kalra & Baohong Sun, 2009. "Why Do Consumers Buy Extended Service Contracts?," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(4), pages 611-623, December.
  12. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-154, January.
  13. Justin Sydnor, 2010. "(Over)insuring Modest Risks," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 177-199, October.
  14. Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan & Carolyn Kousky, 2010. "Come Rain or Shine: Evidence on Flood Insurance Purchases in Florida," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(2), pages 369-397.
  15. Justine Hastings & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2012. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice: Evidence from Commodity Price Shocks," NBER Working Papers 18248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
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