What is a Policyholder in Insurance? Everything You Need to Know

In the simplest terms, the policyholder is the person or entity that owns the insurance policy.

The person or group who buys the insurance is the policyholder.

They have to pay for it and make important choices about what it covers.

The policyholder also has a contract with the insurance company that explains what they can do and what they are responsible for.

Table of Content

Text stating "Policyholder: The owner of an insurance policy."

Key Takeaways:

  • The policyholder is the owner of an insurance policy.
  • Policyholders are responsible for paying premiums to maintain coverage.
  • Policyholders have the authority to make changes to their insurance policy.

Who is the Policyholder on an Insurance Policy?

The policyholder is the person who owns the insurance policy. They can make changes to the policy, such as adjusting the coverage amount or adding more insured individuals. This role involves several key responsibilities:

  • Paying Premiums: The policyholder must ensure that premium payments are on time to keep the policy active.
  • Making Coverage Decisions: They decide on the types and amounts of coverage to include in the policy.
  • Updating Information: It's important to keep your insurance information up-to-date. This means making changes if you have new people driving your car or if you move to a new house. This will help make sure that your policy covers everything it needs to.

Policyholder vs. Insured: Who is "the Insured"?

It is crucial to differentiate between the policyholder and the insured, as these terms are often confused:

  • Policyholder: The individual or entity that owns the policy.
  • Insured: The person(s) who the policy covers.
    When you have car insurance, you call the person who owns the car the policyholder. But, you can also include other people in the insurance, such as the policyholder's spouse and children if they also drive the car.

Who is the Policyholder on Group Insurance Plans?

In group insurance plans, like the ones employers offer, the person who has the insurance is usually the employer or group that gives it. The insured individuals are the employees or members covered under this group plan. The company or group pays for the insurance and takes care of managing it, but members can still make some changes if they need to.

Policyholder vs. Insurance Subscriber

The terms "policyholder" and "subscriber" are both used but they refer to the same concept. Both terms describe the person or entity that owns the insurance policy and handles its upkeep and management.

Policyholder vs. Beneficiary

It's important to know the difference between a policyholder and a beneficiary, especially when it comes to life insurance.

  • Policyholder: Owns and manages the policy, pays the premiums, and makes coverage decisions.
  • Beneficiary: Receives the benefits from the policy, such as the death benefit in a life insurance policy.

When someone has insurance, the beneficiary is not the same as the person who bought it. But if something happens, they will get benefits from the insurance.

Policyholders for Different Types of Insurance

Auto Insurance Policyholders

As the owner of a car insurance policy, it is your job to choose what types of coverage you want. These can include liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. You also need to decide how much coverage you want for each type. Ensure that you list all drivers of the vehicle on the policy and that they are responsible for updating any relevant information.

Homeowners Insurance

A homeowners insurance policyholder owns the property covered by the policy. This insurance protects your home, belongings, and you if something happens on your property.

Renters Insurance

For renters insurance, the policyholder is the tenant renting the property. This type of insurance covers personal property and liability but does not include coverage for the structure itself.

Life Insurance

In the context of life insurance, the policyholder owns the policy and pays the premiums. Upon their death, the designated beneficiaries receive the death benefit specified in the policy.

Coverage Needs for Policyholders

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage keeps you safe from having to pay for any injuries or damage that someone says you caused. This coverage is fundamental for both auto and homeowners insurance policies.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP covers medical expenses and lost wages for the policyholder and passengers in the event of an accident, regardless of fault. The availability and requirements for PIP vary by state.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage handles non-collision-related damages, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. Auto insurance is important because it helps keep your car safe from many different dangers.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is a type of insurance that helps pay for damage to your car if you get into an accident with another car or object. It is important to have this kind of coverage so that you can fix or get a new car if you have an accident.


A policyholder is the person or group that owns an insurance policy, pays the premiums, and has the right to make changes to the policy. Understanding this role is crucial for navigating the world of insurance and ensuring you have the right coverage for your needs. For more insight into how this concept interacts with others, see our detailed guide on beneficiary, which further explores the individuals or entities designated to receive benefits from an insurance policy.

Policyholder FAQ

What is the difference between a policyholder and an insured?

A policyholder is the person or entity that owns and manages the insurance policy, while an insured is the person or property covered by the policy's benefits. In many cases, the policyholder and the insured are the same person, but in some situations, they may be different. For example, a parent might be the policyholder for their child's health insurance policy.

Can a policyholder change the beneficiaries on their policy?

Yes, policyholders typically have the right to change the beneficiaries on their insurance policy. Beneficiaries are the individuals or entities designated to receive the policy's benefits in the event of the insured's death or another covered event. It's essential to keep beneficiary designations up-to-date to ensure the policy's benefits go to the intended recipients.