What is Prepaid Insurance? F&A Glossary

The most common examples of prepaid expenses are insurance expense, rent expense, and supplies expense. Some prepaid cards offer no recourse whatsoever if the issuer tanks or in cases of fraud or theft, unlike credit cards and bank debit cards. For example, assume ABC Company purchases insurance for the upcoming twelve month period. ABC Company will initially book the full $120,000 as a debit to prepaid insurance, an asset on the balance sheet, and a credit to cash.

  • Using cards generally offers more security than carrying large amounts of cash.
  • For recording transactions relating to prepaid insurance, it is necessary to understand how to create journal entries and adjust prepaid insurance accounts to reveal the correct balance.
  • An in-force illustration provides an update to these projections after the policy has been in effect for at least a year.
  • This is because each month represents one-twelfth of the coverage period.

Therefore, it can be said that prepaid insurance is both a debit and credit, depending on whether it is recognized as an asset or an expense. Prepaid insurance’s purpose is to ensure that business operations remain protected, and keeping track of prepaid insurance payments and expenses is essential to the business’s smooth running. Being aware of the adjustments that occur in prepaid insurance account ensures that a business records accurate financial statements and adheres to accounting rules. The adjusting journal entry for a prepaid expense, however, does affect both a company’s income statement and balance sheet. The adjusting entry on January 31 would result in an expense of $10,000 (rent expense) and a decrease in assets of $10,000 (prepaid rent).

Overview of Prepaid Insurance

As the policy is consumed from month to month, the policy’s value for those months will be recorded as a credit, and the entries in the two columns will eventually cancel out or total zero. The most important calculation regarding prepaid insurance reflects the unexpired portion of the policy. Prepaid insurance is important because a business should correctly record all of its transactions and resources to have accurate financial statements. A prepaid asset is a type of asset that has economic value to the business because of its future benefit. Whether you’re new to F&A or an experienced professional, sometimes you need a refresher on common finance and accounting terms and their definitions.

Unlike conventional expenses, the business will receive something of value from the prepaid expense over the course of several accounting periods. The initial journal entry for prepaid rent is a debit to prepaid rent and a credit to cash. To recognize the expense, the accountant will debit the insurance expense account and credit the prepaid insurance account. This means that the asset account is reduced and the expense account is increased. In summary, prepaid insurance is a current asset that represents the amount of insurance that has been paid for but has not been utilized or expired. Prepaid insurance can be recorded in the balance sheet of a company as a current asset and subject to decrease each month until fully utilized.

The prepaid insurance account is crucial since it helps to ensure that the financial statements of a company reflect its true financial position, taking into account all assets and liabilities. Most prepaid expenses appear on the balance sheet as a current asset unless the expense is not to be incurred until after 12 months, which is rare. The full value of the prepaid insurance is recorded as a debit to the asset account and as a credit to the cash account. Each month, as a portion of the prepaid premiums are applied, an adjusting journal entry is made as a credit to the asset account and as a debit to the insurance expense account.

It is considered an asset on a company’s balance sheet until the coverage period elapses, where it is then recognized as an expense. It is important for businesses to have insurance coverage as it helps to protect them against unforeseen events. Proper accounting of prepaid insurance helps to ensure that a company’s financial statements accurately reflect its true financial position. Regarding whether prepaid insurance is a debit or credit, it is essential to understand the rules of debit and credit first. When making a payment for the insurance premium in advance, it is recorded as a debit, which increases the asset account of the prepaid insurance.

Thus, prepaid expenses aren’t recognized on the income statement when paid because they have yet to be incurred. If an insurance company issues a premium refund to a business for whatever reason, this refund will reflect as a credit in the prepaid insurance account and a debit in the cash account. To adjust this, the accountant will need to debit the refund amount to the prepaid insurance account by crediting the insurance expense. As a simplistic example, if you paid $1,200 for a 12-month insurance policy, you would see 12 entries of $100 being moved from the prepaid insurance asset account to the insurance expense (once each month).

This entry reduces the balance of the prepaid insurance account by $1,000 and increases the insurance expense account by the same amount. Each month, a portion of the prepaid insurance is recognized as an expense on the income statement. For example, if a business pays $12,000 for a year-long insurance policy, each month $1,000 can be recognized as an expense. This is because each month represents one-twelfth of the coverage period. Prepaid expenses aren’t included in the income statement per generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). In particular, the GAAP matching principle requires accrual accounting, which stipulates that revenue and expenses must be reported in the same period as incurred no matter when cash or money exchanges hands.

Prepaid Insurance vs Accrued Insurance

Since the business is paying in advance for the insurance coverage, the expense has not yet been incurred. Therefore, the prepaid expense is treated as an asset on the balance sheet until it is used. At the end of twelve months, the asset account would show a balance of zero for the insurance premium and a total of $12,000 in the insurance expense account. Prepaid insurance refers to paying your insurance premiums in advance in a lump sum, usually for a six- or 12-month policy. Insurance providers often provide premium discounts to incentivize policyholders to make lump-sum payments on their insurance policy. This also helps insurance companies with customer retention, since customers may be less likely to switch carriers mid-policy if they’ve already paid upfront.


Assets are critical components of financial analysis and are commonly presented in the balance sheet. In essence, the balance sheet offers a snapshot of a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time. The expense would show up on the income statement while the decrease in prepaid rent of $10,000 would reduce the assets on the balance sheet by $10,000. The business’s records would show four months of insurance policy as a current, prepaid asset.

How to debit and credit the adjusting entry for prepaid insurance and insurance expense?

Prepaid insurance is reported on the balance sheet as a current asset because the term of the related insurance contract that has been prepaid is usually for a period of one year or less. Therefore the balance in Accounts Receivable might be approximately the amount of one month’s sales, if the company allows customers to pay their invoices in 30 days. A common prepaid expense is the six-month insurance premium that is paid in advance for insurance coverage on a company’s vehicles. The amount paid is often recorded in the current asset account Prepaid Insurance. If the company issues monthly financial statements, its income statement will report Insurance Expense which is one-sixth of the six-month premium. The balance in the account Prepaid Insurance will be the amount that is still prepaid as of the date of the balance sheet.

What is prepaid insurance?

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However, prepaid insurance is usually classified as a current asset since the benefit is used quickly. Contrast this with a long-term asset, which may not be used until one year or further in the future. When the insurance premium payment is ordinarily due, that expense is deducted from the asset side and moved to the expense side. Prepaying your insurance premium might complicate the cancellation process. For example, if you pay your $1,500 annual home insurance premium in one payment, then sell your house six months into the policy’s term, the insurer will have to refund the unused premium. Although providers do issue prorated refunds, you may have to wait days or weeks to receive the money.

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This journal entry is completed to establish your Prepaid Insurance asset account that represents the prepaid amount. Remember, to track prepaid expenses properly, they need to be recorded in your general ledger as a prepaid expense asset, with a portion of the prepaid asset accounted for each month as an expense. Assume that a company’s annual premium on its liability insurance policy is $2,400 and is due on the first day of each year. When the $2,400 payment is made on January 1, the company debits Prepaid Insurance and credits Cash. It also sets up automatic monthly adjusting entries to debit Insurance Expense for $200 and to credit Prepaid Insurance for $200 on the last day of each month. Generally, Prepaid Insurance is a current asset account that has a debit balance.

Prepaid insurance is an example of a prepayment or prepaid expense, which is the sum paid in advance for goods or services that will be received at a later time. Prepaid insurance can be considered an asset because the company has paid for a service that has not yet been used, meaning the prepaid insurance has a future economic benefit for the business. – The cash account would be debited for $1,200, reflecting the fact that the business owner paid money out of their cash account to pay for the insurance premium. – The prepaid insurance account would be credited for $1,200, reflecting the fact that the business owner prepaid for an insurance policy.

It provides convenience and eliminates the need to carry large amounts of cash. This may be necessary if the policy is underfunded, meaning it doesn’t have as much cash value as expected. Getting an in-force illustration enables you to monitor for a potential policy lapse. Prepaid insurance is becoming more and more popular, what is a trade discount as people want the convenience of not having to carry a policy around with them. The answer to this question largely depends on your financial institution and how they classify prepaid insurance products. If your bank classifies prepaid insurance as a deposit account, then it will be treated as a type of credit.

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