This is a distinct branch of insurance business, the object being to compensate a person in case of pecuniary loss through the accidental burning of his property. By paying annually a comparatively small amount in the shape of premium, a person may insure that in case of the destruction by fire of such of his goods as may be specified in a fire policy, issued by the Insurance Company, he will be recouped their value. Nearly all the Fire Insurance offices are agreed in charging a certain rate of premium, which is called the tariff rate. For dwelling-houses built of brick or stone with slate or tile roof, the rate is only 1s. 6d. for every 100. For more hazardous buildings such as thatched houses, warehouses, inns, shops, &c., the rates are higher, according to the nature of the risk. Household furniture and the other contents of a brick or stone house can be insured at various rates, or they may be included in one insurance with the house, when the rate would be 2s. per cent. for the whole.

It should be remembered that there is a limit, usually of 5 per cent., of the whole sum so insured, placed on any one work of art which may be destroyed.

For instance, a picture valued at 200 maybe burnt in a house which, with the contents, is insured for 2,000 If the picture were alone destroyed, the office would only compensate to the extent of 100, being 5 per cent. on the 2,000, the total amount of the insurance. Any particular picture or work of art may, however, be specially insured by itself.

Insurances should never be made for a greater sum than the value of the property insured, as it would be paying more premium for no purpose. The offices take good care that they pay no more than the actual value of the property destroyed, which they have the means of ascertaining with some degree of accuracy.

It has been found necessary to subject the insurance of farming stock to special conditions. A farmer having stock of the value, say, of 1,000, might reason in this way: "My ricks, implements, crops, &c., are situated widely apart, and it is difficult to imagine that all could be consumed in one and the same fire; therefore, I will insure the whole stock for 500 only, then I shall have to pay only half the amount in the premium I should be liable for in case I insured to the full value." The offices are, however, quite alive to this kind of reasoning, and frustrate the intention by inserting what is called the "average" clause in the policy, the effect of which is that in the event of a claim being made for loss by fire, only one half of the value would be made because only one half of the value of the stock was insured. Live stock, however, may be separately insured without the average clause, and animals killed by lightning are paid for if insured against loss by fire.

There are other offices which insure against loss by special contingencies, such as damage to glass houses, and cattle, and garden produce, by hailstorms; destruction of boilers by explosion, of plate glass, and from accident or disease affecting cattle. There are companies, too, which insure against accidents sustained by rail, road, or water, guaranteeing a specified sum in case of death, and compensation in case of injury. Also societies which take the place of sureties and guarantee an insurer against loss or default by anyone in his employ; and companies which undertake to make good any loss arising from burglary or larceny. In all cases, of course, the liability of the office is limited to a certain declared amount.