Definition of Prepaid Insurance
Prepaid insurance is the portion of an insurance premium that has been paid in advance and has not expired as of the date of a company's balance sheet. This unexpired cost is reported in the current asset account Prepaid Insurance.
As the amount of prepaid insurance expires, the expired portion is moved from the current asset account Prepaid Insurance to the income statement account Insurance Expense. This is usually done at the end of each accounting period through an adjusting entry.
Example of Prepaid Insurance
To illustrate prepaid insurance, let's assume that on November 20 a company pays an insurance premium of $2,400 for insurance protection during the six-month period of December 1 through May 31. On November 20, the payment is entered with a debit of $2,400 to Prepaid Insurance and a credit of $2,400 to Cash.
As of November 30 none of the $2,400 cost has expired and the entire $2,400 will be reported on the balance sheet as Prepaid Insurance or Prepaid Expenses. On December 31, an adjusting entry will debit Insurance Expense for $400 (the amount that expired: 1/6 of $2,400) and will credit Prepaid Insurance for $400. This means that the debit balance in Prepaid Insurance at December 31 will be $2,000 (5/6 of the $2,400 cost), since this is the amount that has not yet expired.
At the end of each month, an adjusting entry of $400 will be recorded to debit Insurance Expense and credit Prepaid Insurance.