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Insuring a ship can be a good idea, since in case of ship destruction you can get a refund of SOME of the invested ISK. Even if your ship was not insured, you still get a refund of some of the lost ISK, though the amount is smaller. Insuring can only be done at a station with relevant services. Furthermore, you can decide what kind of insurance you would like to pay for. There are several options:

type of insurance % of repaid (CCP) value
no insurance 40%
basic 50%
standard 60%
bronze 70%
silver 80%
gold 90%
platinum 100%

Once you pay the insurance it is valid for 12 weeks. A word of caution: insurance expiration mails may not be sent in a timely fashion. They are usually sent when you open up the insurance tab at a station and therefore it may happen that you miss the expiration date at the most inconvenient time (when your ship is lost). There are also several ways you may lose your insurance (you do not lose the 40 % reimbursement), if you:

  • repackage your ship
  • trade your ship to another player
  • put your ship into a corporation hangar
  • sell your ship on the market
  • put your ship inside a contract
  • Suicide attack someone in High-Sec (players destroyed by CONCORD do not receive an insurance payout)

Why do you get a refund for only a part of the ship's value?

Firstly; you do not get a refund for any of the lost modules, cargo or drones. Secondly; the formula for calculating reimbursement fee is:

(CCP's estimated value of the ship) * (percentage of insurance coverage) * (ship type multiplier)

The only known value in the above formula is the percentage of insurance coverage. The other two values are kept secret in order to reduce possible exploits. CCP’s estimated value of the ship is based on average values of materials used in the building of ships. Upon inspecting insurance payouts for several different ships it is evident that this value is lower than average market value of the ship (and of course, it has to be lower to prevent insurance frauds). Ship type multiplier maximum value is 1. It is usually 1 for beginner type ships and can be drastically reduced for more advanced ships. For example; in the time of writing this article, the average market values for a couple of ships and 100 % insurance payouts were:

Ship Approximate market value 100 % insurance payout value
Rifter 420.000 368.250
Probe 380.000 153.481
Rupture 9.500.000 7.120.000
Retriever 25.500.000 5.714.000

Should you insure your ship?

If you expect your ship will be almost certainly lost in the near future, definitely insure your ship (platinum insurance). In other cases insuring your ship requires some thought. Let us analyze the example of rupture insurance:

insurance type cost payout profit # of extensions that ensure profit
uninsured 40% 0 2.848.093,20 2.848.093,20 unlimited
basic 50 % 356.011,65 3.560.116,50 3.204.104,85 9
standard 60% 712.023,30 4.272.139,80 3.560.116,50 5
bronze 70 % 1.068.034,95 4.984.163,10 3.916.128,15 3,666666667
silver 80 % 1.424.046,60 5.696.186,40 4.272.139,80 3
gold 90 % 1.780.058,25 6.408.209,70 4.628.151,45 2,6
platinum 100 % 2.136.069,90 7.120.233,00 4.984.163,10 2,333333333

We can conclude that if you need to reinvest in platinum insurance for more than 2 times (that is you do not lose your ship in more than 24 weeks), you are at a loss. In that aspect it is safer to invest in basic or standard insurance. Once you progress in your career you will probably own more than 10 or even a 100 or more ships. Insuring them all is probably not the best idea unless you are popping them daily. But in the early game, insurance may lighten the shock after losing your first ship, although even uninsured ships payout 40 %, which is not that big a difference from basic insurance (although you still get more profit by paying for basic insurance if your ship is lost).

Presented information is based on Evelopedia, ingame content and some forum posts.