What kind of insurance makes the best investment? Well, although some people (especially some insurance agents) will disagree, we generally don't like to think of insurance as an investment -- and perhaps you shouldn't, either.

It's true that some "investments" in insurance will appreciate in value, but the main point of insurance is to protect you against the financial consequences of losses, not serve to increase your wealth. If you're looking for long-term investments, there are many options more attractive than insurance -- chief among them being stocks. If you're looking for protection against floods, car accidents, appendicitis, or death, you need insurance. (And if you're looking for company on cold winter nights, you may need a cat.)

Insurance policies with built-in investment features can cost more than policies without, and you may do better investing the difference on your own.

We offer much more information in our Insurance Center -- and you can get your questions answered on our Insurance discussion board (or just drop in to see what others are saying there). You might also find the websites of many major insurance companies helpful. Depending on the kind of insurance you're looking for, click over to the websites of companies such as American International Group (NYSE:AIG), Allianz (NYSE:AZ), AXA (NYSE:AXA), Aetna (NYSE:AET), MetLife (NYSE:MET), Progressive (NYSE:PGR), and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A). You may not have thought about some kinds of insurance, such as disability or long-term care insurance, but they're vital for many people. Take a little time to learn more, and you may be very happy you did.

And now for something completely different: If you haven't yet funded an IRA for tax year 2005, it's actually not too late. You have until April 17. You can fund a 2006 IRA now, too. Learn more in our IRA Center.