Insurance is always a positive payout, with higher tiers of insurance paying more (even when insurance cost is subtracted) and costing more.
The only ways you can lose ISK on insurance is
If your ship does not explode before the insurance period is over
If you repackage your ship (for example to haul or sell it)
Usually I insure all ships that I think are likely to be lost. This means I’ll insure my PvP ships before I go into a fight. If I lose the ship: free ISK!
Often I do not insure ships that I expect will not die within the insurance period, like my hauling ships.
Insurance payout is relatively good for simple newbie-friendly ships like smaller T1 ships.
Insurance for bigger ships like battleships and capitals is relatively lower compared to the cost of the ship, and insurance of T2 and Pirate ships pays only a very small fraction of the value of the ship on the market.
This is because the value of insurance in EVE is based on the amount of minerals used to build the ship, and insurance is not meant to completely cover the value of the ship in case you lose it, which many new players think.
But it’s always a positive payout and free money when you die, compared to dying in an uninsured ship.
Last time I checked, the ecosystem team were happy with how the insurance calculations were working (and they were taking into account the proper values)
For @Bibiana_B - insurance for T2, faction, and certain capital ships is (by design) much below their value. Insurance for T1 ships is much closer to their value in game (though not exact) and doesn’t cover additional modules fit.
The simple way to accurately gauge the value of insurance is to look at the cost to purchase it. Whatever you pay for the insurance is what you wasted if you survive the entire insurance period, and exactly what you gained by having the insurance if you are killed during the insurance period.
See, lost a Praxis, and was reimbursed immediately: Your friendly insurance company has transferred 1,20 ISK into your account for the recent loss of your ship. This payout is the default payout for an uninsured ship. If you are interested in better insurance then please visit a station with an Insurance Service for further details.
Either you know you’re about to do something dangerous where you’re likely to lose the ship so you insure, or you expect it won’t die soon and don’t insure. That’s why it’s often a choice between platinum insurance or no insurance at all.
The other insurances do make sense in two other situations:
You cannot afford/do not want to afford platinum insurance but still want more than basic insurance. I’ve done this before when I was about to undock my capital ship for a cap fight but happened to have a very thin wallet at the time… (2. You still expect it to die but maybe not in the first insurance period. Lower tier insurance options allow you to insure for more periods and still make a profit, as shown on the EVE uni wiki. Platinum insurance breaks even at 2.3, so you can pay twice and still run a profit, but if you pay a third time before you lose the ship you’ll lose money on insurance. Silver breaks even at 3, standard at 5 times and basic can be paid 9 times before you lose money.) → Edit: this is incorrect, table is misleading. See for explanation further below.
The ISK cost for insurance is usually low enough that people either don’t bother or pick platinum insurance, but there are rare reasons to pick other types.
That math seems kind of suspicious to me. Platinum raises your payout by 60 percentage points, but costs 30% of the payout up front. Once you’ve bought it twice you’re already break even with no insurance which pays a flat 40%. I don’t know what kind of mathemagical wizardry you have to do to eek out another .3 above those two.
Silver increases your payout 40 percentage points to 80%, but costs 20% up front. Once again, if you buy it twice you’ve paid up front an amount equal to the increased payout value which I would call break even.
All insurance upgrades pay out double what the upgrade costs if you are killed, plus the 40% base payout everyone gets regardless of having bought any insurance or not. In all cases buying insurance is only net positive if you die in the first insurance period, break even if you die in the second, and a net loss if you die the third or subsequent time you renew (or, obviously, if you never die).
What your post made me realise is that this table (and therefore my explanation of the table) is missing a crucial part, the opportunity cost of paying platinum insurance compared to not insuring at all:
Platinum insurance is indeed 30% of the cost, to raise the base 40% payout to 100% payout in case the ship explodes. So instead of paying 0% to gain a base 40%, you’re now paying 30% to gain 60% more on top of the 40% you would already get by not insuring at all.
So you’re paying 30% to get a net profit of: 100% (total payout) - 40% (default payout) - 30% (cost) = 30% profit.
Extending your platinum insurance a second time means you’re paying another 30% so you will at most break even. Extending twice means you’re losing money compared to not insuring at all (something that table is missing).
So your break even point for platinum insurance is 2 periods, 24 weeks total.
Let’s see how it works for base insurance.
Base insurance: you pay 5% extra to gain 50% instead of 40% payout. So you’re winning 10%, minus 5% cost. You profit only with one insurance period, break even at two and lose at 3+, just like platinum insurance. Quick calculation shows that the same is true for other insurance tiers, as the added payout seems to always be twice the insurance cost.
Seems like my earlier point based on that (apparently misleading!) table was incorrect. Lower tier insurance is not better than higher tier insurance for longer insurance periods.