Portion of a property or liability loss retained by a policyholder. Most policyholders do not purchase insurance to cover their entire exposure. Rather, they elect to take a deductible, or portion that they will cover themselves. For example, a homeowner may purchase $150,000 worth of insurance with a $500 deductible for certain losses, such as roof damage by hail. The $500 deductible is one form of self insurance. It means the homeowner will cover all losses for that amount or less.