Insurance terminology

insurance (noun): An agreement whereby the holder receives a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness or death in return for payment of a specified premium. — After burglars broke into her house, Tina was relieved that her insurance company agreed to cover the cost of all her stolen belongings.

with example sentences

absolute owner (noun): A person who is the only owner of a property or possession. – John is the absolute owner of his house.

act of God (noun): A natural event such as a storm or earthquake that is not caused by a person or people. – The flooding of the house was considered to be an act of God and well beyond anyone’s control.

actuary (noun): A person who calculates insurance risks and probabilities associated with insurance. – David is an actuary and works for an insurance firm in the city.

addendum (noun): An extra piece of information that is added on to an insurance policy. – There was an addendum at the end of our policy explaining that the terms had been altered slightly since the previous year.

agent, insurance agent (noun): A person who sells insurance and acts as a representative for an insurance company. – The agent answered all our questions and suggested a policy that he thought would best suit our needs.

agreed-value policy (noun): The total value of the insured items as agreed between the policy holder and the insurer at the start of an insurance period. – Our agreed-value policy states that the total value of our insured items is fixed and cannot be changed.

amendment (noun): A change to an insurance policy contract. – When my son started using the family car, we asked for an amendment to our policy contract.

annuity (noun): The amount of regular retirement income a person can purchase with their pension fund. – Fred’s annuity will enable him to live comfortably for the rest of his life.

appraisal (noun): A document giving useful information about a property that indicates how much it is worth. – It says in our appraisal that the house is worth £230,000.

assessor (noun): A person who calculates the value of a possession or property. – We are waiting to hear back from our assessor, who will tell us how much our house is worth.

assets (noun): Things that a person owns that are of value. Assets can include property, vehicles, shares, or money in the bank. – George’s assets included a van, a garage, and a holiday home in France.

assurance (noun): Cover for events that are certain to happen, such as death. – Our assurance policy will provide my wife with cover in the event of my death.

beneficiary (noun): A person who is the chosen recipient of a life insurance benefit. – Gerry’s wife is the beneficiary named on his life insurance policy.

benefit (noun): Money that an insurer pays once a claim has been accepted. – We cannot receive any benefits until our claim has been approved.

broker (noun): A company that provides insurance advice and that places its customers with an insurer. – We had an appointment with a broker who suggested a reliable insurer.

cancellation (noun): Termination of an insurance policy before it has expired. – The insurer needs to know the reason for the cancellation of any policy.

claim (noun): A request for payment under the terms of an insurance policy. – After our roof was damaged during the storm, we made a claim to our insurer.

claimant (noun): A person requesting payment from an insurer. – The claimant is asking how long it will take for him to receive his benefit.

combined policy (noun): A policy that covers both a building and its contents. – Our combined policy covers damage to the factory and the machinery inside.

commission (noun): Money that is paid for matching a customer with a provider. – Our broker receives a commission for every customer he finds.

comprehensive (adjective): A comprehensive car insurance policy provides cover for damage to or loss of a vehicle that is not caused by a collision or road accident. – Our comprehensive insurance policy will provide us with cover if our car is stolen or vandalised.

consequential loss (noun): Loss that occurs as a result of another previous loss. – The fire in our garage resulted in the consequential loss of our car.

contents policy (noun): A policy that covers the contents of one’s home. – Our contents policy covers our furniture, our jewellery, and all of our appliances.

contestable period (noun): A brief time period at the beginning of a policy when insurance companies have the right to investigate and deny any death claims. – Until the contestable period is up, any death claims shall be investigated.

cooling-off period (noun): A fixed amount of time during which a customer may cancel a policy without facing a penalty. – Once our cooling-off period is over, we will be unable to cancel our policy without paying a cancellation fee.

cover (noun): The specific protection provided by an insurance policy. – Our insurance policy offers us cover for our house and its contents.

credit insurance (noun): - A type of insurance that guarantees payment to a lender if a borrower is unable to pay off their existing debt. - As he had credit insurance, Bill was paid the money owed to him after an accident left a customer unable to settle her debts.

creditor (noun): A person to whom one owes money. – Sue still owes her creditors a substantial sum of money.

customisation (noun): Modifying an insurance policy to suit the specific needs of a customer. – The insurer offers customisation of its policies to suit the circumstances and needs of its customers.

damages (noun): Unlike "damage" which refers to the destruction or harm to a person, possession, or property, "damages" refers to the actual money that a party is obligated to pay another. – The company had to pay over £20,000 in damages.

declined risk (noun): When an insurer refuses to provide a customer with insurance due to their failure to meet certain standards. – The customer’s declined risk meant that he had to seek insurance elsewhere.

deductible (noun): A fixed sum of money that must be paid before an insurance company will pay a claim. - Alex has an insurance policy with a £250 deductible.

dependant(UK), dependent(US) (noun): A person who is reliant on another, especially a family member, for financial support. - Peter’s wife and daughter are his dependants.

depreciation (noun): A decrease in the value of assets and possessions over time. - The depreciation of our boat meant that we sold it for half of what we’d originally paid for it.

endowment (noun): An income or sum of money that is left to a beneficiary after someone's death. – After my father’s death, I received a £40,000 endowment.

employer’s liability (noun): The responsibility of a company for harm caused to its employees. – By law the company had employer’s liability insurance which covered the staff's medical expenses.

excess (noun): The initial amount of an insurance claim that a customer agrees to pay while their policy covers the rest - I paid an excess of £200, and my insurer paid the rest.

exclusion (noun): An item or event that is not covered by an insurance policy. – The exclusion clause in our insurance policy states that it will not cover damage to any of our electrical tools.

goods in transit (noun): Property in the process of being transported from one place to another. – We need to check if or insurance policy covers goods in transit.

hazard (noun): Any feature that increases risk. - The house’s 60-year-old cooker is a fire hazard.

inception of insurance (noun): The day on which an insurance policy officially starts. It says on our policy that the inception of insurance was January 31st; I thought it was the 30th.

indemnification (noun): When one promises to pay for damages caused to another party. – Most insurers advise vehicle owners to purchase policies that cover indemnification.

insured (noun): A person who is covered by a contract of insurance. - The insured has agreed to the terms and conditions stated on their policy.

insurer (noun): A person or company that provides an insurance contract to a customer. — Our insurer was recommended to us by a friend.

joint-life annuity (noun): A policy that provides a person with a regular fixed income for the rest of their life. It also provides a regular retirement income to their surviving dependents. - Tim’s joint-life annuity policy provided his widow with a monthly income after his death.

lapse (noun): When an insurance policy is not renewed. - As insurers, we like to know the reasons behind a lapse in any policy.

liable (adjective): Having a legal obligation to pay for harm or damage. - The surgeon was held liable for the patient’s death.

liability (noun): The legal responsibility one has for causing harm or damage to another party. - The driver accepted liability for damaging the other vehicle

limits of insurance (noun): The maximum amount of coverage that an insurer is willing to pay in any claim. - Unfortunately, Tim’s medical expenses exceeded the limits of insurance on his policy.

loss (noun): Damage to an insured possession or property. - The fire caused significant loss to the property.

loss adjuster(UK), claims adjuster(US) (noun): A person who calculates the amount of loss from a specific claim. - Our loss adjuster is currently assessing the loss caused by the storm.

misrepresentation (noun): A misstatement on the part of the insured to their broker or underwriter at the time when an insurance contract is being written up or renewed. - Misrepresentation on an insurance policy is a criminal offence.

named insured (noun): The person whose name is written on an insurance policy. - The contract must be signed by the named insured.

named perils (noun): The causes of damage to a possession or piece of property such as fire, storms, or flooding. - Fire is the most common named peril to property.

non-disclosure (noun): Failure on the part of the policy holder to reveal any feature increasing risk to the underwriter. - Non-disclosure of any hazard shall result in the immediate termination of a policy.

occupancy (noun): The details on a home insurance policy of the person living in a property. - We change the occupancy on our insurance policy each time a new tenant moves into the flat.

ordinance coverage (noun): Insurance that covers the expenses of rebuilding a home that has been destroyed. - Our ordinance coverage paid for us to rebuild our house after the fire.

personal effects (noun): The items that a person carries or wears outside the home on a regular basis. - Among the victim’s personal effects were a wedding ring, a wallet, and a gold chain.

personal injury protection (noun): Insurance that covers expenses such as medical bills, transport costs, and absence from work after a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. – After the accident left me unable to drive, my personal injury protection paid for my taxi fares to work.

physical damage insurance (noun): Insurance that covers cars and other vehicles against a variety of damages. Fortunately, the damage to our van was covered by our physical damage insurance.

policy (noun): A document issued by an insurer stating the terms and conditions of a customer’s contract. - It is stated in our policy that we have a coolin-off period of three months.

policy holder (noun): The person in whose name the policy is registered. - The name of the policy holder is written on the first page of the insurance contract.

premium (noun): The amount of money that a customer pays their insurer in exchange for cover, usually paid monthly, quarterly or annually. - My premium has increased significantly since this time last year.

product liability (noun): The responsibility of a company for damage caused by its products. - Many national product liability rules state that vaccine manufacturers are not accountable for illnesses and deaths caused by their vaccines.

public liability (noun): The responsibility of a company for harm caused to a member of the public. – If a customer has an accident in our restaurant, public liability insurance will cover it.

real property (noun): A piece of land and all the features attached to it. - The customer’s real property is worth over £10 million.

reinsurance (noun): Insurance that an insurance company buys from another insurance company to protect itself in the case of risk. – Most insurers purchase reinsurance contacts to protect themselves from loss.

risk (noun): The chances that a loss will occur. – If you purchase a property near a river, the risk of flooding is higher.

title (noun): A document showing one's legal ownership of a property and the rights associated with it. – I brought a copy of the title to prove that I was the owner of the property.

title insurance (noun): Insurance that protects buyers and lenders from financial loss due to defects in a property. – Thankfully, our title insurance paid for the damage caused by the gas explosion.

underwriting (noun): The process in which an insurer assesses risk and decides whether they will offer cover for it. - Until the underwriting process is complete, we will not know if the insurer will cover us.

Reference and further resources