ACTUAL CASH VALUE
A form of insurance that pays damages equal to the replacement value of damaged property minus depreciation.

ADJUSTER
An individual employed by a property/casualty insurer to evaluate losses and settle policyholder claims. These adjusters differ from public adjusters, who negotiate with insurers on behalf of policyholders, and receive a portion of a claims settlement. Independent adjusters are independent contractors who adjust claims for different insurance companies.

AGENCY COMPANIES
Companies that market and sell products via independent agents.

AGENT
Insurance is sold by two types of agents: independent agents, who are self-employed, represent several insurance companies and are paid on commission, and exclusive or captive agents, who represent only one insurance company and are either salaried or work on commission. Insurance companies that use exclusive or captive agents are called direct writers.

APPRAISAL
A survey to determine a property’s insurable value, or the amount of a loss.

ARSON
The deliberate setting of a fire.

AUTO INSURANCE POLICY
There are basically six different types of coverages. Some may be required by law. Others are optional. They are:

1. Bodily injury liability, for injuries the policyholder causes to someone else.
2. Medical payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car.
3. Property damage liability, for damage the policyholder causes to someone else’s property.
4. Collision, for damage to the policyholder’s car from a collision.
5. Comprehensive, for damage to the policyholder’s car not involving a collision with another car (including damage from fire, explosions, earthquakes, floods, and riots), and theft.
6. Uninsured motorist coverage, for costs resulting from an accident involving a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have insurance.

Coverages and benefits listed above may be available at an additional charge, talk to us today to find out more.

AUTO INSURANCE PREMIUM
The price an insurance company charges for coverage, based on the frequency and cost of potential accidents, theft and other losses. Prices vary from company to company, as with any product or service.

Premiums also vary depending on the amount and type of coverage purchased; the make and model of the car; and the insured’s driving record, years of driving and the number of miles the car is driven per year. Other factors taken into account include the driver’s age and gender, where the car is most likely to be driven and the times of day – rush hour in an urban neighborhood or leisure-time driving in rural areas, for example. Some insurance companies may also use credit history-related information

BINDER
Temporary authorization of coverage issued prior to the actual insurance policy.

BLANKET INSURANCE
Coverage for more than one type of property at one location or one type of property at more than one location. Example: chain stores.

BODILY INJURY LIABILITY COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers injuries the policyholder causes to someone else.

BOILER AND MACHINERY INSURANCE
Often called Equipment Breakdown, or Systems Breakdown insurance. Commercial insurance that covers damage caused by the malfunction or breakdown of boilers, and a vast array of other equipment including air conditioners, heating, electrical, telephone, and computer systems.

BURGLARY AND THEFT INSURANCE
Insurance for the loss of property due to burglary, robbery or larceny. It is provided in a standard homeowners policy and in a business multiple peril policy.

BUSINESS INCOME INSURANCE (also known as BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE)
Commercial coverage that reimburses a business owner for lost profits and continuing fixed expenses during the time that a business must stay closed while the premises are being restored because of physical damage from a covered peril, such as a fire. Business interruption insurance also may cover financial losses that may occur if civil authorities limit access to an area after a disaster and their actions prevent customers from reaching the business premises. Depending on the policy, civil authorities coverage may start after a waiting period and last for two or more weeks.

BUSINESSOWNERS POLICY / BOP
A policy that combines property, liability and business interruption coverages for small- to medium-sized businesses. Coverage is generally cheaper than if purchased through separate insurance policies

CAPTIVE AGENT
A person who represents only one insurance company and is restricted by agreement from submitting business to any other company, unless it is first rejected by the agent’s captive company.

CAR YEAR
Equal to 365 days of insured coverage for a single vehicle. It is the standard measurement for automobile insurance.

CATASTROPHE
Term used for statistical recording purposes to refer to a single incident or a series of closely related incidents causing severe insured property losses totaling more than a given amount, currently $25 million (per the Insurance Information Institute, iii.org).

CELL PHONE INSURANCE
Separate insurance provided to cover cell phones for damage or theft. Policies are often sold with the cell phones themselves.

CLAIMS-MADE POLICY
A form of insurance that pays claims presented to the insurer during the term of the policy or within a specific term after its expiration. It limits liability insurers’ exposure to unknown future liabilities.

COLLISION COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers the damage to the policyholder’s car from a collision.

COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE / CGL
A broad commercial policy that covers all liability exposures of a business that are not specifically excluded. Coverage includes product liability, completed operations, premises and operations, and independent contractors.

COMMERCIAL LINES
Products designed for and bought by businesses. Among the major coverages are boiler and machinery, business interruption, commercial auto, comprehensive general liability, directors and officers liability, fire and allied lines, inland marine, medical malpractice liability, product liability, professional liability, surety and fidelity, and workers compensation. Most of these commercial coverages can be purchased separately except business interruption which must be added to a fire insurance (property) policy.

COMMERCIAL MULTIPLE PERIL POLICY
Package policy that includes property, boiler and machinery, crime, and general liability coverages.

COMMISSION
Fee paid to an agent or insurance salesperson as a percentage of the policy premium. The percentage varies widely depending on coverage, the insurer, and the marketing methods.

COMPLETED OPERATIONS COVERAGE
Pays for bodily injury or property damage caused by a completed project or job. Protects a business that sells a service against liability claims.

COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that covers damage to the policyholder’s car not involving a collision with another car (including damage from fire, explosions, earthquakes, floods, and riots), and theft.

COMPULSORY AUTO INSURANCE
The minimum amount of auto liability insurance that meets a state law. Financial responsibility laws in every state require all automobile drivers to show proof, after an accident, of their ability to pay damages up to the state minimum. In compulsory liability states this proof, which is usually in the form of an insurance policy, is required before you can legally drive a car.

COVERAGE
Synonym for insurance.

CREDIT SCORE
The number produced by an analysis of an individual’s credit history. The use of credit information affects all consumers in many ways, from getting a job, finding a place to live, securing a loan, getting a telephone, and buying insurance. Credit history is routinely reviewed by insurers before issuing a commercial policy because businesses in poor financial condition tend to cut back on safety which can lead to more accidents and more claims. Auto and home insurers may use information in a credit history to produce an insurance score. Insurance scores may be used in underwriting and rating insurance policies.

CRIME INSURANCE
Term referring to property coverages for the perils of burglary, theft and robbery.

DECLARATION
Part of a property or liability insurance policy that states the name and address of policyholder, property insured, its location and description, the policy period, premiums, and supplemental information. Referred to as the “dec page.”

DEDUCTIBLE
The amount of loss paid by the policyholder. Either a specified dollar amount, a percentage of the claim amount, or a specified amount of time that must elapse before benefits are paid. The bigger the deductible, the lower the premium charged for the same coverage.

DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS LIABILITY INSURANCE/D&O
Covers directors and officers of a company for negligent acts or omissions, and for misleading statements that result in suits against the company, often by shareholders. Directors and officers insurance policies usually contain two coverages: personal coverage for individual directors and officers who are not indemnified by the corporation for their legal expenses or judgments against them – some corporations are not required by their corporate or state charters to provide indemnification; and corporate reimbursement coverage for indemnifying directors and officers. Entity coverage for claims made specifically against the company may also be available.

DOMESTIC INSURANCE COMPANY
Term used by a state to refer to any company incorporated there.

EARNED PREMIUM
The portion of premium that applies to the expired part of the policy period. Insurance premiums are payable in advance but the insurance company does not fully earn them until the policy period expires.

EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE
Covers a building and its contents, but includes a large percentage deductible on each. A special policy or endorsement exists because earthquakes are not covered by standard homeowners or most business policies.
Coverages and benefits listed above may be available at an additional charge, talk to us today to find out more.

ELECTRONIC COMMERCE / E-COMMERCE
The sale of products such as insurance over the Internet.

EMPLOYEE DISHONESTY COVERAGE
Covers direct losses and damage to businesses resulting from the dishonest acts of employees.

EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT INCOME SECURITY ACT / ERISA
Federal legislation that protects employees by establishing minimum standards for private pension and welfare plans.

EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY
Part B of the workers compensation policy that provides coverage for lawsuits filed by injured employees who, under certain circumstances, can sue under common law.

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LIABILITY COVERAGE
Liability insurance for employers that covers wrongful termination, discrimination, or sexual harassment toward the insured’s employees or former employees.

ENDORSEMENT
A written form attached to an insurance policy that alters the policy’s coverage, terms, or conditions. Sometimes called a rider.

ERRORS AND OMISSIONS COVERAGE / E&O
A professional liability policy covering the policyholder for negligent acts and omissions that may harm his or her clients.

ESCROW ACCOUNT
Funds that a lender collects to pay monthly premiums in mortgage and homeowners insurance, and sometimes to pay property taxes.

EXCESS AND SURPLUS LINES
Property/casualty coverage that isn’t available from insurers licensed by the state (called admitted insurers) and must be purchased from a non-admitted carrier.

EXCLUSION
A provision in an insurance policy that eliminates coverage for certain risks, people, property classes, or locations.

EXPERIENCE
Record of losses.

EXPOSURE
Possibility of loss.

EXTENDED COVERAGE
An endorsement added to an insurance policy, or clause within a policy, that provides additional coverage for risks other than those in a basic policy.

FAIR ACCESS TO INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS PLANS / FAIR PLANS
Insurance pools that sell property insurance to people who can’t buy it in the voluntary market because of high risk over which they may have no control. FAIR Plans, which exist in 28 states and the District of Columbia, insure fire, vandalism, riot, and windstorm losses, and some sell homeowners insurance which includes liability. Plans vary by state, but all require property insurers licensed in a state to participate in the pool and share in the profits and losses.

FIDELITY BOND
A form of protection that covers policyholders for losses that they incur as a result of fraudulent acts by specified individuals. It usually insures a business for losses caused by the dishonest acts of its employees.

FIDUCIARY BOND
A type of surety bond, sometimes called a probate bond, which is required of certain fiduciaries, such as executors and trustees, that guarantees the performance of their responsibilities.

FIRE INSURANCE
Coverage protecting property against losses caused by a fire or lightning that is usually included in homeowners or commercial multiple peril policies.

FLOATER
Attached to a homeowners policy, a floater insures movable property, covering losses wherever they may occur. Among the items often insured with a floater are expensive jewelry, musical instruments, and furs. It provides broader coverage than a regular homeowners policy for these items.

FLOOD INSURANCE
Coverage for flood damage is available from the federal government under the National Flood Insurance Program but is sold by licensed insurance agents. Flood coverage is excluded under homeowners policies and many commercial property policies. However, flood damage is covered under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy

FORCED PLACE INSURANCE
Insurance purchased by a bank or creditor on an uninsured debtor’s behalf so if the property is damaged, funding is available to repair it.

GAP INSURANCE
An automobile insurance option, available in some states, that covers the difference between a car’s actual cash value when it is stolen or wrecked and the amount the consumer owes the leasing or finance company.

GENERIC AUTO PARTS
Auto crash parts produced by firms that are not associated with car manufacturers. Insurers consider these parts, when certified, at least as good as those that come from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). They are often cheaper than the identical part produced by the OEM

GLASS INSURANCE
Coverage for glass breakage caused by all risks; fire and war are sometimes excluded. Insurance can be bought for windows, structural glass, leaded glass, and mirrors. Available with or without a deductible.

GRADUATED DRIVER LICENSES

GROUP INSURANCE
A single policy covering a group of individuals, usually employees of the same company or members of the same association and their dependents. Coverage occurs under a master policy issued to the employer or association.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY
The typical homeowners insurance policy covers the house, the garage and other structures on the property, as well as personal possessions inside the house such as furniture, appliances and clothing, against a wide variety of perils including windstorms, fire and theft. The extent of the perils covered depends on the type of policy. An all-risk policy offers the broadest coverage. This covers all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy.

Homeowners insurance also covers additional living expenses. Known as Loss of Use, this provision in the policy reimburses the policyholder for the extra cost of living elsewhere while the house is being restored after a disaster. The liability portion of the policy covers the homeowner for accidental injuries caused to third parties and/or their property, such as a guest slipping and falling down improperly maintained stairs. Coverage for flood and earthquake damage is excluded and must be purchased separately.

HOUSE YEAR
Equal to 365 days of insured coverage for a single dwelling. It is the standard measurement for homeowners insurance.

IDENTITY THEFT INSURANCE
Coverage for expenses incurred as the result of an identity theft. Can include costs for notarizing fraud affidavits and certified mail, lost income from time taken off from work to meet with law-enforcement personnel or credit agencies, fees for reapplying for loans and attorney’s fees to defend against lawsuits and remove criminal or civil judgments.

INCURRED BUT NOT REPORTED LOSSES / IBNR
Losses that are not filed with the insurer or reinsurer until years after the policy is sold. Some liability claims may be filed long after the event that caused the injury to occur. Asbestos-related diseases, for example, do not show up until decades after the exposure. IBNR also refers to estimates made about claims already reported but where the full extent of the injury is not yet known, such as a workers compensation claim where the degree to which work-related injuries prevents a worker from earning what he or she earned before the injury unfolds over time. Insurance companies regularly adjust reserves for such losses as new information becomes available.

INCURRED LOSSES
Losses occurring within a fixed period, whether or not adjusted or paid during the same period.

INDEMNIFY
Provide financial compensation for losses.

INDEPENDENT AGENT
Agent who is self-employed, is paid on commission, and represents several insurance companies.

INLAND MARINE INSURANCE
This broad type of coverage was developed for shipments that do not involve ocean transport. Covers articles in transit by all forms of land and air transportation as well as bridges, tunnels and other means of transportation and communication. Floaters that cover expensive personal items such as fine art and jewelry are included in this category.

INSURANCE
A system to make large financial losses more affordable by pooling the risks of many individuals and business entities and transferring them to an insurance company or other large group in return for a premium.

INSURANCE SCORE
Insurance scores are confidential rankings based on credit information. This includes whether the consumer has made timely payments on loans, the number of open credit card accounts and whether a bankruptcy filing has been made. An insurance score is a measure of how well consumers manage their financial affairs, not of their financial assets. It does not include information about income or race.

Studies (1) have shown that people who manage their money well tend also to manage their most important asset, their home, well. And people who manage their money responsibly also tend to handle driving a car responsibly. Some insurance companies use insurance scores as an insurance underwriting and rating tool.

Related Study – The Relationship of Credit-Based Insurance Scores to Private Passenger Automobile Insurance Loss Propensity, by EPIC Actuaries, LLC, June 2003

INSURANCE-TO-VALUE
Insurance written in an amount approximating the value of the insured property.

INTERNET INSURER
An insurer that sells exclusively via the Internet.

KEY PERSON INSURANCE
Insurance on the life or health of a key individual whose services are essential to the continuing success of a business and whose death or disability could cause the firm a substantial financial loss.
LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS
The theory of probability on which the business of insurance is based. Simply put, this mathematical premise says that the larger the group of units insured, such as sport-utility vehicles, the more accurate the predictions of loss will be.

LIABILITY INSURANCE
Insurance for what the policyholder is legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage caused to another person

LIMITS
Maximum amount of insurance that can be paid for a covered loss.

LINE
Type or kind of insurance, such as personal lines.

LIQUOR LIABILITY
Coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policyholder.

LLOYD’S OF LONDON
A marketplace where underwriting syndicates, or mini-insurers, gather to sell insurance policies and reinsurance. Each syndicate is managed by an underwriter who decides whether or not to accept the risk. The Lloyd’s market is a major player in the international reinsurance market as well as a primary market for marine insurance and large risks. Originally, Lloyd’s was a London coffee house in the 1600s patronized by shipowners who insured each other’s hulls and cargoes. As Lloyd’s developed, wealthy individuals, called “Names,” placed their personal assets behind insurance risks as a business venture. Increasingly since the 1990s, most of the capital comes from corporations.

LOSS
A reduction in the quality or value of a property, or a legal liability.

LOSS ADJUSTMENT EXPENSES
The sum insurers pay for investigating and settling insurance claims, including the cost of defending a lawsuit in court.

LOSS COSTS
The portion of an insurance rate used to cover claims and the costs of adjusting claims. Insurance companies typically determine their rates by estimating their future loss costs and adding a provision for expenses, profit, and contingencies.

LOSS OF USE
A provision in homeowners and renters insurance policies that reimburses policyholders for any extra living expenses due to having to live elsewhere while their home is being restored following a disaster.

MANUAL
A book published by an insurance or bonding company or a rating association or bureau that gives rates, classifications, and underwriting rules.

MARINE INSURANCE
Coverage for goods in transit, and for the commercial vehicles that transport them, on water and over land. The term may apply to inland marine but more generally applies to ocean marine insurance. Covers damage or destruction of a ship’s hull and cargo and perils include collision, sinking, capsizing, being stranded, fire, piracy, and jettisoning cargo to save other property. Wear and tear, dampness, mold, and war are not included. (See Inland marine and Ocean marine)

MINE SUBSIDENCE COVERAGE
An endorsement to a homeowners insurance policy, available in some states, for losses to a home caused by the land under a house sinking into a mine shaft. Excluded from standard homeowners policies, as are other forms of earth movement.

MORTGAGE INSURANCE
A form of decreasing term insurance that covers the life of a person taking out a mortgage. Death benefits provide for payment of the outstanding balance of the loan. Coverage is in decreasing term insurance, so the amount of coverage decreases as the debt decreases. A variant, mortgage unemployment insurance pays the mortgage of a policyholder who becomes involuntarily unemployed.

MULTIPLE PERIL POLICY
A package policy, such as a homeowners or business insurance policy, that provides coverage against several different perils. It also refers to the combination of property and liability coverage in one policy. In the early days of insurance, coverages for property damage and liability were purchased separately.

MUNICIPAL BOND INSURANCE
Coverage that guarantees bondholders timely payment of interest and principal even if the issuer of the bonds defaults. Offered by insurance companies with high credit ratings, the coverage raises the credit rating of a municipality offering the bond to that of the insurance company. It allows a municipality to raise money at lower interest rates. A form of financial guarantee insurance

NAMED PERIL
Peril specifically mentioned as covered in an insurance policy.

NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM
Federal government-sponsored program under which flood insurance is sold to homeowners and businesses.

NO-FAULT
Auto insurance coverage that pays for each driver’s own injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. No-fault varies from state to state. It also refers to an auto liability insurance system that restricts lawsuits to serious cases. Such policies are designed to promote faster reimbursement and to reduce litigation. This coverage is not available in all states, check with us to find out more.

NOTICE OF LOSS
A written notice required by insurance companies immediately after an accident or other loss. Part of the standard provisions defining a policyholder’s responsibilities after a loss.

OCCURRENCE POLICY
Insurance that pays claims arising out of incidents that occur during the policy term, even if they are filed many years later.

OCEAN MARINE INSURANCE
Coverage of all types of vessels and watercraft, for property damage to the vessel and cargo, including such risks as piracy and the jettisoning of cargo to save the property of others. Coverage for marine-related liabilities. War is excluded from basic policies, but can be bought back.

ORDINANCE OR LAW COVERAGE
Endorsement to a property policy, including homeowners, that pays for the extra expense of rebuilding to comply with ordinances or laws, often building codes, that did not exist when the building was originally built. For example, a building severely damaged in a hurricane may have to be elevated above the flood line when it is rebuilt. This endorsement would cover part of the additional cost.

ORDINARY LIFE INSURANCE
A life insurance policy that remains in force for the policyholder’s lifetime.

PACKAGE POLICY
A single insurance policy that combines several coverages previously sold separately. Examples include homeowners insurance and commercial multiple peril insurance.

PERIL
A specific risk or cause of loss covered by an insurance policy, such as a fire, windstorm, flood, or theft. A named-peril policy covers the policyholder only for the risks named in the policy in contrast to an all-risk policy, which covers all causes of loss except those specifically excluded.

PERSONAL ARTICLES FLOATER
A policy or an addition to a policy used to cover personal valuables, like jewelry or furs.

PERSONAL LINES
Property/casualty insurance products that are designed for and bought by individuals, including homeowners and automobile policies.

POLICY
A written contract for insurance between an insurance company and policyholder stating details of coverage.

POLITICAL RISK INSURANCE
Coverage for businesses operating abroad against loss due to political upheaval such as war, revolution, or confiscation of property.

POLLUTION INSURANCE
Policies that cover property loss and liability arising from pollution-related damages, for sites that have been inspected and found uncontaminated. It is usually written on a claims-made basis so policies pay only claims presented during the term of the policy or within a specified time frame after the policy expires.

PREMISES
The particular location of the property or a portion of it as designated in an insurance policy.

PREMIUM
The price of an insurance policy, typically charged annually or semiannually

PREMIUMS WRITTEN
The total premiums on all policies written by an insurer during a specified period of time, regardless of what portions have been earned. Net premiums written are premiums written after reinsurance transactions.

PRIMARY COMPANY
In a reinsurance transaction, the insurance company that is reinsured.

PRIMARY MARKET

PRODUCT LIABILITY
A section of tort law that determines who may sue and who may be sued for damages when a defective product injures someone. No uniform federal laws guide manufacturer’s liability, but under strict liability, the injured party can hold the manufacturer responsible for damages without the need to prove negligence or fault.

PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE
Protects manufacturers’ and distributors’ exposure to lawsuits by people who have sustained bodily injury or property damage through the use of the product.

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Covers professionals for negligence and errors or omissions that injure their clients.

PROOF OF LOSS
Documents showing the insurance company that a loss occurred.

PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURANCE
Covers damage to or loss of policyholders’ property and legal liability for damages caused to other people or their property. Property/casualty insurance, which includes auto, homeowners and commercial insurance, is one segment of the insurance industry. The other sector is life/health. Outside the United States, property/casualty insurance is referred to as nonlife or general insurance.

RATE
The cost of a unit of insurance, usually per $1,000. Rates are based on historical loss experience for similar risks and may be regulated by state insurance offices.

REINSURANCE

RENTERS INSURANCE
A form of insurance that covers a policyholder’s belongings against perils such as fire, theft, windstorm, hail, explosion, vandalism, riots, and others. It also provides personal liability coverage for damage the policyholder or dependents cause to third parties. It also provides additional living expenses, known as loss-of-use coverage, if a policyholder must move while his or her dwelling is repaired. It also can include coverage for property improvements. Possessions can be covered for their replacement cost or the actual cash value that includes depreciation.

REPLACEMENT COST
Insurance that pays the dollar amount needed to replace damaged personal property or dwelling property without deducting for depreciation but limited by the maximum dollar amount shown on the declarations page of the policy.

RIDER
An attachment to an insurance policy that alters the policy’s coverage or terms.

RISK
The chance of loss or the person or entity that is insured.

SCHEDULE
A list of individual items or groups of items that are covered under one policy or a listing of specific benefits, charges, credits, assets or other defined items.

SELF-INSURANCE
The concept of assuming a financial risk oneself, instead of paying an insurance company to take it on. Every policyholder is a self-insurer in terms of paying a deductible and co-payments. Large firms often self-insure frequent, small losses such as damage to their fleet of vehicles or minor workplace injuries. However, to protect injured employees state laws set out requirements for the assumption of workers compensation programs. Self-insurance also refers to employers who assume all or part of the responsibility for paying the health insurance claims of their employees. Firms that self insure for health claims are exempt from state insurance laws mandating the illnesses that group health insurers must cover.

used in calculating premiums rates.

SEWER BACK-UP COVERAGE
An optional part of homeowners insurance that covers sewers.

SUBROGATION
The legal process by which an insurance company, after paying a loss, seeks to recover the amount of the loss from another party who is legally liable for it.

SURETY BOND
A contract guaranteeing the performance of a specific obligation. Simply put, it is a three-party agreement under which one party, the surety company, answers to a second party, the owner, creditor or “obligee,” for a third party’s debts, default or nonperformance. Contractors are often required to purchase surety bonds if they are working on public projects. The surety company becomes responsible for carrying out the work or paying for the loss up to the bond “penalty” if the contractor fails to perform.

SURPLUS
The remainder after an insurer’s liabilities are subtracted from its assets. The financial cushion that protects policyholders in case of unexpectedly high claims

SURPLUS LINES
Property/casualty insurance coverage that isn’t available from insurers licensed in the state, called admitted companies, and must be purchased from a non-admitted carrier. Examples include risks of an unusual nature that require greater flexibility in policy terms and conditions than exist in standard forms or where the highest rates allowed by state regulators are considered inadequate by admitted companies. Laws governing surplus lines vary by state.

TERM INSURANCE
A form of life insurance that covers the insured person for a certain period of time, the “term” that is specified in the policy. It pays a benefit to a designated beneficiary only when the insured dies within that specified period which can be one, five, 10 or even 20 years. Term life policies are renewable but premiums increase with age.

TERRORISM COVERAGE
Included as a part of the package in standard commercial insurance policies before September 11, 2001 virtually free of charge. Since September 11, terrorism coverage prices have increased substantially to reflect the current risk.

TOTAL LOSS
The condition of an automobile or other property when damage is so extensive that repair costs would exceed the value of the vehicle or property.

UMBRELLA POLICY
Coverage for losses above the limit of an underlying policy or policies such as homeowners and auto insurance. While it applies to losses over the dollar amount in the underlying policies, terms of coverage are sometimes broader than those of underlying policies.

UNDERINSURANCE
The result of the policyholder’s failure to buy sufficient insurance. An underinsured policyholder may only receive part of the cost of replacing or repairing damaged items covered in the policy.

UNDERWRITING
Examining, accepting, or rejecting insurance risks and classifying the ones that are accepted, in order to charge appropriate premiums for them.

UNEARNED PREMIUM
The portion of a premium already received by the insurer under which protection has not yet been provided. The entire premium is not earned until the policy period expires, even though premiums are typically paid in advance.

UNINSURED MOTORISTS COVERAGE
Portion of an auto insurance policy that protects a policyholder from uninsured and hit-and-run drivers.

VANDALISM
The malicious and often random destruction or spoilage of another person’s property.

VOID
A policy contract that for some reason specified in the policy becomes free of all legal effect. One example under which a policy could be voided is when information a policyholder provided is proven untrue.

WAR RISK
WATER-DAMAGE INSURANCE COVERAGE
Protection provided in most homeowners insurance policies against sudden and accidental water damage, from burst pipes for example. Does not cover damage from problems resulting from a lack of proper maintenance such as dripping air conditioners. Water damage from floods is covered under separate flood insurance policies issued by the federal government.

WHOLE LIFE
Insurance which provides coverage for an individual’s whole life, rather than a specified term. The oldest kind of cash value life insurance that combines protection against premature death with a savings account. Premiums are fixed and guaranteed and remain level throughout the policy’s lifetime.

WRITE
To insure, underwrite, or accept an application for insurance.