Definitions of Insurance Terms

Actual Cash Value: The fair market value of property; technically, replacement cost minus depreciation.

Agent: An individual who acts as a representative for the company and sells insurance, usually on a commission basis. This individual could be an exclusive or non-exclusive agent.

Arbitration: A process of settling a dispute through an impartial party. It is used as an alternative to litigation.

Claim: Any request or demand for payment under the terms of the insurance policy.

Claimant: Individual or entity presenting a claim.

Claim Adjuster: A person responsible for investigating and settling a claim.

CLUE® Report: Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report; provides claim history information.

Collision Coverage: Pays for damage to an insured vehicle when it hits or is hit by another car or object, or if the car overturns. This coverage is subject to the terms, limits, and conditions of your policy contract.

Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage: Pays for damage to your car from theft, vandalism, flood, fire, or other covered perils. This coverage is subject to the terms, limits, and conditions of your policy contract.

Declarations: The part of your policy that includes your name and address; the property that is being insured, its location and description; the policy period; the amount of insurance coverage; and the applicable premiums. Deductible: The portion of a claim you pay out-of-pocket. Choosing a higher deductible will lower your insurance premiums.

Depreciation: The decrease in value of any property due to wear, tear, and/or time. Generally, depreciation is not an insurable loss.

Endorsement: An addition to the basic policy contract. An endorsement adds to the policy contract; an amendment alters it.

Field Adjuster: An insurance adjuster who works primarily outside of an office and often meets personally with the public. Field adjusters can conduct face-to-face meetings, negotiations with claimants, scene investigations, and damage inspections.

Floater: An add-on to your insurance policy to cover specific items that may be undercovered or excluded in your standard policy.

Hazard: Anything that increases the chance of an accident occurring.

Homeowners Insurance: Protects homeowners from losses to their homes, personal property, and some types of damage or injury to others for which the homeowner is liable. Homeowners insurance is subject to the terms, limits, and conditions of the policy contract.

Independent Adjuster: An individual who estimates losses on behalf of an insurance company, but is not an employee of that company.

Inspection: Verification of a vehicle's physical condition.

Insurance Score: Used in the underwriting process in some states. An individual's insurance score is frequently based, in part, on a person's credit history.

Insured: A person or organization covered by an insurance policy.

Insurer: An organization that provides insurance.

Liability: Any legally enforceable obligation or responsibility for the injury or damage suffered by another person.

Limit: The maximum amount of protection purchased by the insured for a specific coverage.

Loss: Any measurable dollar cost of damage and/or injury suffered by a person.

Loss of Use: Compensation to a third-party claimant for financial consequences resulting from the inability to use property as the result of accident-related damage.

Peril: A danger or hazard that can cause a loss, for example, a car collision with an object, or a fire.

Personal Property: Property that is not land or connected to land (real estate), such as furniture or jewelry.

Policy: A contract between you and the insurance company.

Premium: The price of the insurance policy that the insured pays in exchange for insurance coverage.

Property Damage Liability Coverage: Pays for damage to someone else's property resulting from an accident for which you are at fault and provides you with a legal defense. This coverage is subject to the terms, limits, and conditions of your policy contract.

Umbrella Insurance: Provides high limits of additional liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners and auto policy. In addition, it provides coverage that may be excluded by other liability policies.