Insurance terms


Actual cash value: cost of replacing the property minus an allowance for depreciation.

Adjuster: person who works for an insurance company and is responsible for evaluating losses and settling or concluding a claim; also called a claim representative.

Aftermarket parts: auto parts used to repair or replace a vehicle's original parts produced by companies other than the original equipment manufacturer. Often they are less expensive than manufacturer's replacement parts. This helps insurers control costs and keep premiums lower.

Agent: person who sells insurance. Independent agents are self-employed and represent more than one insurance company. Captive or exclusive agents are employed by and represent only one insurance provider.


Bodily injury coverage: covers injuries the policyholder causes to someone else; may also cover legal defense fees.


Catastrophe: single incident or series of closely related incidents causing severe property losses, such as a hurricane or tornado.

Claim: request by a person or business seeking to recover costs from an insurance company for a loss that may be covered by an insurance policy.

Collision coverage: coverage for losses to your own vehicle caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. This coverage doesn't cover bodily injury or property damage liability resulting from the collision.

Commission: the percentage of policy premium paid by the insurance company to an agent.

Comprehensive coverage: covers physical damage caused by events other than collision. These include fire, theft, vandalism, falling objects, flooding and other causes of loss.


Deductible: amount you are responsible for paying toward your claim. Policies with higher deductibles cost less.

Depreciation: loss of property's value because of wear and tear and age.


Exclusion: provision in an insurance policy eliminating coverage for select risks, people, locations, situations or property classes. For example, private insurers don't cover damages from flooding for homeowners and commercial property policies. Flood coverage can be purchased from the federal government.


Flood insurance: coverage for damage from flooding. This coverage is excluded from QBE's homeowners and commercial property policies and included under our auto insurance policy. Flood insurance can be purchased from the federal government under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Fraud: intentionally lying or concealing information to obtain payment of an insurance claim or lying or misrepresentation by insurance company personnel for financial gain.


Graduated driver licenses: licenses for younger drivers that may include restrictions, such as night driving, depending on state.


Homeowners insurance: typically covers the house, garage and other structures on the property and personal possessions inside the house against a number of perils including windstorms, fire and theft. Also includes coverage for additional living expenses or loss of use and liability. Extent of coverage depends on policy.


Identity theft insurance: coverage for expenses resulting from identity theft. Covered expenses may include: lost income resulting from time away from work to meet with law enforcement or credit agencies, attorney fees, long-distance phone calls to creditors or law enforcement, and more.

Insurance: a method of pooling risks of many individuals and businesses and transferring them to an insurance company or other large group in exchange for a premium.

Insurance score: number resulting from an analysis of one's credit history as determined by independent credit bureaus. The number is not affected by income, race, marital status, etc. Score may be reviewed by auto and home insurers when rating insurance policies.


Liability: insurance to cover costs the policyholder is obligated to pay because of bodily injury to others or damage to the property of others.

Limits: the most an insurance company will pay for a specific insurance coverage.

Loss of use: a provision in homeowners and renters insurance policies that reimburses policyholders for extra living expenses resulting from having to live elsewhere while their home is restored following a disaster.


Policy: written contract for coverage between you and the insurance company.

Premium: the price an insurance company charges for insurance protection.

Property and casualty insurance: covers damage or loss of property and legal liability for damages caused to others or their property. This includes auto, homeowners and commercial (business) insurance.

Property damage coverage: coverage that pays up to certain limits if your property is damaged, destroyed or can no longer be used.


Renters insurance: type of insurance that insures a policyholder's belongings against damages or theft and provides personal liability coverage for damage the policyholder or dependents cause to third parties and loss of use coverage.

Replacement cost: the cost to repair or replace property using new materials of like kind and quality. No deduction for depreciation.

Risk: the possibility of loss for the person or object that is insured.


Settlement : part of the claims process, this occurs when a claim payment is determined by the insurance company and agreed upon by the policyholder or other party.


Umbrella policy: coverage for losses beyond the limit of a homeowners or auto insurance policy.

Underinsured motorists coverage: if another driver is responsible for an accident that causes injuries to you or your party and the damages are more than that motorist's limits of liability, this coverage will pay the additional costs up to a certain amount.

Underwriting: process of examining, accepting or rejecting insurance risks and monitoring those accepted to determine appropriate premiums.

Uninsured motorists coverage: coverage that pays up to certain limits when an accident resulting in bodily injury to you or others is caused by a motorist who doesn't have insurance coverage.