Property & Casualty Insurance Terms
Actual Cash Value (ACV) - The current market value of lost or damaged property at the time of a covered loss. For example, a three-year-old car's value is based on similar three-year-old cars selling on a used car lot. In a home insurance policy, actual cash value is the replacement cost of the property, less depreciation; the balance is reimbursed upon replacement of the property.
Additional Insured - An individual or organization covered by an insurance policy other than the named policyholder. In a car insurance policy, anyone who drives your car with your consent is an additional insured. In a home insurance policy, a mortgage company may be listed as an additional insured. On many business policies a clause automatically adds another entity with whom you are doing business, if you have a written agreement requiring them to be listed as an additional insured. Check with your agent to verify this based on your policy.
Additional Living Expense - If you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a covered loss, an additional living expense is any necessary increase in living expenses you incur, so your household can maintain its normal standard of living.
Antique Automobile - An antique automobile is a private passenger automobile that is 25 years old or older and has been restored, maintained or preserved by antique automobile hobbyists. Some companies offer additional coverage for tools, parts, or restricted use of fewer than 500 miles per year.
Appraisal - An evaluation by a claims representative or appraiser estimating the amount of damage to your property or vehicle, and the cost to repair the property or vehicle, or, in the worst-case scenario, the determination of a complete loss.
Basic/State Minimum Financial Responsibility Limit - The lowest coverage amount, as prescribed by law or the insurance company, for which an insurance policy can be written. In Ohio, this coverage is $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage, effective Dec. 22. The prior limits of $12,500/$25,000 bodily injury coverage and $7,500 property damage had been in place for 44 years with no changes.
Bodily injury (BI) - Physical injury to a person, including death.
Bodily injury liability coverage - Covers damage resulting in bodily injury or death sustained by others, including covered medical costs, that you become legally responsible for as a result of a covered auto accident. See
Building / additions / alterations coverage (tenant/condo only) - Pays for damages to additions, alterations, fixtures, improvements or installations that you make to your rented place of business, residence or condo.
Cameras - Cameras and accessories are covered up to the stated limit in your policy declaration. A special limit of liability for theft losses applies. For maximum protection, cameras and accessories should be insured under a scheduled personal property endorsement or personal inland marine policy.
Cancellation - Terminating an insurance contract before the specified end-date noted in the policy.
Catastrophe - A sudden, severe disaster that results in a large amount of damage and causes a high number of car and home insurance claims.
Claim- A policyholder's request for reimbursement from an insurance company under a home, auto, commercial auto, or business insurance policy for a loss to property.
Classic automobile - A classic automobile is a rare or historic private passenger automobile that is 10 years old or older (age may vary by state) and has been restored, maintained or preserved by classic automobile hobbyists. Some companies offer additional coverage for tools, parts, or restricted use of fewer than 500 miles per year.
Collision coverage- This insurance covers a loss to your vehicle caused by its impact with another vehicle or object, or damage caused by a covered weather event. The company must pay for the repair or up to the actual cash value of the vehicle, minus the deductible.
Company profile- A summary of information about an insurance company, including its license status, financial data, complaint history, and a history of regulatory action.
Comprehensive Coverage (physical damage other than collision) -Covers damage to your vehicle not caused by collision or upset (subject to deductible). Examples may include glass, theft, vandalism, flood, fire, weather events and contact with animals.
Comprehensive Perils - Coverage for all perils except the few that are specifically excluded by the policy. Some of the perils most often excluded are: flood, damage by pets, theft by members of the household, earthquakes (unless endorsed), water/sewage backup (unless endorsed), acts of war, nuclear action, radon contamination (you can contact a contractor to manage radon), infestation of vermin (call a exterminator), and intentional losses due to an action of persons who are insured on the policy (ie: arson).
Complaint- A written communication primarily expressing a grievance against an insurance company or agent.
Compulsory Auto Financial Responsibility Laws - Laws which make it illegal to operate a vehicle without first establishing the ability to pay for a judgment that may result from an accident (i.e., proof of insurance).
Conditions - Provisions that set forth the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the parties to an insurance contract.
Construction type - Refers to the construction of a building, such as your residence. For example: frame or masonry.
Continuous insurance - This occurs when a policyholder has been insured by one or more insurance companies, without any lapse in coverage, for a specified period of time.
Covered Auto(s) - Any vehicle shown in the policy declarations or, in some cases, a substitute vehicle used temporarily because of breakdown or repair of your own covered vehicle.
Credit based insurance score - Like most insurers, the companies that CA represent, use a credit-based insurance score to predict insurance losses.Studies show that considering credit creates a more accurate insurance rate. By predicting potential losses better, our insurers can provide a more appropriate rate for each customer. Other factors that are used to establish your rates are your claims history and your driving record, as reported on your MVR.
Damages - A sum of money that a party is legally obligated to pay to another as compensation for property damage or injury.
Declarations Page (also called "Dec Page")- A summary document of an insurance policy that identifies the policyholder, the property or vehicles covered, the coverages and the premium amounts. The declarations page(s) usually serves as the cover page(s) of a policy document.
Deductible - The amount a policyholder agrees to pay before the insurance company covers a loss. In addition to the standard deductible, there can be different deductibles for different types of losses such as wind, hail, hurricane or earthquake.
Depreciation - A decrease in the value of property due to wear, age or other cause. See actual cash value.
Discounts - Each company establishes their own list of available discounts. These may include multiple vehicle, multiple policy, prior insurance, senior, longevity with the company, good driver, good grades, protective safety equipment, alarms, etc.
Dwelling fire - Type of property protection for property with multiple structures, one of which may be the primary residence.
Earned premium - The portion of a policy premium that has been used to actually buy coverage, or that the insurance company has "earned." For instance, if a policyholder has a six-month policy that was paid for in advance, two months into the policy, there would be two months of earned premium. The remaining four months of premium is "unearned premium."
Effective Date - The date coverage begins under an insurance contract (policy). An endorsement, which modifies coverage, may also have an effective date.
Endorsement - Endorsements can alter, delete or add coverage, terms or provisions to an insurance policy.
Escrow - Money placed in the hands of a third party until specified conditions are met.
Excess Liability Policy - see Umbrella Policy
Exclusion - Part of an insurance contract that excludes coverage of certain risks, persons, property, or locations.
Expiration Date - The ending date of an insurance contract (policy).
Fire Insurance - Part of your homeowner's policy, insuring against direct loss by fire, lightning, and other defined causes.
Fire wall - A physical wall with qualities of fire resistance and structural stability, that controls the spread of fire.
Gap insurance- Insurance that pays the difference between the actual cash value of a vehicle and the amount still to be paid on the loan. Some gap policies may also cover the amount of the deductible.
Garaging location - The address where a vehicle is usually parked or garaged, which could differ from the policyholder's primary residence or policy mailing address. Students attending school 100+ miles from home with a vehicle should use their school address as their garaging address.
Glass Insurance - Coverage for accidental breakage to glass or vandalism. This coverage is not available in all states. Where it is not offered, damage to glass is covered under Comprehensive coverage, and subject to the applicable deductible.
Guaranteed Replacment Cost - Erie Insurance offers an exclusive "Guaranteed Replacement" rider that will guarantee that as long as you accept the cost estimate determined for your home at the time the policy is issued, your home will be repaired or rebuilt in like kind and quality regardless of the actual cost. This coverage is more comprehensive than the Replacement Cost Plus limit offered by most home policies
Identity recovery coverage - Pays up to the amount stated on the Policy Declarations for the legal obligation of an insured to pay because of theft or unauthorized use of credit cards (including Electronic Funds Transfer cards) issued to or registered in an insured's name. This coverage also applies to forged checks and counterfeit money, but does not provide identity theft coverage.
Indemnification - The act of compensating for a loss.
Inland marine - This insurance covers property that is mobile in nature and may be of high value, such as jewelry, sports equipment, fine arts, antiques, or coin or stamp collections.
Insured - The person or parties who are insured or protected by an insurance policy.
Insurer - The company that provides the insurance coverage and services on a specific policy.
Insured Location - see Resident Premises
Insuring Agreements - Part or parts of an insurance policy that state the various coverages provided by the policy.
Hazard -Situation or condition that increases the possibility or extent of a loss, such as flammable liquid kept on your property or downspouts pouring onto a driveway or walkway, or a wood-burning stove, which may increase the chance of loss from fire.
Insurance to Value -The amount of coverage provided by your policy compared with the replacement value of the property.
Jewelry, watches and furs - Additional coverage for jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones may be included in your homeowner policy, but will be subjected to limits per item and a maximum limit per loss. For the best coverage, jewelry should be covered as scheduled property on an inland marine policy, but will be subject to additional premium. You will likely have to provide an appraisal that was completed within the last 7 years, or a bill of sale to substantiate the value.
Lapse - A lapse in coverage occurs when someone goes without insurance for a period of time.
Lien - A creditor’s claim against an owner's assets to secure an unpaid debt.
Lien holder - The party who has a claim on property until the satisfaction of some debt or duty. For example, a bank is the lien holder of a car until the loan is paid.
Lease - A contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified period, in exchange for a specified rent.
Leaseholder - An individual who possesses or has use of property through a lease.
Lessee - An individual to whom a lease is granted.
Lessor - The owner of the property that is being leased by the lessee.
Liability Insurance (Auto) - For Auto: If you injure someone, or damage someone's property, in a car or other accident, liability insurance protects you for covered losses up to your liability limit.
Liability Insurance (Home) - For Homeowner: Covers bodily injury and property damage to others for which you are held liable (as provided by your policy and state law).
Limit of Liability - The amount an insurance company will pay for a covered loss, as stated in the policy.
Loss - car accident or damage to your home covered by your insurance policy, the amount sought in a claim, or the amount paid on your behalf under an insurance contract. A partial loss is a loss that does not completely destroy your property.
Loss assessment - This coverage provides reimbursement for extra fees assessed by a condominium or homeowners association. It is subject to a deductible and the limit stated in the policy.
Loss history - A history of a person's automobile or property losses. This includes both at-fault and not-at-fault claims on the subject's prior policies.
Loss of Use Insurance - Compensation for loss you incur due to the inability to use your property or vehicle.
Motor vehicle report (MVR) - The record of a person's driving history, including details of any accidents or violations, as reported to a state's department of motor vehicles.
Market value - The value of property in terms of what it can be sold for in the open market.
Medical payments (auto) - Covers reasonable medical expenses for you and your passengers in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. In your policy, this may be referred to as medical expenses or medical benefits.
Medical Payments (home) - This coverage pays the necessary medical expenses incurred within three years from the date of an accident on your property that caused bodily injury. It does not apply to the insured or regular residents of the insured's household. It is a no-fault type of coverage designed to prevent lawsuits.
Misrepresentation - Statements that are false or misleading.
Mitigation - Steps taken to prevent or reduce the amount or likelihood of loss.
Mortgage or Loss Payee Clause - A clause in your insurance policy that makes a claim jointly payable to you and your lender.
Multiple Policy Discount - Discounts can be had, as Flo says, by "bundling". Combine home, auto and life insurance with the same company for the greatest discounts.
Named Insured - The person or entity named as insureds in the policy declarations. Also called the "policyholder". Additional persons or entities may also be added as additional named insureds under certain circumstances.
Named non-owner coverage - Written for someone who does not own a private passenger or commercial automobile, but would otherwise meet the qualifications for an auto policy with the insurance company. Situations may include employer-furnished vehicles, borrowing cars from friends or relatives, or frequent use of rental cars. Not all insurers offer this type of coverage
Named perils - Covered hazards that are listed in an insurance policy.
Non-standard carrier - An auto insurance provider with underwriting standards that accept high-risk drivers or high-risk properties (vacant, currently uninsured, or have had coverage cancelled by another carrier due to frequency of claims).
Occasional driver - A driver who is not the usual or most frequent driver of the vehicle listed on an auto policy.
Occupancy - Number of people living in the property.
Ordinance or law coverage - Coverage that provides increased cost to a covered loss resulting from an ordinance or law.
PCL - "Personal Catastrophic Liability" policy. See Personal Umbrella policy.
Peril - The cause of a possible accident, loss, or claim (such as fire or wind).
Personal effects (applies to Boat and RV insurance) - This optional coverage pays to fix or replace personal property inside your RV or aboard your boat that has been lost or damaged.
Personal injury protection (auto) - Pays medical expenses to or for an insured in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. May also pay for funeral costs, lost wages and costs for household services. Coverage varies from state to state. See Also
Personal injury (property) - Provides coverage for certain damages awarded to others on behalf of the insured, such as covered claims for bodily injury caused by a slip and fall on your property.
Personal property - Property owned or used by an insured.
Personal umbrella- A personal umbrella insurance policy offers an extra layer of liability protection for your assets if there's a serious auto accident or accident on your property. Otherwise, you could be liable for more than your current auto or homeowners coverage limits.
Physical damage - visual damage to a policyholder's residential property or vehicle.
Policy - A formal written contract of insurance. The policy includes your declarations and all endorsements.
Policy Period - The period of time from the effective date to the expiration date of the policy. Home policies and business policies are usually 1 year and can begin on any date. Auto policy periods can be either 1 year or 6 months.
Policyholder - The person or persons to whom a policy is issued who agrees to pay a premium to an insurer in return for the insurer's promise to provide specified insurance protection.
Primary driver - The person who drives the vehicle most often. Also referred to as the principal driver.
Primary use - This is the vehicle's typical use. "Work" refers to a vehicle that is primarily used for commuting to and from work or school. "Pleasure" refers to a vehicle primarily used for personal errands or personal trips.
Property DamageDamage to a car or someone else's personal property resulting from an accident for which you are responsible. It may help cover the expense of repairing or replacing a car, fence or other property damaged during the covered incident.
Property Insurance - Part of home, condominium or renters insurance, this is first party personal property insurance against physical loss or damage. This also applies to business personal property and owned buildings.
Protective devices - Safety equipment designed to prevent, protect or notify you in the event of an emergency, such as fire extinguishers, dead-bolt locks, fire alarms, smoke alarms and burglar alarms.
Renewal - A policy issued to replace one that has expired.
Rental Reimbursement - Rental reimbursement coverage is optional. If you must rent a car because your own car is out of service due to a covered loss, rental coverage pays you back for money you spent on the rental car (up to the specific limit you selected at the time you purchased your car insurance). Some restrictions may apply, such as a maximum dollar amount or specific time limitations.
Renter's insurance - A renters insurance policy covers the tenant their personal possessions.
Replacement Cost (RC) - Coverage for the cost of replacing your car or property with new materials of similar kind and quality in the event of a covered loss.
Replacement Cost Plus - Replacement Cost Plus is an optional coverage that can provide additional percentage of protection above the amount the home is insured for. It is designed to protect against unforeseen increases in the cost of repairs. For even better coverage, see "Guaranteed Replacement".
Resident premises - The physical location of the property for which insurance protection is provided.
Roadside Assistance - This optional auto insurance coverage can help you if you need a tow, run out of gas or have a flat tire.
SR-22 - If you are convicted of certain traffic violations or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the state may require you to file an SR-22 document to verify that you maintain auto liability coverage.
Subrogation - When an insurance company pays money to you, for a loss caused by another person, the insurance company has the right to recover that money from the party that was legally at fault for the loss. This typically includes money paid for property damage, medical expenses and rental expenses. As part of this process, your insurer will reimburse the appropriate percentage of your deductible to you based on the amount recovered.
Supplemental heating device - A fuel-burning appliance used as secondary heating source. Includes wood, coal and pellet stoves, cook stoves, freestanding stoves, freestanding fireplaces and fireplaces with inserts. To be insured, all units must have a separate flue, instead of sharing the flue of the primary heat source. A small, portable space heating unit is not a supplemental heating device.
Tenant Insurance - See Renter's Insurance
Title - A legal document or certificate showing ownership of a vehicle.
Total Loss - An accident or event that leaves your car or home irreparable by insurance company standards.
Scheduled Property - Listing of specific personal property for a stated policyholder-determined value. This is usually considered for valuable items that are subject to limited coverage such as jewelry, guns, collectibles, or art.
Towing and Labor - Towing and Labor is an optional coverage. It pays the cost of having your car towed or repaired on site (up to a specific limit) when your car breaks down. You are covered for the on-site labor costs at the breakdown site (not any parts) needed to get the car running again. Some restrictions may apply, such as maximum dollar amount allowed per claim or specific distance limitations, among other items.
Umbrella policy (also called "excess liability policy" or "catastrophic liability policy") - A personal umbrella insurance policy offers an extra layer of liability protection for your assets if there's a serious auto accident or accident on your property. Otherwise, you could be liable for more than your current auto or homeowners coverage limits.
Uninsured and/or underinsured bodily injury coverage - This type of coverage may protect against drivers without insurance, and/or drivers with insufficient policy limits to reimburse you for damages they caused. This coverage typically pays the difference between the amount recovered from the other driver and the amount of the damages, up to the limit of the policy. Depending on the state where you are seeking coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may be sold individually or combined into one coverage.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists Property Damage - Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists coverage provides protection in the event damage is caused by a motorist who has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover the loss. This type of coverage varies from state to state.
Vehicle identification number (VIN) - Your vehicle's unique 17-character VIN can be found on the dashboard and driver's side door jamb. This unique serial number is also included on your vehicle's registration form and insurance card.
Water backup of sewers or drains - Optional coverage for loss due to water backup through sewers or drains. We feel this is very important for homeowners as well as renters.
Wind deductible - A separate deductible that applies only to covered wind losses. This is an option on many policies and by choosing a higher deductible for this peril, your premiums will be lower.
Windstorm or hail coverage - Provides coverage for losses as a result of windstorm or hail. However, this coverage may be subject to special terms, conditions and deductibles. The windstorm or hail peril may be excluded entirely.