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How to Speak Insurance

Insurance-talk can be complicated. We take pride in being transparent, that starts with everyone understanding insurance terminology and definitions that are easy to comprehend.

Brokers

Insurance Brokers are on the front lines, working directly with customers to provide advice and guidance on what kinds of insurance policies are available, as well as what policy makes the most sense for each person, group or family.

Actual Cash Value/ Replacement Cost

When it comes to resolving insurance claims, there are two ways that an item or possession can be replaced. Let’s say that the item being replaced is a 10-year-old TV. If that TV is insured under a ‘replacement cost policy’, you’ll receive either a brand new version of your TV, or a brand-new version of a comparable model. If it’s covered under an actual cash value policy, this coverage takes into account how much the TV has depreciated since it was new, and you’ll receive a 10-year-old TV in response to your claim.

Policy

This is the document that details the terms and conditions of your insurance coverage.

Policy Wording

These are the written terms and conditions of an insurance policy. Usually, these terms will be agreed upon verbally first, then put on paper.

Actuary

This is someone who assesses risk and determines how likely certain events are to happen, and as a result, how much insurance premiums should cost.

Premium

A ‘premium’ is what you pay to purchase insurance.

Quote

A quote is an assessment of what your insurance will cost, based on the coverage you selected and the information you’ve provided to us. While a quote isn’t an official offer of insurance, it’s usually pretty close to what the final cost will be.

Comprehensive Policy

A comprehensive policy covers the widest range of possible perils.

Binding the Policy

After selecting your coverage, reviewing the quote, and accepting the terms, ‘binding the policy’ is the final stage, when the application for insurance is officially accepted.

Deductible

When file an insurance claim, you pay something called a ‘deductible’. A deductible is the portion of a claim that you are responsible for paying, and is chosen by you, based on the value of whatever you’re insuring.

Consequential & Direct Damage

There are two main types of damages—those that happen to your property, and those that result from the damage that happens to your stuff. It sounds complex, but it’s actually quite simple. If your laptop is damaged, that’s direct damage. If your laptop is damaged—meaning you can’t finish editing photos you owe to a client—that’s a consequential damage. Direct damages are usually covered under home insurance policies, while consequential damages may be excluded.

Endorsement

When an insurance policy changes in scope—whether something is added, removed, or modified—those changes are called endorsements.

Exclusions

Some things aren’t covered by an insurance policy, like wear and tear. These are called exclusions.

Floater

When it comes to insurance policies, there are certain caps and limits on the coverage of expensive and easily moveable items (like jewelry). When you reach the cap, and require additional coverage, you may need to take out something called a ‘floater’. A floater is an addition to your policy, which covers the value of your items that exceed your base coverage and would take care of the replacement cost of these items if something were to happen to them.

Fortuitous Event

When it comes to insurance, there is a difference between something happening by accident or chance, and something that’s done on purpose. If an accident occurs, that is a fortuitous event, and may be covered. If damage is done on purpose, or because of neglect, it is not a fortuitous event, and is likely not covered by insurance policies.

Guarantor

This is a person that vouches for you and confirms that what you say is accurate, and that you can hold up your end of the bargain.

Ice Dam

When winter hits, ice can clog your gutters, preventing snow from draining properly. With nowhere else to go, melting snow can get under the shingles and into the walls, causing substantial damage to your house. That is what we called an ice dam.

Joint Tenancy

When two or more people co-own something, and if one of those people dies, ownership passes directly to the surviving parties.

Known Loss Rule

This is a rule that prevents making a claim on something that you lost or broke before the policy started. This is also known as misrepresentation.

Mortgage Insurance

It might seem like mortgage payments last a lifetime, but in some tragic cases, they last longer than that. That is where mortgage insurance comes in. If you cannot pay off the remainder of your mortgage due to death or disability, an insurer steps in to pay off the remaining debt.

Perils

These are the forces or events that can cause damage to the thing you’ve insured. They range from common natural disasters (like lightning, wind, or hail) to the rarest (like earthquakes).

Reporting Lag

We all procrastinate, and in insurance terms, that procrastination is called a reporting lag. This lag refers to the period of time between when an incident occurs, and when that incident is first reported to us.

Subrogation

When an insurance claim involves a loss caused by a third-party, an insurance company has the right to pursue legal action on your behalf, to cover the value of that claim.

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