Insurance Terms You Should Know
To understand your insurance coverage, it helps to know the meaning of some common insurance terms. Below are simple definitions in plain English (and Spanish) of key insurance terms.
Actual Cash Value - Current market value of a piece of property. This does not include the cost of repairing property that may have sustained damage.
Aggregate Limit – No matter how many people or cars involved, this is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay on a claim.
All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Insurance - Protects All-Terrain Vehicle owners from losses or liabilities from accidents, thefts, vandalism, and natural causes. Many states require ATV insurance.
Any Automobile Insurance - Commercial insurance protection covering automobiles that a company owns, rents, or borrows.
Appraisal - An evaluation of the damage done to property.
At Fault - The person who is found to be liable for the damages from an accident.
Boat Insurance - Protect boat owners from losses or liabilities from accidents, thefts, vandalism, and natural causes.
Bodily Injury Liability - Pays for injuries to others from your actions. This pays for defense costs from legal action against you. The first amount described is typically the maximum amount your provider will pay to one injured individual. The second amount refers to the total your carrier will pay per accident, no matter how many people are hurt.
Carrier - Another word for insurance company or provider.
Collision Coverage - Pays for damage to your car, even if you’re responsible. Your provider will pay the repair costs up to the actual cash value of the vehicle before the accident.
Commercial Insurance Filing – This document indicates that your commercial insurance coverage meets government requirements. Usually sent to your state’s DMV, this can sometimes be submitted to federal agencies.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance - Covers the risks associated with commercial driving. Drivers may seek this insurance on their own or through their employer.
Comprehensive Coverage – This coverage pays for vehicle damage or other bills from things like vandalism, hail, high winds, fire, water, or theft.
Compulsory Auto Insurance – State mandated auto liability insurance that varies by state.
Deductible - Amount you're responsible for paying before your carrier pays the rest of the bill. To get lower premiums, many people take a higher deductible.
Depreciation - The decline in a property’s value from normal wear and tear.
Fleet Vehicle Insurance - AKA commercial auto insurance, this is similar to personal auto insurance, but it covers a group of vehicles owned by a single organization.
Insurance Score - Ratings used by insurance companies to determine if an applicant is a worthwhile risk. These confidential scores focus on your financial history, payment records, number of credit cards available, and if you've ever filed for bankruptcy.
Lapse of Coverage – The end of coverage because premiums have not been paid. AIS can help you get insurance even if you’ve had a recent lapse in coverage.
Liability - Legal responsibility to pay for damages from by your actions.
Liability Insurance - Pays for injuries or property damage you cause to another party.
Motorcycle Insurance - Protects motorcycles owners from losses or liabilities stemming from accidents, thefts, vandalism, and natural causes.
No Fault Insurance – When an insurance company pays for the costs from an incident no matter what party was legally responsible for the loss.
Non-Owner’s Automobiles Insurance – Also referred to as non-driver’s insurance, this is coverage that provides financial protection for damage that occurs to vehicles that you don’t own or lease.
Peril - Risk that could cause damage in the future to your property.
Per Person Limit - Maximum amount the insurance company will pay for injuries of one individual.
Personal Watercraft Coverage (PWC) - AKA watercraft insurance, this covers items like water skis.
Policy - Written contract from your insurance company which details your coverage.
Premium - Amount you must pay for your policy monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.
Principal Driver – The main person who will be driving the vehicle the most.
Property Damage Liability - Pays for third-party property damage you caused to things like fences, mail boxes, utility poles, and other vehicles.
Proof of Insurance - Identification card provided by your insurance company that identifies you as a policy holder.
Quote – An estimate given of the cost of providing coverage.
Recreational Vehicle (RV) Insurance - Protect recreational vehicles owners for losses or liabilities stemming from accidents, thefts, vandalism, and natural causes.
Rental Insurance - Pays for the cost of a replacing or repairing property damaged while living or working in a rented space.
Required Coverage – State mandated minimum amount of insurance or other financial coverage.
Under Insured Motorist Coverage - Pays for cost of injuries sustained by you, up to your policy limit if the responsible party does not have enough coverage.
Underwriting - The process an insurance company uses to determine whether an applicant is an acceptable risk.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage - Covers you and your passengers for injuries sustained because of an uninsured, or a hit-and-run driver, up to your policy limit.
Watercraft Insurance - Protects watercraft owners from losses or liabilities stemming from accidents, thefts, vandalism, and natural causes.