Car Insurance Terms and Glossary

No car insurance resource would be complete without a comprehensive glossary of car insurance terms. We’ve compiled a list of terms and their definitions to better help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of insurance

Accident – This is an unexpected sudden event that causes property damage to an automobile or bodily injury to a person. The event may be an at-fault or not-at fault and it may be report or unreported. An accident involving two vehicles may be termed a collision.

Accident report form – This is the report filed by police, often called the police report, containing the important information regarding the vehicle collision. This report will include the names of all individuals involved, vehicles involved, property damaged and citations that were issued.

Adjuster – This is the person who will evaluate the actual loss reported on the policy after an accident or other incident. They will make the determination on how much will be paid on the auto insurance policy by the Insurer.

Agent – This is a licensed and trained individual who is authorized to sell and to service insurance policies for the auto insurance company.

At Fault – This is the amount that you, the policy holder, contributed or caused the auto collision. This determines which insurance agency pays which portion of the losses.

Auto Insurance Score – This is a score similar to credit score that evaluates the information in your consumer credit report. These scores are used when determining pricing for your auto insurance policy. Negative marks on your credit report can increase your auto insurance premiums. The use of this information to determine policy pricing does vary from state to state.

Automobile Insurance – This is a type of insurance policy that covers and protect against losses involving automobiles. Auto Insurance policies include a wide range of coverage’s depending on the policy holders needs. Liability for property damage and bodily injury, uninsured motorist, medical payments, comprehensive, and collision are some of the common coverage’s offered under an auto insurance policy.

Binder – This is a temporary short-term policy agreement put in place while a formal permanent policy is put into place or delivered.

Bodily Injury Liability – This is the section of an insurance policy that covers the cost to anyone you may injure. It can include lost wages and medical expenses.

Broker – This is a licensed individual who on your behalf sells and services various insurance policies.

Claim – This is a formal notice made to your insurance company that a loss has occurred which may be covered under the terms of the auto insurance policy.

Claims Adjuster – This person employed by the insurance agency will investigate and settle all claims and losses. A representative for the insurance agency to verify and ensure all parties involved with the loss, get compensated fairly and correctly.

Collision – The portion of the insurance policy that covers damage to your vehicle from hitting another object. Objects can include but are not limited to; another vehicle, a building, curbs, guard rail, tree, telephone pole or fence. A deductible will apply. Your insurance company will go after the other parties insurance policy for these cost should they be at fault.

Commission – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that is paid to the insurance agent for selling and servicing the policy on behalf of the company.

Comprehensive – This is a portion of the insurance policy that covers loss caused by anything other than a collision or running into another object. A deductible will apply. This includes but is not limited to vandalism, storm damage, fire, theft, etc.

Covered loss – This is the damage to yourself, other people or property or your vehicle that is covered under the auto insurance policy.

Declarations Page – This is the part of the insurance policy that includes the entire legal name of your insurance company, your full legal name, complete car information including vehicle identification numbers or VIN, policy information, policy number, deductible amounts. This page is usually the front page of the insurance policy.

Deductible Amount – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that is the amount the policy holder must pay up front before the Insurance Company contributes and is required to pay any benefits. This amount can be within a wide range in price and varies from approximately $100 – $1000. The larger amount you pay in a deductible the lower your normal monthly/yearly policy will cost. This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that would be applicable only to comprehensive or collision coverage.

Discount – This is a reduction in the overall cost of your insurance policy. Deductions can be given for a variety of different reasons including a good driving record, grades, age, marital status, specific features and safety equipment on the automobile.

Emergency Road Service – This is the part of an auto insurance policy that covers the cost of emergency services such as flat tires, keys locked in the car and towing services.

Endorsement – This is any written change that is made to the auto insurance policy that is adding or removing coverage on the policy.

Exclusion – This is the portion of the auto Insurance policy that includes any provision including people, places or things that are not covered under the insurance policy.

First Party – This is the policyholder, the insured in an insurance policy.

Gap Insurance – This is a type of auto insurance provided to people who lease or own a vehicle that is worth less than the amount of the loan. Gap auto Insurance will cover the amount between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the amount left on loan should the care be stolen or destroyed.

High-Risk Driver – If you have a variety of negative marks on your insurance record including driving under the Influences, several traffic violations, etc. you may be labeled as a risk to the insurance company. This will increase your insurance policy or may make you ineligible for coverage.

Insured – The policyholder (s) who are covered by the policy benefits in case of a loss or accident.

Insurer – Is the Auto Insurance company who promises to pay the policy holder in case of loss or accident.

Liability insurance – This part of an auto insurance policy which legally covers the damage and injuries you cause to other drivers and their vehicles when you are at fault in an accident. If you are sued and taken to court, liability coverage will apply to your legal costs that you incur. Most states will require drivers to carry some variation of liability coverage Insurance and this amount will vary state by state.

Limits – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that explains and lists the monetary limits the insurance company will pay out. In the situation you reach these limits the policy holder will be responsible for all other expenses.

Medical Payments Coverage – This is the portion of an auto insurance policy that pays for medical expenses and lost wages to you and any passengers in your vehicle after an accident. It is also known as personal injury protection or PIP.

Motor Vehicle Report – The motor vehicle report or MVR is a record issued by the state in which the policy holder resides in that will list the licensing status, any traffic violations, various suspensions and./ or refractions on your record. This is one of the tools used in determining the premium prices offered by the insurance agency. This is also used to determine the probability of you having a claim during your policy period.

No-Fault Insurance – If you reside within a state with no-fault insurance laws and regulations, your auto insurance policy pays for your injuries no matter who caused the accident. No-fault insurance states include; Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington, DC..

Non-Renewal – This is the termination of an auto insurance policy on the given expiration date. All coverage will cease as of this date and insurer will be released of promised coverage.

Personal Property Liability – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that covers any damage or loss you cause to another person’s personal property.

Personal Injury Protection or PIP – This portion of an auto insurance policy pays for any lost wages or medical expenses to you and any passengers in your vehicle following an accident. PIP is also known as medical payments coverage.

Premium – This is the amount charged to you monthly, yearly or any other duration agreed upon by insurance company and policy holder and paid directly to the auto insurance company. A premium is based on the type and amount of coverage you choose for your vehicle(s) and yourself. Other factors that will affect your insurance premium prices include your age, marital status, you’re driving and credit report, the type of car you drive and whether you live in an urban or rural area. Premiums vary by insurance company and the location you live.

Quotation – This is the amount or estimated amount the insurance will cost based on the information provided to the agent, broker or auto insurance company.

Rescission.- This is the cancellation of the insurance policy dated back to its effective date. This would result in the full premium that was charged being returned.

Rental Reimbursement – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that covers the cost of an automobile rental of similar size should the covered vehicle be in repair from a reported incident.

Replacement Cost – This is the amount of money it would cost to replace a lost or damaged item at it is actually new replacement value. This monetary amount would be based on a new identical item in the current local market.

Salvage – This is the auto insurance policy holders property that is turned over tot eh insurance agency in a loss final settlement. Insurance companies will sell the salvage property in hopes to recoup some of its monetary loss due to the loss and settlement.

Second Party – this is the actual insurance company in the auto insurance policy.

Surcharge – This is the amount added to your auto insurance policy premium after a traffic violation or an accident in which you were found to be at fault.

Third Party – This is another person other than the policy holder and auto insurance company who has faced a loss and may be able to collect and be compensated on behalf of the policy holder’s negligence.

Total Loss – This is complete destruction to the insured property of a policy holder. It has been determined that it would be a great sum of money to repair the item rather than replace the insured piece of property to its state prior to the loss.

Towing Coverage – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy that covers a specified amount for towing services and related labor costs.

Under insured Driver – This is the portion of an auto insurance policy which covers injuries to you caused by a driver without enough insurance to pay for the medical expenses you have incurred from the accident. This is portion of the policy can vary state by state as some states include damage to the car in this section.

Uninsured Driver or Motorist – This is the portion of the auto insurance policy which covers injuries to you caused by a driver who was without liability insurance at the time of the accident. Uninsured driver or motorist coverage comes in two different sections; uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage. Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage covers the injuries to you or any passenger in your vehicle when there is an accident with an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage covers the cost for the property damage to your vehicle when there is an accident with an identified uninsured driver. Uninsured driver or motorist coverage must be offered when you purchase the required liability coverage for your vehicle. You must sign a declination waiver if you decline Uninsured driver or motorist coverage. The majority of states require drivers to carry some form of uninsured motorist coverage. Some states include damages to your car in this coverage.

Vehicle Identification Number or VIN – A VIN is a 17 letter and number combination that is the identification of the specific vehicle. It will identify the make, modem and year of the automobile. This number is typically located on the driver’s side window on the dash. It can also be found on the vehicles registration and title.

A Step-By-Step Reduction of Your Car Insurance Premium

That is why we wait for the sale season, use discount coupons or shop online – all in an effort to bring down our expenses. What about our car insurance premium? Is there a way to bring it down too?

We care about it. That’s we’ve made this step-by-step guide on reducing car insurance premium.

Car Insurance Premium – Saving VS Coverage

Your car insurance premium is always a considerable sum no matter how cheap your car was in terms of its cost. Being a mandatory requirement (the Motor Vehicles Act mandates a car insurance cover), the cost is unavoidable.

Thus, it is with a heavy heart that we part with our money when buying or renewing our car insurance plan.

It is possible to customize the premium amount of your car insurance policy to some extent. The idea is to not miss out on future coverage in the race of reducing premium costs for the present.

Step 1 – Determine the optimal Insured Declared Value (IDV) of your car.

The IDV of your car is in effect the maximum Sum Assured of your car insurance plan. It is the amount (calculated as the car’s market price minus the depreciation) which is payable to you if your car is stolen or your car is damaged beyond repairs.

As is obvious, the premium rate is determined on the quoted IDV. The IDV varies across insurers and so does the premium rate. The option to select the IDV is solely on you. This chosen IDV should be optimal. Too high and you unnecessarily pay a higher premium, too low and you get a small claim. A balance must be reached and an optimal level of IDV should be selected.

For selecting the optimal IDV, you can deduct the depreciation rates standardized by IRDA from the car’s market price.

Vehicle’s age Rate of depreciation

Less than 6 months 5%

6 months to 1 year 15%

1-2 years 20%

2-3 years 30%

3-4 years 40%

4-5 years 50%

Assess your IDV as per your car’s age and settle on the optimal level.

Step 2 – Consider the coverage available.

Once you have identified the IDV, look at the coverage provided by various plans. Usually a comprehensive policy has two coverage parts – third party cover and own damage cover. Also, there might be riders available which allow you to customize your plan and enhance the coverage. Special consideration should be given to such riders as adding them would increase the premium incidence.

Riders should be chosen based on your requirements. For instance, a zero depreciation cover works wonders for newer cars while an engine protect rider is helpful if monsoons causes water-logging problems in your locality and endangers your car’s engine. Cut down the frills but opt for riders which pertain to your requirement and you can substantially lower the premium.

Step 3 – Assess the optimal premium based on the cover.

The premium for a third party cover is fixed by the IRDA. It is the own damage premium which varies across insurers and is fixed on the IDV of the car. Riders too increase the premium. So, compare the different premium quotes on two parameters – the computed IDV and any additional rider benefits.

Step 4 – Utilize policy discounts and accumulated No Claim Bonus (NCB).

If you are transferring your insurance plan to a new car or renewing your car insurance plan, you can reduce your premium if you have any accumulated NCB in your previous policy. NCB is allowed if the policyholder does not make any claims in the last year. This NCB lowers the premium.

For those who are buying a new car insurance plan, there might be discounts in a policy which should be explored for reducing the premium.

Step 5 – Portability

Blindly sticking to one insurance policy when other plans are offering a lower premium for the same level of coverage is foolish. You should constantly review your car insurance plan on each renewal and if a cheaper substitute is found you should port your policy and enjoy lower premiums.

Following these steps would definitely result in a much lower premium than you were originally charged. This little nugget of wisdom is, therefore, sure to make your pockets and consequently you happy.

This Guide would help you reducing Car Insurance Premium, Optimally!

Life Insurance Policies: Term vs Permanent

When it comes to purchasing life insurance, deciding which kind of policy to buy can be a challenge. But by learning about the characteristics of available life insurance policies and working together with an experienced life insurance agent, you’ll be able to choose the right policy to protect your loved ones.

Term Life Insurance

As the name suggests, term life insurance provides coverage for a certain period of time, as specified in your policy. This means that a death benefit will only be paid out if you die within your policy’s term. Because of this central characteristic, term life insurance policies tend to be much cheaper than permanent life insurance policies–making it a very appealing option to young adults or families who can’t spend a lot on life insurance.

Though term life insurance comes in two forms–level term (pays the same death benefit no matter when you die during the term) and decreasing term (the death benefit decreases throughout the duration of the policy)–level term policies are by far the most popular.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) common types of level term policies are:

  • Annual (least popular)
  • 5 year
  • 10 year
  • 15 year
  • 20 year (most popular)
  • 25 year
  • 30 year

Many term life insurance policies are renewable, which means that you may be able to reinstate your policy after the term ends, although reinstatement may be contingent on passing a medical exam and will likely involve an increased premium. Additionally, the I.I.I. reports that most insurers will not renew a policy ending after 80 years of age.

Premiums for term life insurance are typically based on your age and health status at the time the policy is written. Some insurers guarantee your premiums to stay the same throughout the length of the term, but others may not make that guarantee (and increase your premiums throughout the term)–so be sure you’re aware of premium provisions before signing a policy.

Life insurance tip: Buying life insurance when you’re young and healthy will help you secure low premiums. Not a spring chicken? Take care of your health–stop smoking and exercise regularly to get the lowest insurance premium.

Permanent Life Insurance

Unlike term life insurance, permanent life insurance pays a death benefit whether you die they day after you sign the policy or 50 years later. Permanent life insurance policies are also appealing because of their ability to grow tax-deferred over a certain length of time–which can result in a large chunk of change. This cash value can be used in a variety of ways, providing additional benefits to policyholders and their families.

Because of these characteristics, permanent life insurance policies tend to be more expensive than term policies, which may not be conducive for young adults or families with income limitations.

Life insurance tip: Some term life policies can be converted to permanent life insurance policies, so if you’re interested in a permanent policy but can’t afford the premiums, ask your agent about term policies with this feature.

Permanent life insurance policyholders also have a wide array of policy options to choose from. The four common types of permanent life insurance are whole, universal, variable and variable-universal.

Whole life policies are the most common form of permanent life insurance and offer both a death benefit and the additional benefit of a savings account. If you buy a whole life policy, you agree to pay a certain amount for a predetermined death benefit. And, unlike a term life policy, whole life policies have the potential to earn annual dividends–which will earn interest if you let them accrue.

Universal life policies offer more flexibility, allowing you to vary how much you pay and when you make premium payments (with some limitations, of course). You may also be able to obtain a larger death benefit, provided you pass a medical exam, and like whole life policies, your universal policy may earn cash value over time.

Variable life policies incorporate a death benefit with a savings account that you can invest in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. While this may increase the value of your policy, it’s important to remember that if your investments don’t perform well, your death benefit will decrease. To avoid this, the I.I.I. says you can ask about variable policies that guarantee that the death benefit will not fall below a certain amount.

Variable-universal policies combine the features of variable and universal life policies, meaning that you have the investment options of a variable policy and the flexibility of premium payments of a universal policy.

Which Policy is Right for You?

Now that you have some idea of what policy options appeal to you, take the time to speak with a licensed life insurance professional that can answer questions and help you come closer to your life insurance decision. Because when you have all the facts, it makes finding affordable life insurance that much easier!