Auto Insurance Glossary

Learn the terminology, you will be one step ahead.

  • Actual Cash Value
    An amount equivalent to the fair market value of the stolen or damaged property immediately preceding the loss. For real property, this amount can be based on a determination of the fair market value of the property before and after the loss. For vehicles, this amount can be determined by local area private party sales and dealer quotations for comparable vehicles.
  • Admitted Company
    An insurance company authorized to do business in California.
  • Agent
    A licensed person or organization authorized to sell insurance by or on behalf of an insurance company.
  • Automobile Insurance
    Coverage on the risks associated with driving or owning an automobile. It can include collision, liability, comprehensive, medical, and uninsured motorist coverages.
  • Binder
    A temporary or preliminary agreement which provides coverage until a policy can be written or delivered.
  • Bodily Injury
    Any physical injury to a person. The purpose of liability insurance is to cover bodily injury to a third party resulting from the negligent or unintentional acts of an insured.
  • Cancellation
    The termination of insurance coverage during the policy period. Flat cancellation is the cancellation of a policy as of its effective date, without any premium charge.
  • Claim
    Notice to an insurer that under the terms of a policy, a loss maybe covered.
  • Claimant
    The first or third party. That is any person who asserts right of recovery.
  • Collision (Auto)
    Reimburses you for damage to your automobile sustained in a collision with another car or with any other object, movable or fixed, (for example, you accidentally backed into another object while pulling out from a parking stall and causing damage to the bumper and fender of your covered automobile).
  • Collision Deductive Waiver
    This coverage waves your collision deductible if you are hit by an negligent uninsured motorist.
  • Comprehensive (Auto)
    Provides coverage for any direct and accidental loss of, or damage to, your covered automobile and its normal equipment, to include but not limited to fire, theft or malicious mischief.
  • Comprehensive Glass Insurance
    Coverage on an “all risks” basis for glass breakage, subject to exclusions of war and fire.
  • Deductible
    The amount of the loss which the insured is responsible to pay before benefits from the insurance company are payable. You may choose a higher deductible to lower your premium.
  • Depreciation
    A decrease in value due to age, wear and tear, etc.
  • Endorsement
    Amendment to the policy used to add or delete coverage. Also referred to as a “rider.”
  • Exclusion
    Certain causes and conditions, listed in the policy, which are not covered.
  • Expiration Date
    The date on which the policy ends.
  • Good Driver Discount
    To be eligible for the Good Drivers Discount all operators of the insured vehicles must have been licensed for three or more year, have no more than a one (1) point charge on their driving record and has not been determined “at fault” in an accident resulting in bodily injury or death to any person.
  • Grace Period
    A period (usually 31 days) after the premium due date, during which an overdue premium may be paid without penalty. The policy remains in force throughout this period.
  • Insured
    The policyholder – the person(s) protected in case of a loss or claim.
  • Insurer
    The insurance company.
  • Liability (Auto)
    Coverage for a policyholder’s legal liability resulting from injuries to other persons or damage to their property as a result of an auto accident. Liability Insurance Coverage for all sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage, and sometimes other wrongs, to which an insurance policy applies.
  • Limit
    Maximum amount a policy will pay either overall or under a particular coverage.
  • Medical Payments
    Will pay reasonable expenses incurred for necessary medical and /or funeral services because of bodily injury caused by accident and sustained by you or any other person while occupying a covered automobile.
  • Policy
    The written contract of insurance.
  • Policy Limit
    The maximum amount a policy will pay, either overall or under a particular coverage.
    Premium The amount of money an insurance company charges for insurance coverage.
  • Premium Financing
    A a policyholder contracts with a lender to pay the insurance premium on his/her behalf. The policyholder agrees to repay the lender for the cost of the premium, plus interest and fees.
  • Pro-Rata Cancellation
    When the policy is terminated midterm by the insurance company, the earned premium is calculated only for the period coverage was provided. For example: an annual policy with premium of $1,000 is canceled after 40 days of coverage at the company’s election. The earned premium would be calculated as follows: 40/365 days X $1,000=.110 X $1,000=$110.
  • Property Damage
    Damage to another person’s property. The purpose of liability insurance is to cover property damage to a third party resulting from the negligent or intentional acts of an insured.
  • Quote
    An estimate of the cost of insurance, based on information supplied to the insurance company by the applicant.
  • Replacement Cost
    The cost to repair or replace an insured item. Some insurance only pays the actual cash or market value of the item at the time of the loss, not what it would cost to fix or replace it. If you have personal property replacement cost coverage, your insurance will pay the full cost to repair an item or buy a new one once the repairs or purchases have been made.
  • Replacement Value
    The full cost to repair or replace the damaged property with no deduction for depreciation, subject to policy limits and contract provisions.
  • Reinstatement
    The restoring of a lapsed policy to full force and effect. The reinstatement may be effective after the cancellation date, creating a lapse of coverage. Some companies require evidence of insurability and payment of past due premiums plus interest.
  • Short-Rate Cancellation
    When the policy is terminated prior to the expiration date at the policyholder’s request. Earned premium charged would be more than the pro-rata earned premium. Generally, the return premium would be approximately 90 percent of the pro-rata return premium. However, the company may also establish its own short-rate schedule.
  • Underwriting
    The process of selecting applicants for insurance and classifying them according to their degrees of insurability so that the appropriate premium rates may be charged. The process includes rejection of unacceptable risks.
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
    Will pay you and your passengers for bodily injury cause by a negligent uninsured motorist, a hit-and-run driver, or by a driver whose insurer is insolvent.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
    Will pay for damages to your automobile, set up to a limit, when caused by a negligent uninsured motorist.
  • Waiting Period
    A period of time set forth in a policy which must pass before some or all coverages begin.