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Understanding Terms: Glossary

When going about shopping for the right policy or making sure your policy protects you in the ways you need, it is important to understand insurance terms used. In educating yourself about the legal jargon employed by the insurance companies, you can be better prepared to combat an unfair claim payment or prevent your policy from being hijacked by vague language.

Below, courtesy of the University of Illinois, is a glossary of insurance terms from the letter C:

Case management. An approach designed to provide effective treatment to meet the specific needs of people with serious medical problems. Benefits not traditionally covered (for example, medical equipment) may be provided to promote cost-effectiveness.

Cash value (Cash surrender value). The amount available in cash to be borrowed against or obtained in cash if a life insurance policy is canceled.

Catastrophic. Caused by a great and sudden misfortune such as a serious accident or illness.

Chore Services. Minor household repairs, cleaning, meal preparation, and yardwork.

Chronic illness. An illness marked by long duration or frequent reoccurrence such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and hypertension.

Claim. A formal notice to an insurance company requesting payment of an amount under the terms of a policy.

Coinsurance. A clause or provision that requires the insured to share in a certain percentage of medical expenses such as 80/20 or 90/10 (the insurance company pays 80%/90%; the insured pays 20%/10% of expenses), sometimes called co-insurance.

Collision insurance. Insurance to pay for damages to one’s own car in case of an accident.

Comprehensive auto insurance. Insurance to cover losses resulting from a stolen car or for repairs if the car is hit by a falling object or damaged by fire, flood, or vandals.

Comprehensive major medical insurance. A policy offering the coverage of both a basic and a major medical health insurance policy. It is characterized by a low deductible amount, a coinsurance feature, and high maximum benefits.

Convertible term insurance. Term insurance giving the consumer the right to exchange it for cash value insurance without a medical exam.

Coordination of Benefits (COB). The specific term used to describe how benefits will be paid when a consumer has more than one health insurance policy. The two policies combined cannot pay more than 100 percent of total allowable expenses.

Co-payment. An amount insured must pay in order to receive a service, which is not fully prepaid.

Cost sharing. Policy provisions that require individuals to pay, through deductibles and co-insurance, a portion of their health insurance expenses.

Covered expenses. Those specified expenses paid for under the terms of a specific policy.

Credit life insurance. Term life insurance issued through a lender or lending agency to repay the lending institution if the borrower dies.

Custodial Care. Assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, taking medicine, and similar personal needs. People without medical skills or training can provide custodial care.

Customary and reasonable. A charge that does not exceed the regular or normal charge for a given service in a locality where it is provided.