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, ranging from the letter G to I:

Grace period. A period (usually 30 to 31 days) following the premium due date, during which an overdue premium may be paid without penalty. The policy remains in force throughout the period.

Group insurance. Insurance issued to an employer for the benefit of employees or to members of an association.

Guaranteed insurability. An option that lets the policyholder buy more life insurance at stated times in the future without a medical exam.

Guaranteed renewable. A policy that is always renewable as long as premiums are paid. A company may raise premiums for all policyholders within a particular group.
Guaranty fund. A state fund to pay claims of insurers when a company is insolvent.

Health insurance. Insurance to pay for medical losses to individuals.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). An organization that provides a wide range of comprehensive health care services to members who prepay of a fixed periodic fee for the service.

Home health care. Includes a wide variety of services that bring care to the home: skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, personal care, and the assistance of home health aides (sometimes referred to as homemakers) with chore services.

Home inventory. A list of personal possessions, along with the date purchased, the purchase price, and any information that would help identify an item in case of loss.

Homeowners insurance. Coverage for your place of residence and its associated financial risks. Insurance to pay for losses of personal or real property and for losses resulting from perils specified in the insurance contract.

Hospice. A center for the care of terminally ill individuals who do not require the specialized technology available in hospitals. The hospice center may be within the hospital structure.

Hospitalization policy. A policy that covers the hospital expenses incurred in an in-patient hospital stay.

Indemnity income policy. An insurance policy that pays income to the insured during hospitalization.

Industrial life insurance. Life insurance issued in small amounts, usually less than $1,000, with premiums payable on a weekly or monthly basis.

Inflation guard endorsement. A special endorsement that increases the face amount of a homeowner’s policy on a regular basis to compensate for the increasing costs of home construction.

Insured. The individual who is insured against loss for health, auto, life, home, etc.

Insurability. Acceptability to the company of an applicant for insurance.

Insurance commissioner. The central figure in regulation of the insurance industry in each state who exercises judicial power in interpreting and enforcing insurance code.

Insurance examiner. The representative of a state insurance department assigned to audit and examine the affairs of an insurance company.

Issue limits. The maximum disability benefit an insurer will pay any one individual.

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