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Glossary

Accidental Death Benefit
In a life insurance policy, benefit in addition to the death benefit paid to the beneficiary, should death occur due to an accident. There can be certain exclusions as well as time and age limits.
Annuity
An agreement by an insurer to make periodic payments that continue during the survival of the annuitant(s) or for a specified period.
Assets
Assets refer to "all the available properties of every kind or possession of an insurance company that might be used to pay its debts." There are three classifications of assets: invested assets, all other assets, and total admitted assets. Invested assets refer to things such as bonds, stocks, cash and income-producing real estate. All other assets refer to nonincome producing possessions such as the building the company occupies, office furniture, and debts owed, usually in the form of deferred and unpaid premiums. Total admitted assets refer to everything a company owns. All other plus invested assets equals total admitted assets. By law, some states don't permit insurance companies to claim certain goods and possessions, such as deferred and unpaid premiums, in the all other assets category, declaring them "nonadmissable."
Benefit Period
In health insurance, the number of days for which benefits are paid to the named insured and his or her dependents. For example, the number of days that benefits are calculated for a calendar year consist of the days beginning on Jan. 1 and ending on Dec. 31 of each year.
Claim
A demand made by the insured, or the insured's beneficiary, for payment of the benefits as provided by the policy.
Coverage
The scope of protection provided under an insurance policy. In property insurance, coverage lists perils insured against, properties covered, locations covered, individuals insured, and the limits of indemnification. In life insurance, living and death benefits are listed.
Copayment
- A predetermined, flat fee an individual pays for health-care services, in addition to what insurance covers. For example, some HMOs require a $10 copayment for each office visit, regardless of the type or level of services provided during the visit. Copayments are not usually specified by percentages.
Deductible
Amount of loss that the insured pays before the insurance kicks in.
Earned Premium
The amount of the premium that as been paid for in advance that has been "earned" by virtue of the fact that time has passed without claim. A three-year policy that has been paid in advance and is one year old would have only partly earned the premium.
Exclusions
Items or conditions that are not covered by the general insurance contract.
Grace Period
The length of time (usually 31 days) after a premium is due and unpaid during which the policy, including all riders, remains in force. If a premium is paid during the grace period, the premium is considered to have been paid on time. In Universal Life policies, it typically provides for coverage to remain in force for 60 days following the date cash value becomes insufficient to support the payment of monthly insurance costs.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
Prepaid group health insurance plan that entitles members to services of participating physicians, hospitals and clinics. Emphasis is on preventative medicine, and members must use contracted health-care providers.
Health Savings Account
Plan that allows you to contribute pre-tax money to be used for qualified medical expenses. HSAs, which are portable, must be linked to a high-deductible health insurance policy.
Noncancellable
Contract terms, including costs that can never be changed
Policy
The written contract effecting insurance, or the certificate thereof, by whatever name called, and including all clause, riders, endorsements, and papers attached thereto and made a part thereof.
Pre-Existing Condition
A coverage limitation included in many health policies which states that certain physical or mental conditions, either previously diagnosed or which would normally be expected to require treatment prior to issue, will not be covered under the new policy for a specified period of time.
Premium
The price of insurance protection for a specified risk for a specified period of time.
Qualified High-Deductible Health Plan
A health plan with lower premiums that covers health-care expenses only after the insured has paid each year a large amount out of pocket or from another source. To qualify as a health plan coupled with a Health Savings Account, the Internal Revenue Code requires the deductible to be at least $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family. High-deductible plans are also known as catastrophic plans.
Qualifying Event
An occurrence that triggers an insured's protection.
Renewal
The automatic re-establishment of in-force status effected by the payment of another premium.
Term Life Insurance
Life insurance that provides protection for a specified period of time. Common policy periods are one year, five years, 10 years or until the insured reaches age 65 or 70. The policy doesn't build up any of the nonforfeiture values associated with whole life policies.
Underwriter
The individual trained in evaluating risks and determining rates and coverages for them. Also, an insurer.
Universal Life Insurance
A combination flexible premium, adjustable life insurance policy
Valuation
A calculation of the policy reserve in life insurance. Also, a mathematical analysis of the financial condition of a pension plan.
Waiver of Premium
A provision in some insurance contracts which enables an insurance company to waive the collection of premiums while keeping the policy in force if the policyholder becomes unable to work because of an accident or injury. The waiver of premium for disability remains in effect as long as the ensured is disabled.
Whole Life Insurance
Life insurance which might be kept in force for a person's whole life and which pays a benefit upon the person's death, whenever that might be.