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Automobile Insurance - Glossary

Accidental death and dismemberment coverage:

coverage that will pay you, your family members, or other occupants of your car a set amount, under the terms of the policy, for certain serious injuries or death resulting from an accident while in your car.

Actual cash value:

an amount equal to the cost of replacing a damaged item with a new one, minus depreciation.


a person who investigates and evaluates for an insurance carrier the damages caused in an accident.


responsible for an accident.


an insurance salesperson who sells and services policies. An independent agent usually represents two or more insurers in a sales and service capacity and is paid on a commission basis. An exclusive agent or captive agent represents only one company, usually on a commission basis.


a determination made by impartial experts as to the value of property or the extent of damage.

Assigned risk plan:

a state-supervised insurance plan for people who are unable to obtain insurance coverage in the regular market. The cost of this insurance is substantially higher.


a temporary insurance contract that provides proof of coverage until you receive a permanent policy from the company. A binder is subject to the payment of a premium.

Bodily injury liability:

insurance that pays for another personís bodily injury or death in an automobile accident caused by you. It compensates those people for pain, suffering, and other personal hardships, and will also pay for some economic damages (i.e., lost wages).


an insurance salesperson who deals with agents and companies to find insurance for consumers. Cancellation: a termination of a policy before its normal expiration date.


a request for reimbursement for damages on an insured loss. Your claims to your company are first-party claims. Claims made by one person against another personís company are known as third-party claims.

CLUE report:

short for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange which keeps insurance claims history.

Collision coverage:

optional insurance that pays for physical damage caused when your own car hits another car or object, regardless of who is at fault. Collision coverage may carry a deductible -- a stated amount that you must first pay out of your own pocket.

Comparative fault:

a method of attributing fault to each driver where both contributed to the cause of the accident.

Comprehensive physical damage coverage:

pays for damage to your auto caused by fire, theft, vandalism, flood, falling objects, or hail. This coverage may also carry a deductible.


part of an insurance policy that states your obligations and those of your insurance company.

Declarations page:

the front page of your policy containing information such as the exact name of your insurance company, the policy number, your coverages, the amounts of your coverages, and your deductibles.


the amount you must pay from your own pocket for each claim or accident before the company pays on a claim. The bigger the deductible, the cheaper the coverage.


the decrease in value of your vehicle or its parts due to wear, tear, and age.


a provision in an insurance policy that denies coverage for certain losses, persons, or property.

GAP coverage:

pays for the gap between the amount due under a lease and the actual cash value of the car at the time of the accident.

Identification card:

a wallet-size card issued by your insurance company to indicate your policy number and coverage.


any legally enforceable obligation.

Liability insurance:

insurance that pays when you are liable for injuries to other Persons or damage to their property.


the maximum amount of benefits the insurance company agrees to pay on a loss.

Medical payments:

insurance that pays the medical and funeral expenses for you or any passengers riding in your car at the time of an accident. Medical payments will provide coverage whether the accident was caused by you or someone else.


failure to exercise a generally acceptable level of care and caution that results in injury or damage to a third party.

No-fault insurance:

a form of insurance available in many states under which each driver in an accident files claims for losses, such as medical expenses, with their own insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident.


the termination of the insurance contract by electing not to renew the policy at the anniversary date.

Nonstandard company:

sells insurance at high rates to drivers with poor driving records or other problems.


an event that results in an insured loss.

PIP (personal injury protection):

commonly referred to as no-fault insurance. This was designed to pay promptly -- regardless of fault or negligence -- for actual economic losses (e.g., medical expenses, lost earnings, and other reasonable and necessary expenses related to injuries sustained) to a driver or passenger injured in the car and to pedestrians injured by your car, because of its use or operation. It applies to personal injuries only, not for physical damages to the vehicle.

Policy period:

the amount of time an insurance contract or policy provides coverage.

Preferred risk:

a person or risk less likely than the average person or risk to make a claim. A preferred risk usually qualifies for a lower premium.


the amount you pay for insurance.

Proof of loss:

documents that you give the insurer to support your request for payment of losses.

Pro rata cancellation:

revocation of a policy by an insurance company that returns the unearned premium to the policyholder.

Property damage liability:

this coverage protects you from claims and lawsuits by people whose property is damaged as a result of an accident you caused.


the company voids your policy back to the beginning. There is no coverage at all and the company will return the money you paid.

Short rate cancellation:

cancellation by the insured of an insurance policy for which the returned, unearned premium is diminished by administration costs incurred when the insurance company places the policy on its books.


an individual in an insurance company who determines what insurance risks will be accepted and on what terms.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM):

provides coverage for bodily injury caused by a driver who is underinsured. It does not cover damage to your car.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI):

insurance that covers the insured and family members if injured by a hit-and-run motorist or an uninsured driver, provided the other driver is at fault.

Unsatisfied judgment fund:

a special fund which, subject to several restrictions, pays individuals for bodily injury arising out of the use of a motor vehicle for their damages if the individual obtains a judgment against the responsible party and is unable to collect on that judgment.


SR22 Insurance information, Home Owners Insurance, Health, Life, and Automobile and Insurance Policies for Morgan Hill, Gilroy and the surrounding areas San Jose, San Francisco, the Bay Area and the following California counties and cities:

Alameda County | Contra Costa County | Marin County | Monterey County | Solano County

Santa Clara County | Santa Cruz County | San Francisco County | San Mateo County

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San Benito County | San Luis Obispo County | Santa Barbara County | Ventura County

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