Glossary of Insurance Term and Services

Fallgatter Rhodes has compiled an easy to understand guide to insurance terms and services that you’ve probably heard but may not fully understand.

COBRA – a health insurance plan that allows an ex-employee to continue to be covered under the company’s health plan for a period of time and under certain conditions. The program is designed to prevent workers who are between jobs from experiencing a lapse in coverage.
Endorsement – a provision added to an insurance policy to modify its coverage.
Floater Policy – covers the loss of movable property, such as jewelry, regardless of its location.
Liability – a legally binding obligation on an individual or company to settle a debt.
Limit – the maximum lifetime benefit of a given insurance policy.
Premium – the amount paid for the purchase of insurance.

Commercial Automobile Insurance:

Insurance needed for the operation of motor vehicles. High limits of liability protection are recommended, especially in this era of high financial awards being won in the courts. Physical damage coverage is a major consideration for expensive motor vehicles.

Employee Benefits Liability:

Covers the cost to employees that results from incorrect information provided regarding their employee benefits. This does not include fiduciary responsibilities or any discrimination or harassment situations. A simple example is not providing the employee with the appropriate COBRA information following termination, which results in the ex-employee losing benefits. Coverage is provided either in a separate coverage part or as an endorsement to the CGL. Key elements of the coverage include: types of benefits covered, claims-made vs. occurrence, and the employer contribution.

General Liability Insurance:

All commercial ventures need to be liability conscious. Merely by their formation, commercial risks incur a liability exposure. Protection for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims may be insured under a commercial General Liability Insurance plan, which includes coverage for both premises and products-completed operations exposures.

Health Insurance:

Group plans, sponsored by the employer or organization for the benefit of employees or members, are available as an important fringe benefit. Individual policies may be arranged when appropriate. Premiums for this coverage are paid in whole or in part by the employer. The employer may not discriminate in offering coverage to employees – all must be offered the coverage. Employees may elect to add family members, at an additional cost, most often paid by the employee.

Homeowners Policy:

A single policy, at a discount from the cost of separate policies with identical coverage, is available to provide all of the essential property insurance and liability insurance for owners of homes and tenants of residence buildings. Homeowners policies are designed for the owner-occupant of a home to cover the dwelling building, personal possessions (other than automobiles and certain, specifically excluded items) and personal liability. A policy may also be written to provide package protection for apartment dwellers, renters of dwellings and condominium and townhouse unitowners.

Scheduled personal property endorsement or separate personal articles floater policy is frequently needed additional protection to cover value. Additional options include special computer coverage and home day care endorsements.

Life Insurance:

Particular attention should be given to adequately insuring the money value of all income providers within a family or household, to make sure the family or household has sufficient funds for living expenses, mortgages, loans, education and other financial needs in the event of the death of any one of those income providers.

Personal Auto Policy:

A personal auto policy provides protection under four coverage parts: liability, medical payments, uninsured motorists, and physical damage. Liability coverage can have either single or split-limit. Medical payments covers expenses incurred within three years of the accident. Uninsured motorists coverage is available and underinsured motorists coverage may be added by endorsement. Physical damage coverage is a single insuring agreement, with collision loss included if specified. A customizing equipment coverage endorsement is designed to extend physical damage insurance on a stated amount basis, to custom installations and modifications in and on vans, panel trucks and pickups. Endorsements are available for motorcycles, motor homes, snowmobiles and other recreational type vehicles. Coverage may be extended by endorsement for limited car use in Mexico, provided liability insurance is purchased through a licensed Mexican insurance company. A personal auto policy may be written for a named non-owner.

Worker’s Compensation and Employer’s Liability:

The first part of a worker’s compensation plan covers all injuries and diseases that must be covered according to the individual state worker’s compensation statutes. All benefits are paid in accordance with the schedule provided by the states. The second part covers the liability that may be imposed beyond the state statutes subject to the exclusions and conditions of the policy. The National Council of Compensation Insurers provides a standard form that is the model for all member companies to use. Certain states have alternatives, but all are fairly similar. The first part of coverage is mandatory and dictated by the states, however, the additional employer’s liability coverage is more insurer defined.