Glossary of Important Insurance Terms

Crunching numbers

Knowing the terminology helps when trying to make the best choices.

If you aren't familiar with the insurance terms used in discussing your options, making choices can be difficult. Here's a little refresher:

Deductible: The portion of a claim you pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays. Choosing a higher deductible will lower your insurance premiums.

Depreciation: The decrease in value of any property due to wear, tear and/or time. Generally, this is not compensable.

Lienholder: A person or organization that lent the money to purchase a vehicle. The lienholder has a financial interest in the car up to the amount of the money borrowed or still owed, whichever is less.

The Coverages

Comprehensive Coverage: Pays for damage to your car from theft, vandalism, flood, fire or other covered perils.

Collision Coverage: Pays for damage to an insured vehicle when it hits or is hit by another car or object, or if the car overturns. Coverages are subject to the terms and conditions of your policy contract. Consumers with older vehicles typically do not have comprehensive/collision coverage. New-car buyers will want this coverage.

Bodily Injury Liability: If you hurt someone with your car, this pays for the medical bills, pain and suffering and even loss of income to the victim. If you're sued because of the accident, this coverage pays your legal fees.

Property Damage Liability: If you damage another car, hit a building or run into a lamp post, this covers replacement costs or repairs.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: If you get hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance — or doesn't have enough insurance — this will pay for medical costs, loss of income and even funeral costs for you and any passengers in your vehicle.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: In some circumstances, this may pay for property damage caused by an uninsured or in some states an underinsured driver. In some cases it also includes coverages for underinsured motorists and at-fault drivers with insufficient insurance to pay your claim. This coverage differs by state.

Medical: Pays for medical bills and some funeral expenses for you or anyone in your car, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. It also covers you if you're hurt in someone else's car.

Pre-Deployment Checklist

When you need to deploy and you're short on time, this list can help.

Legal Matters

  • Power of Attorney
  • Will
  • Living Will
  • Safe Deposit Box

Financial Matters

  • Bank/Credit Union
  • Savings
  • Checking
  • Direct Deposit
  • Taxes
  • Account Numbers
  • Computer Passwords
  • Creditors

Property Matters Home

  • Insurance
  • Appliances
  • Heating/AC
  • Water Heater
  • Water/Gas Mains
  • Fuse Panels
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Emergency Kit
  • Security/Alarm
  • Spare House Keys
  • Phone Numbers


  • Insurance
  • Auto Storage Plans
  • Discounts
  • Maintenance
  • Emergency Kit

Personal Matters

  • Military IDs
  • DEERS Enrollment
  • Tricare Status
  • Family Support Groups
  • Ombudsman
  • E-mail Addresses

Don't Wait Until Theft or Disaster Strikes

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