The Collaborative International Dictionary
Insurance \In*sur"ance\, n. [From Insure.]
The act of insuring, or assuring, against loss or damage by a contingent event; a contract whereby, for a stipulated consideration, called premium, one party undertakes to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by certain specified risks. Cf. Assurance, n., 6.
Note: The person who undertakes to pay in case of loss is termed the insurer; the danger against which he undertakes, the risk; the person protected, the insured; the sum which he pays for the protection, the premium; and the contract itself, when reduced to form, the policy.
The premium paid for insuring property or life.
The sum for which life or property is insured.
A guaranty, security, or pledge; assurance. [Obs.]
The most acceptable insurance of the divine protection.
Hence: Any means of assuring against loss; a precaution; as, we always use our seat belts as insurance against injury.
Accident insurance, insurance against pecuniary loss by reason of accident to the person.
Endowment insurance or Endowment assurance, a combination of life insurance and investment such that if the person upon whose life a risk is taken dies before a certain specified time the insurance becomes due at once, and if he survives, it becomes due at the time specified. Also called whole life insurance.
Fire insurance. See under Fire.
Insurance broker, a broker or agent who effects insurance.
Insurance company, a company or corporation whose business it is to insure against loss, damage, or death.
Insurance policy, a certificate of insurance; the document containing the contract made by an insurance company with a person whose property or life is insured.
Life insurance. See under Life.
In insurance, the insurance policy is a contract (generally a standard form contract) between the insurer and the insured, known as the policyholder, which determines the claims which the insurer is legally required to pay. In exchange for an initial payment, known as the premium, the insurer promises to pay for loss caused by perils covered under the policy language.
Insurance contracts are designed to meet specific needs and thus have many features not found in many other types of contracts. Since insurance policies are standard forms, they feature boilerplate language which is similar across a wide variety of different types of insurance policies.
The insurance policy is generally an integrated contract, meaning that it includes all forms associated with the agreement between the insured and insurer. In some cases, however, supplementary writings such as letters sent after the final agreement can make the insurance policy a non-integrated contract. One insurance textbook states that generally "courts consider all prior negotiations or agreements ... every contractual term in the policy at the time of delivery, as well as those written afterwards as policy riders and endorsements ... with both parties' consent, are part of written policy". The textbook also states that the policy must refer to all papers which are part of the policy. Oral agreements are subject to the parol evidence rule, and may not be considered part of the policy if the contract appears to be whole. Advertising materials and circulars are typically not part of a policy. Oral contracts pending the issuance of a written policy can occur.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
n. A legal document outlining a particular insurance cover for an insured entity for a given risk.