Life Insurance Definitions
Application for insurance
This is the form on where you state information and answer questions from the insurance company about yourself and your history. This application along with information from a medical examination, if taken, from your physicians, any hospitals you may have visited and investigation are what’s used by the insurance company to decide whether or not to offer you life insurance and at what rate.
The person(s) named in the policy to receive the life insurance proceeds upon the death of the insured.
Cash (Surrender) Value
The amount that is available in cash for loans and that may be available for withdrawals in a whole life insurance, universal life insurance or survivorship life insurance policy. Accessing Cash Surrender Value may reduce the death benefit and may increase the risk of lapse.
Contestability, Contestable Clause
In an insurance there is a clause which explains the conditions under which the insurer may contest or void the life insurance policy. This contestability is for a limited period of time which in most states is two years. After that period of time the insurance company can not contest the policy.
Convertible Term Insurance
Term insurance which can be exchanged (converted), at the option of the policyowner and without evidence of insurability, for a whole life insurance policy or universal life insurance policy.
The amount stated on the face of the policy that will be paid in case of death. It does not include additional amounts payable under accidental death or other special provisions, or acquired through the application of policy dividends.
Life insurance premiums are due on a certain date, if you are late in paying, policies allow a period of time where you can still pay your premium and not lose your polcy. This is the grace period. Most policies allow a grace period of 30 days from the due date. After the grace period, if the premium is not paid, the policy can lapse i.e. be terminated by the insurance company.
Acceptability to the company of an applicant for insurance.
See owner of an insurance policy.
Insured or Insured Life
The person on whose life the policy is issued.
Key person life insurance
When one has a key person in a business without whom the business would suffer financially, key person life insurance is often purchased which helps to reimburse the company for the business loss incurred by the death of this person.
Level Premium (Life Insurance)
Life insurance for which the premium remains the same from year to year. The premium is normally more than the actual cost of protection during the earlier years of the policy and less than the actual cost in the later years. The building of a reserve is a natural result of level premiums. The payments in the early years, together with the interest that is to be earned, serves to balance out the underpayment of the later years.
The average number of years remaining for an individual to live shown at each age based on long term studies by insurance companies. These statistics as shown on charts called mortality tables..
A contract between an owner (often the insured person) and a life insurance company that guarantees the payment of a stated amount of money on the death of the insured.
Loan (Policy Loan)
A loan made by a life insurance company from its general funds to a policy owner on the security of the cash value of a policy.
Mutual life insurance company
A life insurance company owned by the policyholders. Policyholders of a mutual life insurance company may participate in the “divisible surplus” of the life insurance company as owners. They can receive dividends, most commonly on whole life policies, which can enhance the cash value, increase the insurance amount or lower premiums.
Owner of a life insurance policy
A life insurance policy can be owned by the insured person or an individual, a company or a trust with an insurable interest in the insured person. Insurable interest means there would be a financial loss by the owner in the event of the death of the insured person.
Insurance that will remain in force with no need to pay additional premiums.
A life insurance policy that is eligible for the payment of dividends by the insurer (see also Dividend.)
Permanent Life Insurance
Any form of life insurance except term; generally insurance that builds up a cash value, such as whole life. Universal life and whole life are types of permanent life insurance.
The person who owns a life insurance policy. This is usually the insured person, but it may also be a relative of the insured, a partnership or a corporation.