Life Insurance Glossary

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Life Insurance Glossary
Accelerated Death Benefit
 

A provision or rider that allows to receive all or part of the benefits of your policy before you die. These benefits are paid for terminal illnesses like AIDS, organ transplant, nursing home confinement, etc. 

Accidental death benefit             

A provision or rider that pays more in case you die as a result of an accident, also called "double indemnity" 

Actuary 

An expert trained in the mathematics of insurance, responsible for the calculation of reserves, premiums, and other values. 

Assumed interest rate 

The minimum interest rate on a variable life insurance policy. 

Automatic premium loan 

If you cannot pay your premiums, the insurance company takes money from your policy’s cash value to pay the premiums, assuming there is sufficient cash value. 

Beneficiary 

The person, persons or entity designated to receive the death benefits from a life insurance policy when you die. 

Cash value 

The money that accumulates in your life insurance policy while the policy is in force that the insured can borrow. 

Decreasing term 

A term life policy in which the death benefit goes down. 

Disability benefit 

A feature of some policies for the waiver of premium if the policyholder becomes permanently and totally disabled. 

Endorsement 

An addition to a policy that modifies its benefits. 

Endowment 

A cash value policy payable to the policyholder on the maturity date, if living, or to a beneficiary at the time of the insured’s death. 

Evidence of insurability 

Statement or proof of a person’s health, finances, lifestyle, habits, or job to the extent that they affect his or her acceptability for insurance. 

Face value 

The amount on the face of the policy that will be paid by the company at death or at the maturity of the policy. The actual sum may be higher or lower depending on the options selected, outstanding policy loans or premium owed. 

Grace period 

The time, usually 30-31 days, following the premium date, during which you can pay an overdue premium while keeping your insurance policy in force throughout this period. 

Guaranteed insurability 

An option that allows the policyholder the right to buy additional life insurance at specific times in the future, without having to answer questions about his or her health. 

Guaranteed rate 

The minimum interest rate that the insurance company promises to pay to a policyholder’s cash value. 

Lapsed policy 

A policy is terminated because of failure to pay the premium(s). 

Material misrepresentation 

A significant misstatement in an application form. For example, you did not tell the truth about a situation or medical condition at the time of applying for coverage which would have caused the company to deny you insurance if they had known the truth. 

Mortality charge 

The charges a company makes against the policy to cover the policy’s share of the cost of death claims, based upon a mortality table used by the insurance company. Also called the “cost of insurance”. 

Mortality table 

A statistical table that shows how long people are expected to live under various situations. 

Nonforfeiture options 

Choices available to a policyholder when he or she discontinues a cash value policy after several years but before maturity. It may be in a cash payment, extended term insurance, or as reduced paid-up term insurance. 

Nonparticipating policy 

Policy in which the company does not distribute any of its surplus to its policyholders. 

Policy reserves 

Funds held by a life insurance company specifically to fulfill its policy obligations. 

Premium expense charges 

An amount deducted from each premium payment that reduces the amount credited to the policy. 

Rated policy 

Policy issued at a higher than standard premium to cover a person classified as a greater than-average risk, usually due to impaired health or a hazardous occupation. Sometimes called an extra-risk policy. 

Reinstatement 

The resumption of coverage under a policy that has lapsed because of nonpayment of the premium after the grace period has ended. 

Renewable term 

A term policy that guarantees the policy owner the right to renew coverage at the end of the term, without presenting evidence of insurability. 

Rider 

A written addition or amendment to an insurance policy that adds or limits the benefits payable under the policy. Common riders are accelerated death benefits, accidental death benefits, automatic premium loan, guaranteed insurability, and premium waivers. 

Surrender 

Terminating or canceling a policy before its maturity date and cashing in its cash surrender value. 

Underwriting 

The insurance company’s process for determining whom it will insure. 

Variable life 

A type of whole life policy in which the death benefit and the cash value relate to the investment performance of a separate account fund that the policyholder selects. The separate account assets are invested in bonds, money market funds, stocks, and other instructions. 

Waiver of premium 

A rider that suspends the payment of future premiums in the event you are disabled. What constitutes a disability varies. 

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