Insurance Terms Made Easy

If you’ve ever felt perplexed by insurance lingo, you’re not alone. Here are a few definitions to help clear up the confusion.

Like the law, the Silicon Valley, and the deck of a ship, insurance can get a little jargon-heavy. (Ok, a lot jargon-heavy.) Even commonly used insurance terms can sometimes leave people scratching their heads. So, now and then, we like to choose some of the more obscure insurance lingo and explain it in plain English. (You’re welcome.)

Jargon-free insurance terms


No, in this case we aren’t talking about a politician supporting a candidate or an actor touting a new wrinkle cream. In the insurance world, an endorsement (aka a rider) simply refers to a change or addition to an existing insurance policy. This might include changing your deductible, adding another person to your policy, or changing your limits — perhaps in response to a life event.

Life event

An insurance “life event” is similar to a regular “life event,” meaning a major happening (getting hitched, having a baby) that significantly changes your living situation or status. If you get married, you’ll likely want to add your spouse to your insurance policy. If you get divorced, a family member passes away, or an adult child leaves home, you might need to remove someone from your policy. Or let’s say you build an addition onto your house or acquire a lot of new household goods. This would be a good time to adjust your homeowners coverage limits.

If your life event (or just your life) leaves you with valuable assets you want to protect, an endorsement may not be enough. In that case, you might consider umbrella insurance.

Umbrella insurance

Also known as a personal umbrella policy, umbrella insurance offers broader liability coverage in situations where your regular car or homeowners insurance isn’t enough. If you’re sued and found to be at fault, for example, this coverage will kick in to help pay legal fees once your primary policy limits have been reached.

See? This insurance stuff is simple! Ok, not always, but we’re working to make it more understandable. For more jargon-free definitions, check out our full glossary of insurance terms.

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2 Responses to “Insurance Terms Made Easy”

  1. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    October 22, 2013 #

    I had pipe leaking behind bathroom wall unbeknowst to me until heard dripping and found in basement , along with mold.anyway long story short. Called insurance-have nationwide which took care of mold removal , repairs needed but when came time to renew was almost tripled in cost. Per them I had numerous claims which was lie as had house broke into but that was 15yrs ago at least. Otherwise just the one last yr. Is this a "normal"occurance to pay many yrs for insurance then when needed rates jacked up thru the roof ?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Ellen Hall
      October 23, 2013 #

      Hi Christina,
      We can’t speak for Nationwide, but in general, someone who files a claim is statistically more likely to file another. Thus, their rates will increase. If you feel the premium you’re being charged is invalid, your insurance company should be able to look into the rate, and you might be able to dispute the claims they have on their records.

      Hope this helps.

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