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Indiana Department of Insurance

IDOI > Consumer Services > Glossary Glossary

The primary role of the IDOI Consumer Services Department is to protect consumers from illegal insurance practices by ensuring that insurance companies and producers that operate in Indiana act in accordance with State insurance laws. We are here to assist you with your insurance inquiry or complaint about health, life, automobile, and property and casualty insurance.

What is a Consumer?

A consumer is anyone who purchases any type of insurance.

What is a Provider?

A provider is a doctor or hospital providing services to a consumer.
To check the license of a provider Professional Licensing Agency

Insurance Terms

To find a complete list of commonly used insurance terms
Link to AM Best Glossary of Terms

Basic Insurance Types

Annuities are very similar to CDs offered by banks. Just like banks, inisurance companies offer different rates and returns on annuity investments. Annuities are offered by insurance companies and sold through licensed agents. The insurance company must be evaluated and licensed in your state, as does the agent. State insurance commissions scrutinize insurance companies to ensure they have reserve funds, commonly referred to as a State Legal Reserve Pool, in place to protect investors before granting insurance companies licenses. If an insurance company goes out of business, other insurance companies licensed within the state must assume the bankrupt insurers obligations and liabilities. Note, that this protection protects fixed-rate annuity holders only, with some protection afforded to variable annuity owners.

Advantages of Annuities:

All annuities have three primary advantages: Tax Deferral, Avoidance of Probate, and a Guaranteed Income (optional) for a fixed period of time, or income for life.

More specific reasons to invest in fixed and immediate annuities:

  • You need to safely create wealth for your heirs
  • You need tax-deferred growth
  • You need your principal and interest guaranteed
  • You need your heirs to avoid probate upon your death
  • You need an increased death benefit
  • You need stock-market linked gains without the downside risk
  • You have money that is designated for inheritance
  • You do not need more than 10% liquidity annually

Automobile Insurance - is insurance purchased for cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Its primary use is to provide protection against losses incurred as a result of traffic accidents and against liability that could be incurred in an accident.

Health insurance is insurance that pays for medical expenses. It is sometimes used more broadly to include insurance covering disability or long-term nursing or custodial care needs. It may be provided through a government-sponsored social insurance program, or from private insurance companies. It may be purchased on a group basis (e.g., by a firm to cover its employees) or purchased by individual consumers. In each case, the covered groups or individuals pay premiums or taxes to help protect themselves from high or unexpected healthcare expenses. Similar benefits paying for medical expenses may also be provided through social welfare programs funded by the government.

By estimating the overall risk of healthcare expenses, a routine finance structure (such as a monthly premium or annual tax) can be developed, ensuring that money is available to pay for the healthcare benefits specified in the insurance agreement. The benefit is administered by a central organization such as a government agency, private business, or not-for-profit entity.

Home/Property Insurance - As the name implies, most types of homeowners insurance are for owner-occupants of traditional one or two-family homes. However, some policies are designed for renters. Others are tailored for condominium dwellers.

Basically, a homeowners insurance policy will cover your family's personal belongings, as well as your home. The policy also will cover the contents of your home, such as furniture, appliances, rugs, clothing, etc. The amount of insurance protection on contents usually is 50% of the amount of coverage on the dwelling. For example, if your policy provides $50,000 insurance on your home, your contents will be insured for $25,000.

Life Insurance or Life Assurance - is a contract between the policy owner and the insurer, where the insurer agrees to pay a sum of money upon the occurrence of the insured individual's death or other event, such as terminal illness or critical illness. In return, the policy owner agrees to pay a stipulated amount called a premium at regular intervals or in lump sums. There may be designs in some countries where bills and death expenses plus catering for after funeral expenses should be included in a Policy Premium. In the United States, the predominant form simply specifies a lump sum to be paid on the insured's demise.

As with most insurance policies, life insurance is a contract between the insurer and the policy owner whereby a benefit is paid to the designated beneficiaries if an insured event occurs which is covered by the policy.

The value for the policyholder is derived, not from an actual claim event, rather it is the value derived from the 'peace of mind' experienced by the policyholder, due to the negating of adverse financial consequences caused by the death of the Life Assured.

To be a life policy the insured event must be based upon the lives of the people named in the policy.

Insured events that may be covered include:

  • Serious illness

Life policies are legal contracts and the terms of the contract describe the limitations of the insured events. Specific exclusions are often written into the contract to limit the liability of the insurer; for example claims relating to suicide, fraud, war, riot and civil commotion.

Life-based contracts tend to fall into two major categories:

  • Protection policies - designed to provide a benefit in the event of specified event, typically a lump sum payment. A common form of this design is term insurance.
  • Investment policies - where the main objective is to facilitate the growth of capital by regular or single premiums. Common forms (in the US anyway) are whole life, universal life and variable life policies.
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Insurance Classifications

Class I

  1. Life and Annuities
  2. Accident and Health
  3. Variable Life and Annuities (Segregated Accounts)

Class II

  1. Accident and health - Disability
  2. Workers Compensation
  3. Burglary, Theft
  4. Glass
  5. Broiler and Machinery
  6. Automobile
  7. Sprinkler
  8. Liability
  9. Credit
  10. Title
  11. Fidelity & Surety with Bail bonds
  12. Fidelity & Surety with out Bail bonds
  13. Miscellaneous
  14. Legal Expenses

Class III

  1. Fire, Windstorm, Hail, Loot, Riot
  2. Crops
  3. Sprinkler
  4. Marine

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