Auto insurance terms and definitions

Here's a handy reference for auto insurance terms and definitions to help you with this chapter.

Auto insurance score: Like a credit score, this score is based on information found in a consumer's credit file. Insurance companies consider auto insurance scores when pricing policies. Having black marks on your credit report could really bump up your auto insurance costs.

Binder: A temporary insurance contract that provides proof of coverage until a permanent policy can be issued.

Bodily injury liability: The part of an auto insurance policy that pays for injuries you may cause another driver or pedestrian. It includes medical expenses and loss of wages.

Collision: The part of an auto insurance policy that pays to get your car repaired after a collision with another vehicle or an object, such as a fire hydrant or utility pole. It is collision insurance that will get your insurance company to seek out another driver's insurance company to pay for repairs if they were at fault. A deductible amount will apply.

Comprehensive: This part of an auto insurance policy covers damages to your car caused by something other than a crash: a vandal breaks in, a tree falls on it or floodwaters engulf it. A deductible amount will apply.

Declarations page: The front page of an auto insurance policy listing the name of your insurance company, your policy number, your coverage, the cost of the coverage and your deductibles. This page also lists the vehicles insured on the policy as well as vehicle identification numbers (VIN).

Deductible amount: The amount of money a policyholder must pay before an insurance company steps in and pays the rest. Deductible amounts range from $100 to $1,000. The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium or cost. A higher deductible also means you'll have to pay more money out of your own pocket if an accident, theft or another covered incident should occur.

Discount: A reduction in the cost of your auto insurance premium. Insurance companies offer discounts for everything from a teenage driver's good grades to a car's safety equipment, including airbags, anti-lock brake system and a security alarm.

Emergency road service: This part of an auto insurance policy pays for the cost of having your car towed after it breaks down.

Exclusion: A provision in an insurance policy that denies coverage for certain losses, locations, people and properties.

Gap insurance: A type of insurance offered to auto lease and loan customers that owe more on a car than it's worth. Gap insurance pays the difference between what you owe and the actual cash value of a vehicle in the event the car is stolen or destroyed.

High-risk driver: If you have accidents or tickets on your driving record, many insurance companies will classify you as a high-risk driver and charge you more for insurance.


Show Bankrate's community sharing policy

Connect with us