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Insurance Glossary - Understanding Common Terms

Our glossary is divided alphabetically by insurance term in a quick reference guide to assist understanding the language commonly used by insurance companies. Policy documents contain a number of these terms because they typically define the limitations of risk and liability on the insured and any exclusions of coverage.

If you plan to start a new policy or renew your current policy with a different carrier or agency, it is important to review and understand the policy differences behind individual quotes from multiple carriers.  Lower policy premiums may be the result of decreased payout benefits, higher deductibles, or maximum damages allowed.  It is important to identify these unique features in any policy comparison, otherwise a lower price may come at a much higher cost when you have to file a claim for loss or damages in the future.

Select the first letter of the word or term to locate a definition and brief description.  For example, to get help with the terms "Automobile Liability Insurance" or "Premium", select either the letter A or P from the menu bar below: 

Insurance Glossary: Terms that Begin with the Letter 't'

Table of Multiples

The life expectancy figures provided by the Internal Revenue Service to be used in calculating the exclusion ratio for life contingent annuities after June 30, 1986. Separate tables provide the figures for joint and last survivor annuities, annuities that contain a refund or minimum payment guarantee, and for annuities that pay quarterly, semiannually, or annually.

Tail Coverage

Coverage for claims made after a claims-made policy has terminated; the extended reporting or discovery period. See Nose Coverage.

Tax Basis

The cost from which your profits or losses are calculated for income tax purposes.

Taxable Estate

The value upon which estate taxes are calculated by the federal government.

Temporary Life Annuity

An annuity payable while the annuitant lives but not beyond a specified period, such as five years. No payments are to be made after the end of the stipulated temporary period or the death of the annuitant.

Ten Day Free Look

A notice on the first page of health insurance policies that the insured has ten days in which to examine the policy and return it for a refund of premium if he is not satisfied with the policy.

Tenants in Common

A form of joint property ownership in which the owners may have unequal shares and which does not involve a right of survivorship. See also Joint Tenants

Term Life Insurance

Life insurance payable to a beneficiary only when an insured dies within a specified period. The coverage expires without value if the insured survives the stated period.

Testamentary Trust

A trust created through the will of its creator.

Theft, Disappearance and Destruction of Money and Securities Ins

Coverage designed to provide protection against financial loss for loss of money and securities resulting directly from theft (any act of stealing), disappearance and destruction. Coverage applies while the money and securities are on the insured's premises, while in the custody of the insured or the insured's messenger while conducting business at the bank, and while off the insured's premises in the custody of the insured or the insured's messenger.

Third Party

The claimant under a liability policy. So called because the person making the claim is not one of the two parties, insured and insurer, to the insurance contract.

Third Party Claim

A demand made by a third party against a policyholder of an insurer and any payment that will be made by that company.

Third-Party Over Suit

A lawsuit where a third party tries to recover damages assessed against that party by bringing suit against his or her employer.


The point, measured in money, time or other ways, beyond which tort liability can be established. Until that point is reached, reparations must be paid within the provisions of the no-fault plan, with no recourse to the courts.

Time Element Insurance

Coverage designed to provide insurance for a covered incident resulting in loss of use of property for a period of time. For example: Business Interruption and Extra Expense insurance.

Time Limit

The period of time during which a notice of claim or proof of loss must be filed.

Time Limit on Certain Defenses

The 2-year or 3-year time period in health insurance policies after which the insurer cannot deny a claim or void a policy because of pre-existing conditions or misstatements on the application.

Time Value of Money

The income that can be gained over time by holding money, such as interest income or dividends.


A whirling wind over land, accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud. It is usually very violent and destructive in a narrow path, often for many miles.


A civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, for which a court of law will afford legal relief, e.g. harming another by an act of negligence in driving an auto.

Total Disability

An illness or injury which prevents an insured person from continuously performing every duty pertaining to his/her occupation or engaging in any other type of work.


Any arrangement under which the accumulated benefit credits of a terminating participant, or their actuarial value, are transmitted from one plan to another, or to a central agency.

Transit Insurance

Coverage of the insured's property while in transit over land from one location to another. Property insurance policies typically provide coverage only at locations identified in the policy. See also Inland Marine Insurance.

Travel Accident Policy

A limited contract covering only accidents while an insured person is traveling, usually on a commercial airline carrier.


An agreement between a reinsurer and a ceding insurer setting forth details of the reinsurance arrangement.


A legal instrument allowing one party to control property for the benefit of another.


The practice of inducing by misrepresentation, or inaccurate or incomplete comparison, a policyholder in one company to lapse, forfeit or surrender his insurance for the purpose of taking out a policy in another company.

Don't see an insurance term listed here?  Ask Customer Service for assistance.