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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Actual cash value: the worth of a damaged or stolen item at the time of the loss.

Additional living expense coverage : pays for some additional living costs (i.e. motel, restaurant) if you must live elsewhere while repairs are being made to your damaged home.

Adjuster : a person trained professionally to assess damage and settle your claim. The adjuster may be a company employee or under contract to the company.

All risk : losses are covered for any reason except for those specifically excluded in the policy

Appraisal : an evaluation of your property claim

Binder : a temporary or preliminary coverage until a policy can be written or delivered.

Cancellation : you or the insurance company stop coverage before your policy’s normal expiration date.

Claim : a request for reimbursement for a loss covered under the policy.

Conditions : the part of the insurance policy that explains the obligations of the insured and the insurance company under the property, for property and liability. It explains your duties in the event of a loss and how the company will settle.

Declarations page : commonly the first page of your policy containing the name of the insured, the address, the dollar amount of coverage provided, a description of the property, and the cost.

Deductible : the amount of the loss you paid out-of-pocket per claim or accident.

Depreciation: the decrease in your home’s value since the time it was built because of age or wear and tear.

Endorsement : an attachment to your insurance policy that adds to, removes or changes the original terms. You can negotiate various types of endorsements to tailor a policy to your special needs.

Exclusions : certain causes and conditions that your insurance policy does not cover.

Floater : additional coverage added to your policy to cover items such as antiques, jewelry, furs, guns, and so forth.

Guaranteed replacement cost coverage : pays for the full cost to replace or rebuild your home, even if it costs more than your policy limits.

Inflation guard coverage : an automatic annual raise in your coverage limits based on the insurance company’s estimate of rising building material and labor prices.

Liability coverage : insurance that covers for injuries to another or damage to another person’s property for which you are liable.

Limit : the maximum amount of benefits your insurance policy pays in the event of a loss

Loss: the dollar value of property damage or physical injuries.

Midterm cancellation: a cancellation that occurs during the policy term and prior to the expiration or renewal date of the policy.

Named perils: individually itemized, covered, perils stated in your policy.

Non-renewal: the refusal by a company to renew your policy when it expires.

Offer : the amount your insurance adjuster proposes to pay you for your loss

Peril : an event that causes a loss to your home and property such as fire, windstorm, and theft. Policies have two sets of perils: covered and excluded.

Personal property floater: an endorsement that provides additional coverage for furs, jewelry, stamps, coins, antiques, computer, guns, and other items that exceed the normal low limits in your home policy.

Premium: the amount of money paid for your insurance policy.

Replacement cost coverage : how much it will cost you to replace a stolen or damaged item with a comparable, new item at today’s prices.

Replacement cost guarantee : pays the full cost to repair or replace your dwelling or personal property, even if it exceeds the original cost.

Risk : has two meanings: (a) the chance of loss such as from a peril; and (b) the person that is insured by a policy.

Settlement : the dollar amount you agree to accept from the insurance company as payment for your loss.

Subrogation : a third party (e.g., the insurance company) assumes another’s legal right to collect a debt or damages.

Umbrella liability : insurance protection against losses in excess of the amount covered by other liability policies.

Underwriting : the process by which an insurance company selects and classifies risks according to their degree of insurability.

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