PROPERTY INSURANCE TERMS

Business Property Insurance Glossary

If you’re shopping for a property insurance policy, it’s good to know the fundamentals so you can make knowledgeable comparisons from one insurance company to another. It’s also important to understand some of the more frequently used terms and definitions.

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Act of God

A natural occurrence, such as earthquake or typhoon.

Actual cash value

The replacement cost of property less the accumulated depreciation for age and wear.

Contract of indemnity

Property insurance that restores the insured to his original financial condition after suffering a loss.

Increased cost of construction

Covers the additional cost of rebuilding a damaged or destroyed building where local laws require rebuilding with more expensive materials, services or methods.

Malicious mischief

The intentional damage or destruction of another person’s property. Coverage for malicious mischief typically is combined with vandalism coverage.

Named (or specified) peril

Provides protection against specified events, such as vandalism, windstorm, fire or sprinkler leakage. The policy only covers those events named in the policy and is usually cheaper because it provides less coverage.

Physical hazard

The material, structural or operational features of property. Building construction, electrical wiring and the heating/cooling system are physical hazards.

Property

Anything that has value. It can be classified as real property or personal property.


Real property

Real property is land and the permanent things on it, such as buildings, outdoor fixtures, machinery and equipment.


Personal property

Personal property is all other property that's not classified as real property, and which can be easily moved.

Replacement cost

Refers to the amount it takes to replace damaged or destroyed property with new property.

Salvage

Property that is damaged beyond repair and is taken over by an insurance company (after it has paid a claim) in order to reduce its loss by “salvaging” the remaining value of the property.

Special cause of loss

Means that the losses not covered are those that are specifically excluded in the policy.

Territorial rating

A method of classifying risks by geographic location to set a fair price for coverage.

Valued policy

Also referred to as agreed amount, means the specific amount that will be paid in the event of a complete loss.