Glossary Of Terms

Life Insurance can be complicated. We have a variety of articles that can help. Even then, our customers tell us that – sometimes – the most confusing part of life insurance isn’t the policies or products themselves, rather the terminology. So we put together some common terms you’ll run across as you look for the policy that is perfect for you. The terms below are ordered from most common to more advanced. Feel free to print these out and have them handy as you talk to one of our partner Life Insurance agents. Once you’ve mastered these, give us some basic information and we’ll match you with a licensed life insurance professional.


Information provided by a customer that helps agents and carriers assess risk in a policy to determine the proper product, policy, and premium that a customer needs.


The person or persons to whom the Death Benefit will be paid to upon Insured’s death.


The actual company that issues a life insurance policy to a consumer.

Cash Surrender Value

Accumulations of cash in a side fund within an insurance policy that may be available for borrowing or return upon surrender of a policy.

Cash Value

In certain life insurance products, the amount of cash within an insurance policy that builds in a side fund.

Death Benefit (also known as Face Amount)

The amount that will be paid out upon the Insured’s death.


This is the person that is insured by the life insurance policy.


If a life insurance policy’s premiums are not paid in time, the policy will be terminated by the carrier.

Level Premiums

Premiums that remain constant through the life of the policy.

Licensed Life Insurance Agent

An individual that has passed rigorous tests and represents one or more life insurance carriers whose job it is to help you find the appropriate life insurance product and policy.

Permanent Life Insurance

A guaranteed life insurance product that typically remains in effect forever and pays a Death Benefit so long as premiums are paid regularly and on time. These products generally allow accumulation and growth of Cash Value and the ability to take out loans against the policy proceeds.

Policy Loan

Certain life insurance products (i.e. permanent life insurance) allow the Insured to borrow money against the Death Benefit or Cash Value accumulated within the life insurance policy.

Policy Provisions

A declaration of the terms of a life insurance policy.


The amount the Insured must pay each month or year to the carrier in return for life insurance coverage.

Risk Classification

A carrier’s assessment of the level of risk a consumer’s application represents to them; different risk classifications are priced differently even within the same product or policy type.

Term Life Insurance

A low cost life insurance product that is in effect for a specified number of years and typically only pays the Death Benefit in the event of the Insured’s death within the specified years.


The process by which a customer’s information such as lifestyle, health, and ability to pay are reviewed in determining whether to issue a policy or determine the exact premium for a policy.

Universal Life Insurance

Another type of Permanent Life Insurance that offers flexible premium payments.

Whole Life Insurance

A type of Permanent Life Insurance which provides for a build up of cash value during the policy term.

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