Insurance Term Glossary

Let's not let insurance jargon confuse us anymore. Get some helpful and straightforward definitions of some oft perplexing insurance terms.

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Insurance Definitions V - W


VIN: vehicle identification number.

Valued policy: A form of policy in which the amount of indemnity to be paid in case of loss is fixed by the terms of the policy itself and does not depend on adjustment. This should not be confused with a stated value policy.

Vandalism and malicious mischief (V&MM): Willful physical injury to or destruction of property.

Variable annuity: Similar to a traditional fixed annuity. Retirement payments will be made periodically to the annuitants, usually over the remaining years of their lives. Under the variable annuity, there is no guarantee of the dollar amount of the payments. Payments will fluctuate up and down in accordance with the value of an account invested primarily in common stocks.

Variable life insurance: A policy in which the death benefit and cash surrender values vary according to the investment experience of a separate investment account.

Vehicle History Report: An official report that contains all of the records associated with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), including past owners of the vehicle, accidents, repairs, etc.

Viatical settlement: A settlement that enables a person facing terminal illness to sell a life insurance policy for cash to a third party (i.e., a viatical settlement company), who then becomes the beneficiary of the policy upon the death of the policyholder.

Vicarious liability:
Under certain circumstances, a person is liable for the actions of (or damage done by) someone else. For example, if the owner of an automobile gives permission to a friend to drive an automobile, and the friend negligently causes an accident, the owner can be held liable.


WIIS: Western Insurance Information Service.

Waiver: The voluntary surrender of a known right.

Waiver of premium provision: A provision in a life insurance policy wherein the coverage continues without further premium payments (premiums coming due are waived) if the insured becomes disabled as defined in the policy.

War clause: A clause in an insurance contract relieving the insurer of liability, or reducing its liability, for specified loss caused by war.

Warranty: A statement made by the applicant which becomes a condition of issuance of the contract. Strictly speaking, a false warranty voids the policy even if it is not material. In practice, U.S. courts are inclined to be lenient towards a policyholder who has made a false warranty which does not materially affect the risk, but British courts still insist upon the truth of warranties.

Whole life: A traditional type of life policy (not universal or variable) which provides coverage for the "whole life" of the insured, rather than for a specific term period. The proceeds are paid at the insured's death or at the age specified in the policy, usually age 100 or more, when the insured survives that long.

Workers' compensation (WC):
The benefits (weekly payments for medical and hospital bills) which an employer is bound by law to provide for his/her employees who are injured on the job, regardless of fault. Every state in the U.S.A. now has a workers' compensation law. These laws vary in detail, but the general intent is the same, namely to make sure that an employee, who is disabled through his/her work, shall not become a public charge.