Definition of Common Terms Related to Insurance
Appraisal clause – A clause in all auto insurance policies that provides a special appraisal
procedure you can use to settle a disagreement between yourself (the insured) and the insurance company over the
amount of loss. This procedure allows both parties to choose an appraiser to re-evaluate the damages. If the two
appraisers don’t agree, a third party (called the “umpire”) makes the final determination.
Comparative negligence – The amount or percentage of negligence (responsibility or fault)
assigned to one or more of the parties in an accident.
Consumer Response Team (CRT) – Staff at the Department of Commerce, which responds to consumers’
questions and complaints about insurance matters. CRT staff can help resolve disputes between consumers and
insurance companies when necessary.
Deductible – A set amount the policyholder agrees to pay, per claim or per accident, toward the
total amount of an insured loss. You must pay the deductible amount before the insurance company pays any benefits.
Department of Commerce – The state department that licenses and regulates insurance companies,
agents, and adjusters. No-fault laws – No-fault coverage only applies to medical costs, wage loss,
or other costs related to injuries sustained in an accident.
Preferred provider – A service provider, such as an automotive repair shop, that has agreed to
provide repairs and administer claims under terms established by an insurance company.
Subrogation – The process by which one insurance company seeks reimbursement from another company
or individual for a claim it has already paid.
Surcharge – An additional charge added to your premium for accumulated traffic violations or
accidents. The charge varies from company to company and is typically assessed for a defined period, such as 36
months from the date of the violation or accident.