Definition of insurance in English:



  • 1An arrangement by which a company or the state undertakes to provide a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a specified premium.

    ‘many new borrowers take out insurance against unemployment or sickness’
    • ‘Could relying entirely upon the parent's insurance possibly increase the costs for camper health care?’
    • ‘There are three policies available on the market - term life cover, mortgage protection and whole-of-life insurance.’
    • ‘The very best protection is adequate hull insurance.’
    • ‘Disability insurance is designed to protect one of your most valuable assets - your ability to earn income.’
    • ‘A large proportion of the money they borrowed was to cover interest and the cost of loan insurance, which would protect the loan if the couple lost their jobs.’
    • ‘The military can't buy insurance to protect itself if security fails.’
    • ‘We all need insurance to protect ourselves and our families, homes and property.’
    • ‘Anything less and the worker would not be protected by insurance.’
    • ‘When that happens, private insurance is no longer possible.’
    • ‘At least we have crop insurance which is good protection against decisions that turn out bad.’
    • ‘However, the risk protection afforded by insurance also increases the producer's certainty equivalent.’
    • ‘If your parents need long term care now, it might not be possible to get insurance.’
    • ‘Group health insurance in large companies protects the individual with costly conditions by including him with the less costly.’
    • ‘This is most likely down to the various rumours that those caught exceeding the speed limit or driving without insurance might possibly avoid prosecution.’
    • ‘If they fall within the legal definition of insurance, protection may be offered to consumers in two ways.’
    • ‘The company has indicated that the proposals governing health insurance will protect them against rising costs.’
    • ‘Identity theft is becoming so widespread in the UK that many companies now offer insurance to protect against falling victim to this increasingly common type of fraud.’
    • ‘The need for adequate protection through insurance is also on the rise.’
    • ‘Accidents do happen and car companies have insurance to cover such eventualities, except when they happen on a race circuit.’
    • ‘I had a phone call from the bank yesterday from someone trying to sell me Card Protection insurance.’
    assurance, indemnity, indemnification, security, surety, cover
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The business of providing insurance.
      ‘Howard is in insurance’
      • ‘For every business, insurance included, economic woes of the last few years have impacted bottom lines.’
      • ‘He grew up in a modest home in Pittsburgh, where his father, Louis Jr., first worked in the family locksmith business and later in insurance.’
      • ‘I've worked in a lot of businesses - insurance, clothing, construction materials, automobiles, telecom.’
      • ‘Mr Quinn, whose businesses include insurance and investment, is no stranger to big deals.’
    2. 1.2Money paid for insurance.
      ‘my insurance has gone up’
      • ‘And now the insurance - not only that, but now the co-payment goes up.’
      • ‘This money goes towards insurance as well as the general maintenance of the centre.’
      • ‘Take a look at your expenses over the last year to get an idea of annual expenses, such as taxes, insurance and subscription services.’
      • ‘And somebody who I trusted to pay the insurance on that car - well, he wasn't paying, let's put it that way.’
      • ‘But if you have recently incorporated your business and are drawing money by way of dividends rather than salary to save national insurance, you may need to revisit your pension planning.’
      • ‘Lawyers fees, taxes and insurance must all be paid.’
      • ‘As a result, we have agreed that the farm will pay the land taxes and all insurance and other local fees, but only pay a small administrative fee to the land trust.’
      • ‘The car price is taken care of, but there is no money to pay insurance and taxes.’
      • ‘He said increased overheads such as insurance, rents and service charges have resulted in some shops becoming unviable.’
      • ‘If you spend less than this amount, the money must be used on accessories, insurance or fuel for the vehicle.’
      • ‘We asked experts at Sotheby's for advice on what to do with them, because they were costing a lot of money in insurance and cleaning bills.’
      • ‘The survey showed that living out of town will save you money on your car insurance.’
      • ‘Their activities cost businesses money and push up insurance for everyone.’
      • ‘The Tories will hit back by demanding to know if Labour will give a commitment not to increase national insurance and income tax.’
      • ‘You pay income tax, national insurance and bills.’
    3. 1.3Money paid out as compensation under an insurance policy.
      ‘when will I be able to collect the insurance?’
      • ‘I told my husband that if I get money for insurance I would just rather come back and stay in the UK.’
      • ‘However, no rice grower has reported an accident - something they always do to collect the insurance on their crop dusters.’
      • ‘The murders took place to collect insurance on slaves who were sick and dying and therefore would not, on reaching land, become marketable commodities.’
      • ‘Why not just burn the kitchen down when I light the stove so I can collect insurance and spend it all on college tuition?’
      • ‘You may get some money through insurance or legacy.’
      • ‘The horse killer Stanley schemes to kill Sweet William and his companion Bobby to collect the insurance.’
      • ‘He stands accused of setting fire to the store to collect insurance on the building and its contents.’
  • 2A thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.

    ‘jackets were hung on the back of their chairs, insurance against an encounter with air-conditioning’
    [count noun] ‘a marquee was hired as an insurance against the weather’
    • ‘The additional altitude would give us a bit of insurance against a possible explosive mid-air meeting with one of our friends.’
    • ‘My husband's just had a phone call from the bank trying to sell him Card Protection insurance.’
    • ‘It was designed not as a gambling arena, it was designed as insurance against the possibility you will not have enough savings.’
    protection, defence, safeguard, safety measure, shelter, security, precaution, provision, preventive measure, immunity
    View synonyms


There is a technical distinction between insurance and assurance in the context of life insurance: see assurance


Late Middle English (originally as ensurance in the sense ‘ensuring, assurance, a guarantee’): from Old French enseurance, from enseurer (see ensure). insurance dates from the mid 17th century.