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[in-shoo r-uh ns, -shur-] /ɪnˈʃʊər əns, -ˈʃɜr-/
the act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one's person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.
coverage by contract in which one party agrees to indemnify or reimburse another for loss that occurs under the terms of the contract.
the contract itself, set forth in a written or printed agreement or policy.
the amount for which anything is insured.
an insurance premium.
any means of guaranteeing against loss or harm:
Taking vitamin C is viewed as an insurance against catching colds.
of or relating to a score that increases a team's lead and insures that the lead will be held if the opposing team should score once more:
The home run gave the team an insurance run, making the score 7-5.
Origin of insurance
1545-55; insure + -ance
Related forms
noninsurance, noun
preinsurance, noun
proinsurance, adjective
Can be confused
assurance, insurance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for insurance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The insurance company is going to get the best of me, though: Ill live long enough to pay in more than it will have to pay out.

    The Best Policy Elliott Flower
  • Their insurance cards were stamped and their wages were paid up to date.

    Lady Bountiful George A. Birmingham
  • All moneys arising from insurance of any exempt property when such property has been destroyed by fire.

  • I do not pay der Titan's insurance—nor will der other insurers.

    The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
  • Maybe; but ask the insurance companies about accident prones.

    Accidental Death Peter Baily
British Dictionary definitions for insurance


/ɪnˈʃʊərəns; -ˈʃɔː-/
  1. the act, system, or business of providing financial protection for property, life, health, etc, against specified contingencies, such as death, loss, or damage, and involving payment of regular premiums in return for a policy guaranteeing such protection
  2. the state of having such protection
  3. Also called insurance policy. the policy providing such protection
  4. the pecuniary amount of such protection
  5. the premium payable in return for such protection
  6. (as modifier): insurance agent, insurance broker, insurance company
a means of protecting or safeguarding against risk or injury
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for insurance

1550s, "engagement to marry," a variant of ensurance (see ensure). Commercial sense of "security against loss or death in exchange for payment" is from 1650s. Assurance was the older term for this (late 16c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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