in·​sur·​ance | \ in-ˈshu̇r-ən(t)s How to pronounce insurance (audio) , -ˈshər- also ˈin-ˌshu̇r-, -ˌshər- How to pronounce insurance (audio) \

Definition of insurance

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : coverage by contract whereby one party undertakes to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or peril
b : the business of insuring persons or property
c : the sum for which something is insured
2 : a means of guaranteeing protection or safety The contract is your insurance against price changes. Frequent hand washing is good insurance against the common cold.
3 gambling : a side bet that a player in blackjack may place when the dealer's first faceup card is an ace

Note: An insurance bet can be up to half of a player's original bet. It wins at 2 to 1 odds if the dealer's cards add up to 21.



Definition of insurance (Entry 2 of 2)

: being a score that adds to a team's lead and makes it impossible for the opposing team to tie the game with its next score an insurance run

Examples of insurance in a Sentence

Noun insurance against theft or damage She has a job in insurance. I work for an insurance company.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But for small businesses insurance money may still not be enough to survive combined with the pandemic. Washington Post, "Retailers and restaurants across the U.S. close their doors amid protests," 1 June 2020 But Berkshire also owns businesses that won’t be as affected by the coronavirus pandemic, such as its insurance and energy operations. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: Let Warren Buffett manage your money and how to save for retirement if you’re self-employed," 31 May 2020 While some practice areas are thriving—most notably bankruptcy and insurance law—the economic toll of the outbreak has led work to dry up for many lawyers, and firms big and small are implementing layoffs and austerity measures. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "‘Best three months of my life’: Overworked lawyers are actually loving lockdown," 30 May 2020 The woman, Amy Cooper, the head of insurance investment at the company, issued an apology on CNN. Annie Massa,, "Franklin Templeton fires employee in Central Park video," 26 May 2020 Pitching and defense Caldwell navigated through the eighth and set the stage for the two-run rally against Sutter, with singles by Moore and Jim Gantner plating the insurance runs with two outs. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Next Ten: Robin Yount goes 4 for 4 and defense delivers in Game 5 of 1982 World Series," 25 May 2020 Policy makers would do well to buy insurance against adverse shocks. Kevin Warsh, WSJ, "The Recovery Needs a Supply-Side Push," 25 May 2020 The annual physical became routine in the 1920s when pre-employment and insurance physicals became synonymous with health maintenance and disease prevention. Eric Snoey, Wired, "Let's Put an End to Annual Physicals," 23 May 2020 Congress mandated that private insurance cover testing at no cost, but not treatment. Paul Shafer, The Conversation, "4 ways COVID-19 has exposed gaps in the US social safety net," 22 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insurance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insurance


1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


1954, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for insurance

Time Traveler

The first known use of insurance was in 1651

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Statistics for insurance

Last Updated

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insurance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for insurance


How to pronounce insurance (audio) How to pronounce insurance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insurance

: an agreement in which a person makes regular payments to a company and the company promises to pay money if the person is injured or dies, or to pay money equal to the value of something (such as a house or car) if it is damaged, lost, or stolen
: the amount of money a person regularly pays an insurance company as part of an insurance agreement
: the amount of money that a person receives from an insurance company


in·​sur·​ance | \ in-ˈshu̇r-əns How to pronounce insurance (audio) \

Kids Definition of insurance

1 : an agreement by which a person pays a company and the company promises to pay money if the person becomes injured or dies or to pay for the value of property lost or damaged
2 : the amount for which something is insured
3 : the business of insuring persons or property


in·​sur·​ance | \ in-ˈshu̇r-əns, ˈin-ˌshu̇r- How to pronounce insurance (audio) \

Legal Definition of insurance

1 : the action, process, or means of insuring or the state of being insured usually against loss or damage by a contingent event (as death, fire, accident, or sickness)
2a : the business of insuring persons or property
b : coverage by contract whereby for an agreed payment one party agrees to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or peril
c : the principles and practice of the business of insuring
3 : the sum for which something is insured

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