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 Nationwide, the insurance company, now gives employees the option to take two Fridays off per month in its Ohio headquarters. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "Silicon Valley Ruined Work Culture," 24 Feb. 2020 According to the source, Weinstein's insurance company will pay out the settlement money, and the producer will not be required to admit any wrongdoing. Chris Francescani, ABC News, "Timeline: Harvey Weinstein's path to his New York City rape and sexual assault convictions," 24 Feb. 2020 Because the patient's providers are out-of-network, her insurance company is only covering 20% of the cost of treatment, according to the campaign. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "As medical costs soar, more Americans turn to crowdfunding," 21 Feb. 2020 The ferry operator's insurance company later paid out $4.15 million in a settlement. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "After fatal plunge from Florida ferry, women found embracing in back of sunken car," 20 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, a group comprised of major drugmakers, insurance companies and private hospitals, is saying a pox on both your houses. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Bloomberg put on defensive during combative two-hour Democratic debate," 20 Feb. 2020 The rates are often used by hospitals, insurance companies and researchers – but are kept secret from patients. USA Today, "Deadly Deliveries," 20 Feb. 2020 Buttigieg wants to keep private insurance companies while giving people with private coverage the option to purchase a government health plan. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Sanders versus Buttigieg flashpoint: ‘Medicare for all’ versus ‘Medicare for all who want it’," 19 Feb. 2020 Researchers analyzed data from major insurance companies including Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare. Gwendolyn Wu, Houston Chronicle, "Texans’ health care costs jump, exceed national average, study finds," 19 Feb. 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

27 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insurance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 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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