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 They were married in 1950, settled in Indianapolis and sold insurance there. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, "Pete Dye, ‘Picasso’ of Golf Course Design, Is Dead at 94," 10 Jan. 2020 The Ohio native moved to Indiana to sell insurance after serving in the Army in World War II and was a champion amateur golfer. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Hall of Fame golf course designer Pete Dye dies at age 94," 9 Jan. 2020 Among those who were, 76% accepted private insurance and 63% accepted Medicaid. Lila Flavin, STAT, "A government database is supposed to help people seeking treatment for opioid addiction. It often doesn’t," 9 Jan. 2020 The Rainmaker shows the callousness of insurance companies. Kareem Abdul-jabbar, The Hollywood Reporter, "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 'Just Mercy' and the Difference Between Black and White Legal Dramas," 9 Jan. 2020 But Himmelstein says his study shows that a public option that preserves private insurance wouldn’t provide the same savings as a traditional single-payer system. Abigail Abrams, Time, "The U.S. Spends $2,500 Per Person on Health Care Administrative Costs. Canada Spends $550. Here's Why," 6 Jan. 2020 Those who can’t afford the care on their own should consider getting the insurance. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: How to combat inflation and Pfizer’s merger, plus this week’s trivia," 5 Jan. 2020 Jan Emerson-Shea, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Assn., said the demand for charity care is decreasing because more people are getting insurance. Los Angeles Times, "Cedars-Sinai, ‘hospital to the stars,’ is extending care to more needy patients," 2 Jan. 2020 Colorado is among a few states exploring such an program, which would allow residents in high-cost areas to buy insurance from the state. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Top 10 Colorado politics stories of 2019: From our would-be presidents to bomb cyclones," 30 Dec. 2019

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 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insurance.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 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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Comments on insurance

What made you want to look up insurance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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