Insurance terminology: what do we call the payment that an insurance firm pays a beneficiary if the terms of an insurance policy are met?

For example - in life insurance, in case an insured party dies, the beneficiaries receive a one-time payment. Or in case a claim is made by someone with homeowner's insurance on hurricane damage.

Yes, "payment" could work here- but I use this throughout to refer to the actual payments made by the insurance companies customers (the premiums). Is there a term for payments made by the company?


  • Are you looking for Insurance indemnification that refers to the the payment of an indemnity in compensation for a particular loss ?
    – Graffito
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Benefit is the usual term. It is often qualified by a term designating the particular character of the payout; in the life insurance industry, for example, the payout is usually called the death benefit.

Indemnity is often used in technical discussion of policies which pay some proportion of a holder's actual loss.

  • In my experience in the UK, life companies refer to the death benefit when describing a policy. When it comes to actual payment they will talk of paying a claim. That applies to most types of insurance. No sooner had insurers paid his first claim, than another of his buildings went up in smoke.
    – WS2
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:14
  • @WS2 In the US, too, the term benefit is used mostly prospectively, particularly when it is necessary to distinguish this from the cash value of the policy. Paying the claim is the ordinary language for describing the payout when it is made. Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:18

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