Origin of the word
In use from around the middle of the 15th century, the verb insure is a variant spelling of its predecessor ensuren, which dates from the late 14th century and means ‘to assure’ or ‘give formal assurance’. Circa 1400 it was also understood to mean ‘make safe or secure’, and had been derived from an Anglo French verb ‘enseurer’ (originally ‘ensurer’ in Old French). Combining en meaning ‘make into’ or ‘cause to be’, with seur or sure meaning ‘safe’ or ‘secure’, the interpretation that formerly had been equivalent to ‘assure’ changed in the mid 17th century, as the term became synonymous with ‘making safe against loss via payment of premiums’ or ‘undertaking to ensure against loss’.
The verb insure refers to the process of securing or protecting something so that financial compensation will be awarded in the event of destruction, damage or loss through theft.
Thus, you can insure someone or something against loss or damage, as in:
“Is the car insured?”
“I am insured against critical illness.”
“This policy insures you against theft and fire damage.”
You can decide how much something is worth to you when you insure it, as in:
“She insured the painting for two million pounds.”
“Cheap to buy and with an impressive safety rating, the Toyota Yaris could be the cheapest car to insure in 2017 depending on your driving history and other factors. Furthermore, the Yaris makes for an attractive city car thanks to its compact size. The car is also available in a hybrid model, so it’s eco-friendly as well as economical.” – uSwitch: How to find the cheapest cars to insure.
To regularly pay an insurance company an amount of money so that they will give you money if something that you own is damaged, lost, or stolen, or if you die or are ill or injured.
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.