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Earned Premium

That portion of the premium for which policy protection has already been given. For example, if you buy a one year Health policy for a premium of $1,200 and the insurer cancels you exactly six months later, they are entitled to keep $600 (the earned premium), but they must also refund you $600, which is called the “unearned” premium. If they covered you for the entire year, all the premium would be earned. This concept also applies to P&C insurance, but not to Life insurance, where all premiums are considered to be fully “earned” upon payment.

Earnest Money Deposit

A deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house.


A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property.

Easement Appurtenant

An easement that passes with the land on conveyance.

Easement by Implication

An easement that arises when the parties’ actions imply that they intend to create an easement.

Easement by Necessity

An easement allowed by law as necessary for the full enjoyment of a parcel of real estate; for example, a right of ingress and egress over a grantor’s land.

Easement by Prescription

An easement acquired by continuous, open, uninterrupted, exclusive, and adverse use of the property for a certain number of years, which varies from state to state.

Easement in Gross

An easement that is not created for the benefit of any land owned by the owner of the easement but that attaches personally to the easement owner; for example, a utility easement.

Economic Life

The period of time during which a structure may reasonably be expected to perform the functions for which it was designed or intended.

Economic Obsolescence

See external obsolescence.

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