Reviewed by Stefan Tirschler

Updated May 30, 2023


pol·i·cy·hold·er | ˈpä-lə-sē-ˌhōl-dər

Definition: The owner of an insurance policy.

The agent asked to speak directly to the policyholder.

What is a policyholder?

Policyholder is another way of saying “policy owner.” If you buy an insurance policy in your own name to insure your own stuff, you’re the holder of that policy: the policyholder.

Policyholder is the same as named insured.

You can check out our full definition of named insured for more in-depth information, but here’s the short version:

The policyholder is the person who bought the insurance policy, and they get all the benefits described within that policy. They’re allowed to make changes to the policy or cancel it. The policyholder also has the option of adding more people to the policy, after which those people would also receive insurance coverage.

What is the difference between policyholder and insured?

The policyholder is the owner of the policy, also called the named insured. They get all the benefits the policy offers. In the case of home insurance, it means they own the home that’s being insured (or their name is on the rental agreement, in the case of tenant insurance).

An insured, on the other hand, is anyone who has coverage under the policy:


Samantha buys a home insurance policy for her new house. She owns the house and bought the insurance policy, making her the policyholder, as well as an insured. The language of her insurance contract also extends coverage to her spouse and dependents, so her partner and her daughter are both insureds as well. They are not, however, policyholders; their names don’t appear on the insurance contract.

The important points

  • A policyholder is the person who takes out an insurance policy, known alternatively as the named insured.
  • The policyholder is the only one who can request changes or cancel an insurance policy, but others may receive coverage under the policy.

Looking for another insurance definition? Look it up in The Insurance Glossary, home to dozens of easy-to-follow definitions for the most common insurance terms. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.

About the expert: Stefan Tirschler

Stefan is responsible for underwriting leadership, market expansion, and product research and development for Square One's operations. Stefan has earned his Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional designation, and maintains a level 2 general insurance license in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Stefan is also an Education Committee member and CIP/GIE instructor for the Insurance Institute of Canada.


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