What Does Primary Beneficiary Mean?
The primary beneficiary of an insurance policy is the person or organization that is entitled to receive the benefits of the policy before anyone else.
Insuranceopedia Explains Primary Beneficiary
If the primary beneficiary cannot collect the insurance payout, it is awarded instead to the contingent beneficiaries.
It is common for policyholders to name their spouse as the primary beneficiary of their life insurance policy and their children as contingent beneficiaries. That way, if they die, their spouse will receive the sum owed. But if the spouse is no longer alive by the time the insurance policy can be collected, then the death benefit will be given to the children listed as contingent beneficiaries.