Home Insurance Glossary of Terms

Accidental Damage Damage to your goods or property as a result of an accident such as putting your foot through the loft ceiling or spilling paint across a carpet.
Amendment A change to your original policy.
Annual premium The amount paid by the policy holder on an annual basis to cover the cost of the insurance policy.
Broker An independent intermediary that arranges and sells insurance on behalf of different insurance companies.
Buildings Insurance or cover Buildings insurance covers the structure of the property together with any fixtures and fittings of your home such as fitted baths and kitchens.
Business equipment Equipment such as computers, keyboards, printers, photocopiers located at your home office.
Cancellation Ending your insurance policy.  You might be charged if you cancel before your policy is due to end.  Your policy documentation will have details of these charges.
Certificate of insurance A certificate or document insurance companies issue to prove that insurance is in force.
Claim Any report of an incident in which the policy holder requests a payout or indemnity from the insurer under the conditions of the policy.
Claims history Insurance companies will look at how many claims you have made and what you have claimed for when deciding what to charge you for your insurance premium.
Combined cover A term used when you have your buildings and contents covered under the same policy.
Compulsory excess This is a fixed amount set by the insurer which cannot be changed and is paid together with a voluntary excess if you make a claim.
Contents Insurance or cover Cover for household possessions such as furniture, kitchen equipment, personal items such as clothing and frozen food and drink.
Damage Loss or harm to a person or property.
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Depreciation If you file an insurance claim, you may receive less from the insurance company that you were expecting due to depreciation - a deduction for wear and tear of your possessions.
Duty of disclosure If you make any changes which affect your insurance policy, then you need to let your insurer know straight away.  This can include changing address or name.
Escape of water excess An excess that applies specifically when damage arises following escape of water.
Excess Excess is what you are liable to pay towards any claim
Exclusions Insurance companies won't pay out for certain risks or types of loss or damage.  These exclusions will be clearly set out in your policy terms and conditions.
Family legal protection An add-on product which provides assistance with Legal disputes for you or your family.
Financial Conduct Authority The UK's financial watchdog.  The FCA regulates financial services companies, including insurance companies.
FLEA cover A basic form of insurance for unoccupied properties. Cover is provided against fire, lightning, explosion and earthquake.
Freezer cover Insures against the loss of freezer contents as a result of a power cut or freezer breakdown.
Garden cover Some policies include cover for items in the garden such as fences, hedges, patios, trees and plants.
Good state of repair A property without structural problems such as dry rot, damp or faulty wiring.
Heave The upward movement of the ground supporting your property, the removal of large trees can often cause this.
High risk items Items that are most frequently stolen from homes when burgled such as antiques, jewellery, laptops and audio & visual equipment.
Home emergency cover An optional extra providing a 24h call out service for emergency repairs on your property including problems with plumbing, internal electrics, pest control, drains, gas supply, boiler & heating and security.
Home entertainment equipment All computer equipment, television sets, games consoles and audio equipment in your home.
Home/property The private dwelling in which you live (including any garages and outbuildings).
Insurance Premium Tax A government tax which is included in the price of your insurance.
Insurer A person or company that insures something or someone against loss or damage.
Joint proposer If there are two people wanting to insure a property such as a husband and wife.
Key care or key cover An optional extra providing cover for lost and stolen keys.
Landslip When the ground around your property slides downwards. Often caused as a result of excessive rain causing soil or rock slip.
Listed buildings A building of historical or architectural interest that can only be altered with agreement of the Department of the Environment.
Locks A mechanism used to secure windows and doors. The type and number of locks on your property may affect your policy.
Material fact Any information which might influence either an insurer's decision to offer you cover or the premium they charge for it.  You need to tell your insurer all the relevant facts as they will base their decision on this information.  If you don't your policy may not be valid.
New for old New for old policies mean that no deduction is made for wear and tear and that a full replacement is provided for items lost, stolen or damaged.
No claims bonus/discount A reward for people who don't make a claim on their policy. The discount is applied to the premium at new business and renewal.
Non-specified items Non-specific items are not described on the insurance certificate and it is the property owner's responsibility to check the sum placed against the total of non-specific items is sufficient.
Optional Extras Additional policy benefits which can be purchased to run alongside the main policy.
Period of cover The period of time covered by the policy as shown in the policy schedule.
Personal possessions This is an optional cover that covers your personal possessions, valued individually at less than £1500, in and away from the home.
Policyholder Name of the person responsible for the insurance policy who's name will appear on the Schedule of Insurance.
Premises The household which requires cover under the policy. This will be detailed in the policy schedule.
Premium The amount you pay to insure your property
Quote The premium and terms offered by a potential insurance company to insure your property for the cover you require.
Rebuilding cost The amount it would cost to rebuild your home excluding the cost of land. The rebuild cost of the property will not be the same as the market value.
Renewal The point at which you are invited to renew your insurance policy for another year.
Risk This is the method by which insurance underwriters decide how likely you are to make a claim and how costly this claim is likely to be. This enables the underwriters to calculate what premium you should pay.
Sanitary fittings Washbasins and pedestals, bathroom and kitchen sinks, lavatory pans and cisterns, shower trays and shower screen, baths and bath panels. Excludes swimming pools.
Schedule The document which identifies the policyholder and sets out details of the cover the policy provides.
Single article limit (SAL) This is the maximum payment for any one article under a section of a policy. Items over this value need to be disclosed to the insurer so that an appropriate rate can be calculated.
Specified items Items which are specifically named on your policy and normally exceed the value of the specified amount shown in your schedule.
Subsidence The downward movement of the ground on which a house stands. This occurs when the soil beneath the buildings foundations is essentially unstable and unable to support it. The movement is unconnected with the weight of the building.
Subsidence excess An excess applied specifically in relations to claims arising from subsidence.
Sum insured The amount for which you are covered under your policy.
Tenure A persons relationship to their home e.g. if you own and live in your house, your tenure is owner occupier.
Trace and access Can cover the cost of removing and replacing any part of your home to locate the source of escaping water.
Underinsurance When the sum insured on the property isn't sufficient to cover the full cost of replacing all your contents or building work.
Underwriter The company or person providing the insurance cover under your policy.
Uninsured loses Uninsured losses are those items of expense which are not covered by your own insurance policy.
Unoccupied Not lived in by you or any person with your permission.
Valuables High value items such as jewellery, works of art and antiques.
Voluntary excess This is the amount you can choose to pay towards a claim in conjunction with any compulsory excess on your policy.
Year built The year the property being insured was built.