Glossary

Fed up of Jargon? Let us unravel some common insurance terms.

Aggregator

An aggregate is basically a collection of items that are grouped together to give a total quantity. The term aggregator refers to a website or computer software that gathers together a specific type of information from several different online sources. These websites are commonly referred to as price comparison sites. Such sites 'aggregate' quotes from insurers or lenders and display the results in one place, saving users time and hopefully money.

Add-on

This is an extra product or service offered to you when you buy an insurance policy. Add-ons can be combined or bundled with an insurance policy to create a broader solution. For example, a household policy could come with home emergency cover included, but it might be sold as a separate add-on.

Buildings insurance

Home insurance that covers the actual structure of the building and the permanent fixtures and fittings.

Building sum insured

You will need to declare the value of your property in the event that it is totally destroyed (rebuild cost). Your policy should then cover you for this amount - known as the building sum insured. It is the maximum amount of money your policy would pay to you in the event of a claim.

Buy-to-let insurance

This is another term for landlord insurance.

Claim

A demand that's made by the insured party (this could be you or your beneficiaries) for the payment of the benefits as outlined in the insurance policy.

Contents insurance

Home insurance that covers possessions in your home that are not fixtures and fittings. Basically, what you'd take with you if you moved.

Employers liability insurance

This could help cover your business financially if an employee is injured or falls ill at work. All employers are legally obliged to take out this type of insurance, although there are a few exemptions (such as if you are the sole employee of your limited company, and also own at least 50% of the share capital in the company).

Excess

This is the amount of money you would have to pay if you made a claim on your insurance policy. For example, this could be the first £100 of any claim you make. You will need to cover this excess amount out of your own pocket before your insurer will pay-out.

Exclusions

These are items or certain conditions that are not covered by the general insurance contract. Read through policy documents carefully to make sure you know what these are.

High-risk items

Valuable possessions that would cost a lot to replace, such as home entertainment equipment and jewellery. High risk items might not automatically be included under your home insurance policy and may need additional cover.

Land heave

An upward movement of the ground that can cause structural damage to a property.

Landlord buildings insurance

This covers the actual structure of the rental property. Also includes permanent fixtures and fittings.

Landlord contents insurance

Covers the items that you've put inside the property, like furniture. Your tenants will need their own insurance to cover their personal possessions.

Landlord insurance

A specialist home insurance policy designed for property owners who are renting to tenants.

Liability

In general, this refers to fault. It is any legally enforceable obligation, commonly a financial responsibility, which you must meet. For example, the compensation owed to a third party if you were at fault and caused them any damage.

Market value

The value your home is likely to sell for if you put it up for sale.

Non-standard construction

A property that's not built of brick or stone and that doesn't have a tiled or slated roof. Includes thatched properties, eco homes, flat and shingle roofs.

Period of insurance

The amount of time your policy will cover you for (as long as you're paying your premiums).

Policy

This is the written contract between you and your insurer outlining all the details of your insurance and the terms and conditions applicable.

Portfolio

Several properties owned by the same landlord are said to be their property portfolio.

Premium

This is the price of your insurance protection for a specified risk for a specified period of time. You may be required to pay this amount monthly or annually.

Rebuild cost

The cost of rebuilding your property from scratch. Not the market value.

Schedule

The document describing all the details of your cover. It will contain information that you have provided to your insurance company.

Single article limit

This describes the maximum amount an insurer will cover for any one item within your policy (unless you've insured it separately).

Standard construction

A property that's built of brick, stone or concrete and roofed with slates, tiles, asphalt, metal or concrete. This term can also include some timber-framed properties, but not all.

Sum insured

Total amount of money your insurer would pay out to you. It should always reflect the full replacement value.

Subsidence

This word, we're sorry to say, could give you that sinking feeling! Subsidence is the motion of a surface (usually the surface of the earth) in a downward movement. It's of particular concern for buildings, as it means the ground beneath the property is unstable. Particular problems can arise when this movement varies from one part of the building to another. It could prove a challenge to find home insurance in an area with subsidence, although there are specialist home insurance providers out there who deal with this risk.

Tenant

The person renting your property from you. Most insurance companies require that there is a formal tenancy agreement in place.

Underwriter

An individual trained in evaluating risks and determining rates and coverages for them. An underwriter will determine how much risk you pose to the insurance company and will help price your policy accordingly.