A Quick Guide to Home Insurance Terms and Jargon

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When you’re looking for the best home insurance deal, you’ll come across a number of quite technical insurance terms which may all sound Greek to you!confused about jargon

Avoiding insurance confusion

You probably don’t hear ‘no claims bonus’ and ‘force majeure’ on an everyday basis. In fact, you might only ever hear them in relation to insurance products.
So we thought we’d put together a list of key terms to help you understand the jargon that you could face with when searching for a policy.

Jargon busting

  • Accidental damage – For insurance purposes, this can happen to either a building or its contents; spilling red wine on a carpet or a car driving into your garage wall, for example.
  • Annual premium – This is how much each year you pay out for your policy.
  • Broker – An independent insurance expert, usually a company or an individual.
  • Buildings – ‘Buildings’ refers to the structure of a property being insured and in most cases the entire property including outhouses such as garages, gates and walls.
  • Claims history – This is the amount of claims you may have made in the past and the value of each. You’re often asked to indicate your claims history when applying for cover.
  • Contents – ‘Contents’ refers to the possessions you keep in your property. This includes those of a more personal nature, such as jewellery, as well as furniture and curtains and other fittings.
  • Cover limits – This refers to the maximum sum your policy will cover you for. You fix this when you take out a policy, but it can be amended at a later date.
  • Due diligence – The insurer expects you to take reasonable care in looking after the insured property. If you leave windows unlocked for example, and are burgled, this will probably affect your claim.
  • Excess – This is the portion of a claim which you cover yourself. There’s usually a fixed minimum, but you can choose to increase this sum if you want to reduce your premiums.
  • Exclusions – Usually found in the policy small print, exclusions refer to what isn’t covered by the policy. You should check these carefully.
  • Force majeure – This is similar to ‘Acts of God’. Force majeure refers to unforeseeable events which cause damage that is nobody’s fault.
  • High risk items – If you have items that are more likely to be targeted by thieves, or are very delicate and easily broken, they’re referred to as high risk items. There might be limits in the policy placed on these.
  • Legal expenses insurance – Some policies include legal expenses cover as standard, others as an extra. It covers your costs in the event of you needing legal representation.
  • New-for-old – Many policies will replace items damaged or stolen with the brand new equivalent. Not all do however, so it’s best to check.
  • No claims bonus – Often you’ll find you get a discount if you haven’t made claims over previous years.
  • Period of cover – This is simply how long your cover lasts for, usually 12 months.
  • Policyholder – This will be you and whoever else you include on the policy (husband or wife for example).
  • Pro rata rates – Some insurers will give you money back at a pro rata rate if you cancel your cover during the period of cover.
  • Quote – This is a no obligation figure an insurer will give you for how much your cover might cost you.

Policy Expert

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them, at the right price. To speak to one of our experts, call 0203 014 9300 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.