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Home insurance made simpler with our jargon buster

  • 9, Sep 2021
  • Read time: 10 mins

Home insurance can be confusing. Trying to understand all the terms can be tricky. It is so important you know these words to ensure you have the right cover for your home. Don’t worry though help is on hand with this handy guide. With a list of terms, all in alphabetical order, to help you make sense of all the jargon.

Man thoughtful on the laptop.

ABI (Association of British Insurers)

Insurance companies, such as MORE THAN become a member of this organisation to understand all changes in the insurance industry, for example, regulatory or government policy changes.

Accidental damage cover 

Accidental damage cover helps cover you for unintentional damage caused to the structure of your home, your belongings or both, like spilling wine on your carpet or drilling through a pipe.

Act of God 

This is an accident or event that cannot be prevented by human foresight, like the weather. 

Add-ons, ancillaries, optional extras/cover

These can be added to your home insurance to give your home extra cover, like accidental damage or home emergency cover.

All risks or personal possessions cover

Go to 'P' for personal possessions cover.

Alternative accommodation 

If your home is uninhabitable due to damage covered by your policy, your insurer will pay up to a specified amount for you and your family to stay somewhere else.


Is a change to your home policy, such as a change of name or address.

Annual premium

A single one-off payment you pay for your home cover.

Building insurance

Covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding the structure of your home.

The structure of your home includes:

  • Walls, roof and windows
  • Kitchen and bathrooms
  • Conservatories
  • Garages, sheds and other outbuildings, such as summer houses
  • Drives and patios.

Building sum insured

This is the amount of cover to help with the cost of repairing or rebuilding the structure of your home.

Cancellation fee

If you decide to cancel your home policy after the cooling-off period (usually 14 days after you take out your policy) you may have to pay a fee to your insurers.

Claim - fault claim and no-fault claim

A claim is a request you make as the policyholder to an insurance company to repair, replace or compensate for a loss.

Fault claim is if you have done something, like an accidental damage claim - putting your foot through the ceiling when in the loft.

No-fault claim is if someone or something else has caused damage, like storm damage.

Claim history

This is information about the claims you have made. When you get a quote insurers normally ask if you have made a claim in the last 3-5 years.


Items in your home that are moveable, like a television, sofa or clothes.

Contents insurance

Covers the items in your home that could be taken with you if you moved house including furniture, carpets, laptops and clothing.

We'll pay to repair or replace the contents of your home if they're lost, stolen, or damaged by something covered by your policy, for example, a flood or fire.

Content sum insured

This is the amount of cover to help with the cost to replace your belongings if they are damaged or lost. Sometimes you may have to add an optional cover option like out and about cover (personal possessions) because the cover is not automatically included on a standard home insurance policy.

Combined policy

Covers your home and your belongings on one policy. You can buy buildings and contents insurance cover separately.

Cooling off period

Is the time after you take out your home policy and when you can cancel generally without a fee, this is usually 14 days after you take out your policy.

Escape of water

Escape of water is a water leak, for example, if a water pipe bursts.

Excess – compulsory and voluntary

An excess is an amount you’ll have to pay towards a claim.

For some claims, you must pay a compulsory or fixed excess, which is a fixed amount you’ll pay to make a claim.

For an escape of water or subsidence claims, you only pay a fixed excess. This is usually higher than a standard compulsory excess. 

However, you can choose to pay a higher or lower excess, which may impact your price, this is called voluntary excess. For most claims, you'll have to pay the voluntary and compulsory excess when making a claim.


Not included or not covered in your policy.

FLEA cover

When insurers don’t offer a standard house insurance level of policy cover for unoccupied premises they may offer what is known as FLEA cover.

This is a restricted form of cover and stands for:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Explosion
  • Aircraft cover.

This may also include Earthquake cover but the acronym FLEEA is not always used.

If you are offered FLEA cover you should check exactly what is covered.

Freezer cover

Contents of your freezer and sometimes includes the fridge. Insurers will pay up to a limit to replace food spoiled due to a breakdown or power cut. MORE THAN covers up to £500 to replace fridge and freezer food as standard.

Garden cover

Garden insurance covers what's in your garden against loss, damage and theft. Including items you tend to leave out in the open, like garden furniture and children's toys. It often includes damage and loss to your plants, trees and shrubs. You normally have to add this as a cover option onto your home policy.

Good state of repair

Items that are in a good condition or well looked after.


When the soil beneath your home expands and pushes the ground upwards, which can cause structural damage to a building. Ground heave is the opposite of subsidence, which is when the ground sinks.

High risk item

A high risk or value item is any possession, set or collection that is more likely to be stolen if your home is broken into. Some insurers ask specifically about these items if they are over a limit say over £1,000. You need to give more information about these items, for example, what is it, a description and valuation. We cover up to £7,500 as standard, which can be increased to £30,000 if needed.

High risk items include:

  • Televisions, personal computers
  • Binoculars and photographic equipment
  • Audio and video equipment
  • Jewellery and articles of precious metal, clocks and watches
  • Furs
  • Pictures, works of art, curios and collections.

Not all insurers have this cover so please check you have the right cover when taking out insurance.

Home emergency cover- assistance and upgraded cover

This cover is in the event your home becomes unsafe, insecure or could cause further damage to your home or contents you need to get it fixed urgently. Learn more about our home emergency cover options.

Insured events 

An event that would cause an insurer to pay a claim. 

Joint proposer or joint policyholder 

When two people both want to insure a property, for example, a couple. Both parties can speak to the insurer and manage the policy.

Legal protection/legal expense cover 

Help if you've got a problem and want to know more about your rights or the legal aspects of a situation. 

Listed building 

A listed building marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest. It will have planning and change restrictions on the property so that it can be protected for future generations. The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to be listed.

Matching sets 

If part of a matching set, such as a sofa is damaged and cannot be repaired we will try to replace the whole matching set. Not all insurers offer this cover option.


Moneyfacts gives independent reviews on banking and insurance products. It is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

Mortice lock 

A mortice lock is a lock that is fitted into a hole in a door. Mortice means a hole in the door in which the lock is fitted. Check out our guide about door security

New for old 

This cover replaces an item that's been damaged beyond repair, lost or stolen with a new like for like replacement. For example, if your television is stolen we'll try and replace it with the same make or model if possible, or a similar make or model if the item is no longer available. 

Some insurers will give the cash value and you are able to buy a replacement, this is often quicker.

Exclusions apply. See the policy wording for more information.

Non-standard construction 

A non-standard construction house is built from materials that are defined as not standard. Standard houses have brick or stone walls with a roof made of slate or tile. MORE THAN classifies non-standard construction as anything that falls outside this, like a thatched roof.

Non-specified items 

These are items that you don’t have to tell us about or give more information about.

Personal possessions 

This covers the everyday items that you take with you and covers for loss in and out of the home, such as a handbag or mobile phone. This cover is also known as personal belongings or personal item insurance. 


A document that has information about the terms and conditions of a contract of insurance.

Policy limits

The maximum amount an insurer will pay out in an event of a claim.


The person who is named on the policy and has a financial interest in the home or contents. 


A house or building, including its land and outbuildings, is occupied by a business or individual.


The amount you pay for your insurance cover.

Re-build cost 

This is the cost to rebuild your property. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has a useful calculator to work out the rebuilding costs of your home using the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) guide.

Rental contents insurance 

This cover is for people who rent and want to insure their belongings against loss, theft or damage.


A situation involving exposure to danger. In insurance, this means the chances you may make a claim, like, if you live somewhere that has a high number of burglaries.

Sanitary fittings 

Bathroom fixtures such as a toilet and sink. 


How much an insurer will pay out in the event of a claim.

Schedule or schedule of insurance

Is a list explaining key terms, optional cover options, exclusions and limitations of an insurance policy.

Single article limit (SAL) 

Often known as a single article limit or sum assured. This is the maximum you can claim on your contents insurance for a single item. Should any of your belongings exceeding this limit be damaged, lost or stolen, such as jewellery, laptop, or television, then you might not be covered for their full value unless you have made additional cover arrangements. See specified items.


The gradual sinking of land. 

Subsidence excess 

The amount you pay in an event of a subsidence claim. This is often higher and differs to your standard excess. 

Sum insured 

Is the maximum amount of money that an insurer will pay in the event of loss. 

Specified items 

These are items worth over the single article limit. You may need to tell your insurer about these items separately, to ensure the right cover is in place, should anything happen to them. At MORE THAN you need to tell us about items worth over £1,000, whether you take it outside the home or not.


Ownership of a property, either mortgaged, rented or own outright.

Trace and access

    This covers the cost of removing and replacing part of the building to repair a heating or water system after a water or oil leak. For example, you have a burst water pipe behind a wall or underneath your flooring, and we need access to fix the problem. We will repair the floor or wall where we accessed the leak after it has been fixed.

    AT MORE THAN if you purchase our upgraded buildings cover we give you up to £5,000 for trace and access cover.  


    Is a solid foundation laid below ground level to support or strengthen a building. This is normally done after subsidence on your property. 


    This is inadequate insurance cover. In the event of a claim, underinsurance may result in not having enough to replace all the items and so being out of pocket. 

    Uninsured losses 

    An uninsured loss is simply a loss at your home that is not covered by your insurance. 


    Your property is not lived in or vacant. If your property is left vacant for over a number of days your insurance will be invalid or insurers may not payout for a claim. For MORE THAN your home should not be left vacant for over 60 days.


    A valuable is a high value or high-risk item, like jewellery. High-risk items are valuables in the home that are considered more likely to be stolen in the event of a burglary.

    Wear and tear

    Is the gradual deterioration of your belongings (contents) or the structure of the home, like fading curtains, draughty windows or the breakdown of household appliances such as a washing machine.

    Year built

    This means when the property was built, normally insurers need it within a range of 10 years. You can find this on your household deeds or if you rent ask your landlord.

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