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Home insurance made simpler with our jargon buster

  • 29, Sep 2022
  • Read time: 10 mins

Home insurance can be confusing, especially if you’re trying to get to grips with all the terms. It’s important you know these words to ensure you have the right cover for your home. Fear not though, help is on hand with our alphabetically-listed jargon buster guide all in one place.

Man thoughtful on the laptop.

ABI (Association of British Insurers)

Insurance companies, like MORE THAN, become members 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 

An accident or event that can’t 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.

Alternative accommodation 

If you can no longer live in your home 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.

Amendment

A change to your home policy, like a change of name or address.

Annual premium

A single one-off payment you make 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, including summer houses
  • Drives and patios

Building sum insured

The amount of cover that helps towards 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. MORE THAN policies don't include a cancellation fee.

Claim - fault claim and no-fault claim

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

Fault claim is, for example, if you’ve done something, like putting your foot through the ceiling when in the loft. This could be an accidental damage claim.

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

Claim history

Information about any claims you’ve made. When you get a quote, insurers normally ask if you’ve made a claim in the last 3-5 years.

Contents

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, like 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

The amount of cover that helps towards the cost of replacing your belongings if they’re damaged or lost. Sometimes you may have to add an optional cover option like out and about cover (personal possessions), because the cover isn’t 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

The time after you take out your home policy when you can usually cancel without a fee. This is often 14 days after you take out your policy.

For MORE THAN renewals, the cooling off period is 14 days from the renewal date. Once we know you’d like to cancel your policy, we'll refund any payments unless you’ve made a claim in the current period of insurance.

Escape of water

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

Excess – compulsory and voluntary

The amount you’ll have to pay towards a claim.

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

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

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.

Exclusions

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 type of cover and stands for:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Explosion
  • Aircraft cover

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

If you’re offered FLEA cover, you should check exactly what you’re covered for.

Freezer cover

Contents of your freezer, but fridges are sometimes covered too. Insurers will pay up to a limit to replace food spoiled because of a breakdown or power cut. MORE THAN covers up to £500 to replace fridge and freezer food as standard.

Garden cover

Garden insurance covers your garden items against loss, damage and theft. This includes items you might 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 usually have to include this cover option on your home policy.

Good state of repair

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

Heave

When the soil beneath your home expands and pushes the ground upwards, sometimes causing 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 or collection that’s more likely to be stolen if your home is broken into. Some insurers ask specifically about these items if they’re worth over a certain amount, like over £1,000.

You’ll need to give more information about these items. 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 you should check this is included when taking out insurance.

Home emergency cover- assistance and upgraded cover

Cover in the event your home becomes unsafe, insecure or might cause more damage to your home or contents. Learn more about our home emergency cover options.

Insured events 

An event that causes an insurer to pay a claim. 

Joint proposer or joint policyholder 

When two people, like a couple, both want to insure a property. 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 legalities of a situation.

Listed building 

A building with special architectural and historic interest. Planning and change restrictions will be in place on the property so that it can be protected for future generations. The older a building is, and the fewer surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to be listed.

Matching sets

If part of a matching set, like a sofa, is damaged and can’t be repaired, we’ll try to replace the whole matching set. Not all insurers offer this cover option.

Moneyfacts

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

Mortice lock

A lock fitted into a hole in a door. Mortice means a hole in the door where the lock is fitted. Read our guide about door security.

New for old 

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

Some insurers will give you the cash value so you’re able to buy a replacement, which often works out quicker.

Exclusions apply. See our policy wording for more information.

Non-standard construction 

A building 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.

Personal possessions

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

Policy

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.

Policyholder

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

Premises

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

Premium

The amount you pay for your insurance cover.

Re-build cost 

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 

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

Risk

A situation where there’s exposure to danger. Insurers see this as the chance of you making a claim. For example, if you live somewhere that has a high number of burglaries.

Sanitary fittings

Bathroom fixtures like a toilet and sink.

Settlement

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

Schedule or schedule of insurance

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 insured. This is the maximum you can claim on your contents cover for a single item. If any of your belongings over this limit are damaged, lost or stolen, including jewellery, laptop, or television, then you might not be covered for their full value unless you’ve made extra cover arrangements. See specified items.

Subsidence

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

The maximum amount of money 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 you have the right cover if anything happens 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

Tenure

Ownership of a property – either mortgaged, rented or owned outright.

Trace and access

    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’ll repair the floor or wall where we accessed the leak after it’s been fixed.

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

    Underpinning

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

    Under-insured

    Inadequate insurance cover. In the event of a claim, underinsurance may result in not having enough to replace all of your items.

    Uninsured losses

    A loss at your home that’s not covered by your insurance.

    Unoccupied

    Your property is not lived in or vacant. If your property is left vacant for over a certain number of days, your insurance won’t be valid or insurers may not pay out for a claim. For MORE THAN, your home shouldn’t be left vacant for over 60 days.

    Valuable

    A high value or high-risk item, like jewellery. These are valuables in the home that are seen as more likely to be stolen in the event of a burglary.

    Wear and tear

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

    Year built

    When the property was built. Insurers usually need it to be within a range of 10 years. You can find details on your household deeds or, if you rent, ask your landlord.

    Find out more about home insurance

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