A To Z Guide To Insurance Claims Jargon

Home and Business Insurance Policy A to Z

If you’re thinking about taking out a new insurance policy, renewing an existing policy or submitting an insurance claim, it is always better to have a good understanding of what could lay ahead. Our Helpful A-Z Guide of Insurance Terms below explains everything you need to know about insurance terminology.

We also provide many tips on what you should be doing when taking out a new policy for your home or business. By ensuring your policy is right at the beginning, you may find this more beneficial should you ever need to submit an insurance claim.

By providing this helpful guide, we hope to offer you with a better understanding of how insurance claims work and how important it is to have the right coverage in place within your insurance policy.

Home or business insurance claims can be very complicated, especially if you have been lucky enough to have never experienced one in the past. Public Loss Adjusters always recommend that if you have large business or home insurance claim, it is always advantageous to make use of an expert who is experienced in insurance claims management.

This could be an loss adjuster/assessor, a surveyor or other insurance claims management experts who are independent of your insurer. By having a professional working on your side, instead of your insurer’s, you will most likely experience a more positive outcome to your insurance claim.

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Our A to Z of Insurance Terms

Accidental Damage

This is usually available as an add on with most standard insurance policies. It usually protects both contents and the building against damage that you or someone else has caused by accident. This may be accidentally bursting a pipe with a nail or knocking a tin of paint over.

Act of God

An Act of God can be described as something that is unpreventable. This could include a lightning strike, flood damage, an earthquake or even war. In the past the general misconception is that insurers will not pay out for an Act of God but in many cases this is untrue.

Some insurers will include a clause that states that they do no cover Acts of God. Always ensure that whilst taking out your insurance policy that unexpected events are included in your policy.


This is a device that visually may potentially prevent your property from being burgled. If someone does break in then it will sound a very loud noise and may even automatically make the police, your alarm provider or yourself aware that you may be being burgled. Also, it may help you to lower the cost of your insurance policy.


This would be a change to your existing policy. For example; if a conservatory was added to your property, your policy should need to be amended to include this as the risk to the insurance provider may be increased.

Annual Premium

The annual cost of your home or business insurance, as set by your insurer and based on the level of cover and any added extras you may have.


An insurance broker can help you to find the right cover and price for your policy. They can even help you if you are unfortunate enough to have to make a claim. With the emergence of price comparison websites more people are using them instead to find the best deal for their home insurance.

Buildings Cover

This covers the building itself along with any permanent fixtures and fittings that you are legally responsible for. This should include fitted baths, toilets and kitchens. Insurance policies can also include garages and outbuildings such as sheds or greenhouses.


This is if you end your insurance policy before the end of its cover period. Generally, you may be charged a cancellation fee which will be stated in your terms and conditions. This may be a fee plus a fixed amount of notice period that is charged.

Certificate of Insurance

This is a legal document that is issued by your insurer and can be used as proof that you have an insurance policy in place. If you are applying for a mortgage, most banks will insist that a certificate of insurance is in place as part of the application process.

Claims History

This can make a difference to the price of renewing your policy. When applying for cover your insurer will consider any previous claims you have made within a certain time within the last previous years when calculating your quote.

Also, when renewing your insurance policy always make sure that you shop around. Generally, your current insurer will not give you the best renewal rate unless you threaten to go elsewhere.

Compulsory Excess

This is the compulsory amount of money you must pay if you have to submit a claim that is accepted by your insurer. The compulsory excess can be as little as £50 or even up to £500. The amount is set when you take out your policy so make sure you choose an excess amount that suits you just in case you need to submit a claim.

Contents Cover

In most cases this is a separate policy to buildings cover and will insure your household possessions. This would generally include but not restricted to all your furniture, appliances, household goods, frozen food, clothing, computers, gadgets and other personal items.

With some higher value items such as jewellery you may have to check your policy wording for any cover limits.

Cover Limits

This is a limit to the maximum cost the insurer will cover towards your claim. In some cases, we find that the policy is underinsured for damage that has occurred resulting in the policy holder having to cover the difference. We recommend that when you take out a new policy to keep this in mind just in case the worst happens.

Due Diligence

As the policy holder you are expected to be reasonably responsible of having to claim on insurance in cases which could have been prevented. This could be leaving doors unlocked or window open. It is also rumoured that insurance companies have checked social media profiles of people who have been burgled whilst on holiday. This is to see if they have ‘advertised’ that their property was empty.


On top of your Compulsory Excess this is the amount of money you also must pay towards your insurance claim. By setting the amount you would like to pay for both excess it can influence the overall cost of your policy. You may find that some insurers will be have a higher excess for cover such as subsidence. If the area where your property is located is prone to flooding this also may affect the price of your excess.


You may not be able to claim for certain types of risk or damage and these will be stated within your insurance policy. These will differ with individual insurers. An example may be leaving your property empty for more than 30 consecutive days.

Financial Ombudsman Service

This is a free service that policy holders may turn to if there is a dispute with your insurance claim. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is funded by the government and is there to act as an intermediary between you and your insurer.

Home Emergency Cover

Although some insurance policies will include a certain level of emergency cover, generally, this is an optional extra. This may cover you for unexpected emergencies such as a boiler breakdown or then immediate aftermath of a water leak where your insurer may send out a plumber within a short period of time. In this case it could also be beneficial to your insurer as the quicker the problem is rectified; the less damage may be caused.

Legal Expenses

Again, this is something that is generally offered as an added extra. It will cover any legal costs resulting from disputes with other individuals or businesses. However, should you lose your case, it would not be liable for the costs of any pay outs.

Loss Adjusters and Loss Assessors

Both are employed as experts to examine and assess your claim. They will let your insurer know how much it will cost to settle the claim. Generally, a loss adjuster is appointed by the insurer and a loss assessor or even a public loss adjuster is appointed by the policy holder.

Due to the complication of many insurance claims it has become more popular for policyholders to appoint an expert to act on their behalf with their insurance company. In many cases, this can result in a higher settlement as they are better equipped to deal with insurers as they can negotiate a fairer settlement figure.

New for Old

Most insurance policies now include this as standard but it is always worthwhile to check to make sure this is the case before you take out your policy. Basically, with New for Old you will receive a similar item that is brand new. There are however exclusions which could generally be items such as antiques or other high value objects.

No Claims Discount

If you haven’t made a claim on your insurance over a period of time you should be entitled to a no claims discount each time you renew your policy or take out one with another provider. Most insures will offer you a 10% discount for each full year that you have had an insurance policy in place where you have not had to make a claim. It is always worth checking how may years’ no claim discount you can receive as this will vary with different providers.

Obligation to Notify

Insurers require you to notify them if of any changes to your circumstances or to your property that may affect your insurance cover. If you have had any substantial building work to your property then you should make your insurer aware of this.

If you rent out a room to a lodger then also your insurer needs to be told. Also be aware that if you have a CCJ or have been made bankrupt this also need to be declared to your insurer. If you do not submit any of this information and you must make a claim, your insurer may reject it.

Optional Extras (Ancillaries)

These can be added to your policy in the time between when you receive your original quote and then take out you your policy. It could be something such as legal cover or home emergency cover and you choose if you would like to pay extra to have them included within your insurance cover.

Period of Cover

This is the period in which you are covered which usually tends to be around 12 months.


The person or business who takes out the cover.

Rebuilding Costs

These are costs to rebuild your property from scratch. This is cost of everything but not your current market value as this would work out different. When work this out you will need to consider your garden structures and any outbuildings.


This is the amount your insurer or potential insurer will charge you for their cover. We always recommend that you shop around especially at renewal time. Many insures will not at first, provide you with their best offer as they will be relying on the fact that you will just accept it rather than making the effort to find a better deal.

In the likely event that you do find a better quote elsewhere but would rather stay with your current supplier, your insurer may offer to improve their quote or match the best quote you have found.

Specified and Individual Items

These are items that may have a higher replacement value or are at a higher risk as they may be more attractive to thieves or burglars. This could also include items that are delicate or old. By bringing them to your insurers attention your policy premium may be adjusted to take them into consideration. With specified items the amount you can claim may be limited. This could be as low as 25% of the sum the item is insured for.


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