Guide to common insurance jargon terms
Insurance can be a complicated business. Policy documents and phrases can be confusing. Understanding what insurance you need is time consuming. This is where Buckingham Insurance can help. We have provided this document to clarify what some commonly found certain terminology means.
ADDENDUM (or ENDORSEMENT): This document sets out in writing any agreed alterations to an insurance contract.
ADJUSTER: A person who investigates and assesses claims on behalf of insurers.
AGGREGATE LIMIT OF INDEMNITY: The maximum amount an insurer will pay under a policy in respect of all accumulated claims arising within a specified period of insurance.
ALL RISKS: A type of insurance that covers any accidental loss or damage, unless the cause is specifically excluded from the policy.
ASSURANCE: Sometimes used instead of “insurance” but generally relates to life cover.
CLAIMS: A formal request from a policy holder to an insurance company asking for a payment based on the terms of their policy.
COMMON LAW: A law developed through historical decisions of courts based on individual cases, rather than those decided through a legislative process.
CONCEALMENT: Deliberate suppression of a material fact relating to risk, usually making the contract null and void.
COVER NOTE: A document for a policyholder which confirms details of the insurance cover that has been arranged.
DEFERRED PREMIUM: The part of your insurance premium which, following agreement with underwriters, is payable by instalments.
EMPLOYERS’ LIABILITY INSURANCE: Covers employers’ legal responsibility to an employee who has been injured or become ill and their employment is deemed to be the cause.
EXCESS: A portion of a claim that the policyholder pays for. This can either be voluntary as a way to reduce the premium, or a compulsory condition set out by the underwriters.
EX-GRATIA PAYMENT: A payment made by the insurer to the policyholder when there is no contractual obligation to do so.
GROSS PREMIUM: A premium at its full, before any deductions are taken for broker fees and discounts.
HAZARD: A feature that introduces or increases risk.
INCEPTION DATE: The date from which, under the terms of a policy, an insurer is deemed to be at risk.
INDEMNITY: Security or protection against a loss or other financial burden, which aims to leave the policyholder as they were before the loss.
INSURANCE BROKER/INTERMEDIARY: A full-time specialist with professional skills in handling insurance business who advises clients and arranges their insurance. An insurance broker would be remunerated by a commission from an insurer when placing business, but is the agent of their client first and foremost.
INSURANCE PREMIUM TAX: The Finance Act 1994 introduced this new tax on most general insurance risks located in the UK.
FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN SERVICE: A bureau established by major insurance companies to oversee the interests of policyholders whose complaints remain unsolved through normal company channels of communication.
LAPSE: The non-renewal of a policy for any reason.
LIMIT: The insurer’s maximum liability under an insurance, which may be expressed “per accident”, “per annum” etc.
LOSS: Another term for a claim.
MATERIAL FACT: Any fact which would influence the insurer in accepting or declining a risk or in fixing the premium or terms and conditions of the contract is material and must be disclosed for the policy to be valid.
NEGLIGENCE: Failure to use a degree of care considered reasonable under a given set of circumstances.
NEW FOR OLD: Where insurers agree to pay the cost of property lost or destroyed without deduction for depreciation.
NO CLAIMS BONUS (OR DISCOUNT): A reward by way of a partial premium rebate given to a policyholder by an insurer where no claims have been made by them within a set period of time. Very common in motor insurance.
NON-DISCLOSURE: The failure by the policyholder or their broker to make the underwriter aware of a material fact or circumstance before acceptance of the risk.
PERIOD OF RISK: The period during which the insurer can incur liability under the terms of the policy.
POLICY: A document which details the terms and conditions of an insurance contract.
PREMIUM: The amount paid for an insurance policy.
PRODUCTS LIABILITY INSURANCE: These policies cover the policyholder’s legal responsibility for bodily injury to persons, or loss of or damage to property caused by defects in goods sold, supplied, erected, installed, repaired, treated, manufactured, and/or tested by the policyholder.
PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE: This policy protects a professional against their legal liability towards third parties for injury, loss, or damage arising from their own professional negligence or that of their employees.
PROPOSAL FORM: A form sent by an insurer to a person requiring insurance so as to obtain sufficient information to allow the insurer to decide whether or not to accept a risk and what conditions to apply if it is accepted.
QUOTE: A statement by an insurer of the premium required for a particular insurance policy.
REINSTATEMENT: Reinstatement refers to the renewal of insurance coverage after a lapse in payment.
RENEWAL: The process of continuing an insurance policy from one cover period to the next.
RISK MANAGEMENT: The identification, measurement and economic control of risks that threaten the assets and earnings of a business or other enterprise.
SALVAGE: A recovery of all or part of the value of an insured item on which a claim has been paid. The insurer will normally dispose of the item and apply the proceeds to reduce the cost of the claim.
SCHEDULE: A Policy Schedule outlines cover provided under the policy including details of the policyholder and limits, sums insured and excess of the cover.
STATEMENT OF FACT: A statement provided by the insurer detailing the basis on which insurance is accepted and what conditions apply.
SUM INSURED: The maximum amount payable in the event of a claim under contract of insurance.
THIRD PARTY: A person claiming against an insured. In insurance terminology the first party is the insurer and the second party is the insured.
UNDERWRITER: A person who accepts business on behalf of an insurer.
WARRANTY: A very strict condition in a policy imposed by an insurer. A breach entitles the insurer to deny liability.
WEAR AND TEAR: This is the amount deducted from claims payments to allow for any depreciation in the property insured which is caused by its usage.
Hopefully that has shed some light on insurance terms, but if you’re still not completely clear, speak to us at Buckingham Insurance and we can help you make sense of your insurance and policy documents.