To help you understand the jargon associated with home insurance we have compiled a list of commonly used Home Insurance Terms with an explanation of what they mean.
These are general explanations only and if you have any question relating to your own policy please refer to your policy for full details of the specific Cover, Definitions, Terms & Conditions which relate to that policy.
Simply click on the relevant letter above and you will be taken to the section dealing with Terms beginning with this letter.
Act of God
The expression Act of God refers to a natural event that cannot be foreseen or predicted. Typically home insurance policies include cover for such “Acts of God” as Lightning, Earthquake, Storm and Flood.
An unlooked-for mishap or an untoward event that is neither expected nor designed for example a car crashing into your boundary wall.
Accidental damage cover
Standard home policies cover loss or damage resulting from specified perils such as Fire, Flood, Theft & Burst Pipes but do not protect you against accidental loss or damage for example wine spilt on a carpet. A policy including full accidental damage will cover such occurrences.
This is normally available as an optional extra on Home Contents insurance policies and usually covers personal possessions that can be carried on the person such as cameras, jewellery, watches and also sports equipment & bicycles where such items are lost, stolen or damaged while in your home or outside your home and also anywhere in the world for a specified period each year.
If your home becomes uninhabitable for a time following damage by an insured peril most home insurance policies will cover the reasonable cost of alternative accommodation up to a stated limit while repairs are being carried out.
Is the premium due at the inception or renewal date of a policy for the next year of insurance.
A garage or tradesman approved by an insurer to carry out repairs to a high standard on their behalf and on behalf of their customers.
A Category of Intermediary authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland who recommends the most suitable product on the market for their clients irrespective of the appointments or agencies they hold.
Average Clause or Under-insurance Clause
Such clauses are included in some home insurance policies. Where a policyholder under-insures the value of the property this clause entitles the insurer to reduce the amount they pay to the equivalent of the level of under-insurance arranged even for small claims. So if you insure for 50% of the value of your contents your insurer will pay only 50% of any claim no matter how small.
Betterment is where you are in a better position after the claim is settled than you were in before the loss occurred. Insurers may make a deduction from the amount of the claim where such betterment occurs.
Is an intermediary who seeks the best value for their clients and arranges policies with several insurance companies.
All policies define the buildings or premises covered by the policy and the definition will vary with each insurer. You should check that your policy definition of buildings fully meets your requirements.
Anything used for a business was traditionally excluded from a standard home insurance policy. Some insurers now offer limited business equipment cover either automatically or as an optional extra. This covers items such as business computers, faxes, answering machines & printers. If you work from home check your policy to make sure you are properly covered.
Central Bank of Ireland
The regulator in the Republic Of Ireland for Financial and Insurance services.
A claim is made when a policyholder seeks payment or reimbursement for loss or damage under the Terms of a policy.
All policies contain conditions which must be complied with by the policyholder such as the duty to take reasonable care to protect the insured property, or to report claims promptly to your insurer. You should familiarise yourself and comply with all the conditions of your policy.
Monetary loss following an occurrence of material damage.
All policies define the contents covered by the policy and the definition will vary with each insurer. You should make sure that your policy contents definition fully meets your requirements.
Physical harm directly caused by a peril insured by your policy such as Fire, Storm, Flood, Theft or burst pipes.
A definition of a domestic employee will vary from insurer to insurer but usually includes an employee of the Household carrying out private domestic duties in connection with the Premise including repair, maintenance or decoration. You should check your policy to make sure the cover meets your requirements.
The definition of buildings insured by your home insurance policy usually includes domestic outbuildings such as garages and sheds. You should check your policy to make sure all your outbuildings are insured.
If your property is damaged, you should take reasonable steps to prevent further damage by undertaking any necessary emergency repairs. Some insurers provide emergency helplines which will help you find a competent tradesman who will carry out emergency repairs for you.
An endorsement is a document that legally records an alteration to a policy.
Exception or Exclusion
All policies contain exceptions or exclusions. Familiarise yourself with the exceptions or exclusions on your policy as it is possible to delete some exceptions or exclusions for an additional charge.
An excess on a home insurance policy is the amount of money that your insurer will deduct from any claim which you make under the policy. The amount of such excesses vary from insurer to insurer.
Financial Services Ombudsman
The Ombudsman is a statutory body set up to deal with complaints from consumers relating to businesses providing financial services. The Financial Services Ombudsman is located on the Third Floor, Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2 and can be contacted at 1890 88 20 90.
An Irish Government tax and levy imposed on most non-life insurance premiums.
High Value Items
Each insurer defines these items differently but typically they include items of gold, silver, pictures or works of art and collections. Such items are covered within your overall contents sum insured but only up to specified limits. If such items exceed these limits they must be specified on the policy or otherwise they will not be fully insured. Check your policy to ensure you are fully covered.
A house, bungalow or self-contained purpose built apartment which is not the policyholder’s main residence and is used solely for holiday and recreational purposes.
A house, bungalow or self-contained purpose built apartment occupied by the policyholder as their main residence.
The insurance principle by which policyholders are placed in the same financial position after a loss as they were in immediately before the loss occurred.
A person or persons covered by an insurance policy ie the policyholder.
For an insurance policy to validly operate an insured must stand in relation to the subject matter insured by the policy so that they will benefit from its existence or will suffer from its destruction or damage.
Letter of Indemnity
In order to clear the funds for a mortgage your mortgage provider will require evidence that your home is insured, this evidence is provided by way of a letter of indemnity.
Covers your legal liability for accidents causing injury, loss or damage to members of the public and also usually to domestic employees. A home policy usually covers your liability as a Property Owner under the buildings section of your policy and your liability as an Occupier under the contents section of your policy. The contents section also usually includes Personal Liability which covers your liability as an individual.
Check your policy for full details.
An independent professional appointed by the insurer to negotiate settlement of a claim on their behalf. The Loss Adjustors Fees are paid by the Insurer.
An independent professional appointed by a policyholder to negotiate settlement of a claim on their behalf. The Loss Assessor Fees must be paid by the Policyholder.
Information that would influence an insurer on whether to accept the insurance or the level of premium they would charge. Failure to disclose a material fact such as a history of subsidence could invalidate a policy.
New-For-Old or Replacement as New
Where an item is lost or destroyed New for Old cover will provide for it to be replaced with a brand new item with no deduction for wear and tear. For example where an item of furniture is destroyed in a fire it will be replaced with a new one.
No claims bonus
An annual discount allowed when there are no claims on a policy.
A named event that can cause loss or damage such as a Fire, Storm, Flood or Stealing. Check your policy for full details.
Period of Insurance
The period shown on Your Schedule and any subsequent period for which your Insurer accepts a renewal premium. Most insurance policies are for 12 months.
Items of personal property that can be carried on the person such as jewellery and clothing.
Personal Accident Cover
Covers fixed benefits payable if an insured person is injured as a result of an accident. Policies usually provide lump sum payments for death or permanent injury and a weekly income for temporary incapacity.
The document that contains the contract between an insurer and a policyholder.
The person to whom an insurer issues a policy and who is normally the beneficiary.
The amount a customer has to pay in return for insurance cover.
Architects, surveyors and other professional fees incurred in connection with the repair or reinstatement of Buildings following loss or damage.
A person making a proposal to an insurer to arrange an insurance policy.
The immediate or effective cause of loss or damage though not necessarily closest in time.
Covers the policyholder’s legal liability for accidental injury or damage caused to members of the public such as an injury to a person caused by a slate falling from the roof of a house.
Notices sent to policyholders inviting them to renew their policies for a further period at a stated premium.
A typed section inserted in a policy containing the policyholder’s unique details including cover options chosen and their terms and conditions.
A term used by insurers to describe the type of dwelling construction that is acceptable to them for the purposes of arranging insurance e.g. a dwelling built of brick, stone or concrete and roofed with slates or tiles. Felt roofs would be regarded by insurers as non standard construction.
Standard cover on home policies usually covers loss or damage caused by Fire, Lightning, Explosion or Earthquake; Smoke; Storm or Flood; Riot, civil commotion, strikes, labour and political disturbances; Malicious Damage; Water escaping from, or frost damage to, a fixed water, drainage or heating installation; Subsidence, ground heave, or landslip; Stealing or Attempted Stealing; Impact by aircraft, aerial devices or articles dropped from them, rail vehicles, road vehicles or animals; Falling trees and branches and/or external television/radio aerials, masts and satellite dishes; Escape or overflow of oil from within any plumbing or heating system or fixed domestic appliance.
The sum insured is the amount for which you insure your property and it is the maximum your Insurers will pay in the event of a loss.
A Third Party usually refers to the other person or party involved in an accident or claim.
A loss of the subject matter of an insurance policy so that it is totally destroyed or damaged beyond economic repair.
Trace and Access Cover
Is the cover provided for tracing leaks to and from pipe work or other service related items.
Not lived in by a member of Your Household or any other person authorised by You.
Utmost Good Faith
When taking out home insurance the duty of Utmost Good Faith requires the Proposer to tell an insurer about any fact that could affect an Insurer’s decision to provide insurance cover or the level of premium to be charged.
A policy condition, which, if not complied with, invalidates the policy cover. For example a safe warranty that requires the policyholder to keep valuable items of jewellery in a safe when not in use.