This covers you if your belongings are damaged in an accident, and by accident we mean something that is unexpected and unintended; think spilling red wine on the carpet or dropping the TV.
An amendment is when you need to make a change to your insurance policy; for example, if you move to a new house, if you build an extension and want it to be covered, and if someone comes to live with you who is not a member of your family.
A broker, or intermediary, can be appointed to organise your insurance cover on your behalf.
Buildings insurance is cover for the actual building itself; protecting you for the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it is damaged or destroyed. This is required if you own the property, but is not necessary for tenants.
You can cancel a home insurance policy before the cover comes to the end of its term. However, you may be charged for doing so.
Certificate of insurance
When you take out your policy, your insurer will send you proof of your cover in the form of a certificate of insurance.
A claim is what you make against your home insurance policy in order to get a payout, for example if you are burgled or your property suffers damage in high winds.
Insurers will take your claims history - how many times you have made claims against your insurance policies in the past - into account when working out your premium. It gives them an idea of how risky you are likely to be as a customer.
This is a type of insurance which covers your possessions if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. Contents include anything your would take with you if you moved home, such as furniture, appliances, curtains, bedding and computing equipment.
There will be a maximum amount that your policy covers you for. There will also be limits on how much you can claim to replace a single item.
Over time, your belongings generally lose value due to wear and tear. Depreciation refers to the how much the value of the belonging may have fallen since you purchased it, and therefore how much the policy will pay out to replace it, unless you have ‘new for old’ cover.
The excess is the amount that you will pay towards any claim that you make. You can set your own excess level when taking out your policy.
A home insurance policy may have certain exclusions, events which are not covered under that specific policy. This could include floods for example.
Your contents insurance may include some cover for the items contained in your freezer, which may be ruined in the event of contamination by the chemicals inside, or by a rise or fall in temperature.
Home insurance doesn’t just cover the things inside the building itself; your policy may include a certain amount of garden cover, protecting the belongings you keep outside such as garden furniture or things kept in a shed or garage.
Good state of repair
Your property will generally need to be classed as being in a good state of repair in order for you to insure it. Essentially, this means the house should be structurally sound with no incomplete building works or signs of issues such as dry rot, damp or faulty wiring.
High risk items
These are items most commonly targeted by thieves; things like jewellery, bicycles and electronic goods. Your policy may limit the size of the payout to cover these items - for example, only a third of your total cover level.
Home emergency cover
This is an add-on to your policy which you may be able to purchase. It offers extra protection in certain emergencies, such as lost keys or plumbing and drainage problems.
Insurance Premium Tax
Tax is charged by the government on every insurance policy taken out. It has been increased a number of times in recent years and for 2017/18 stands at 12%.
Legal cover is another optional add-on to your policy. It provides additional cover towards legal fees should you need to make a claim against someone else, for example a personal injury. It can also help with the legal costs if you are the one being sued.
A loss adjuster may be sent out to confirm the circumstances of your claim and the extent of any damage caused. They will tell your insurer the amount they should pay to settle your claim.
New for old
Your contents insurance may include a ‘new for old’ clause. This means that if you make a claim to replace one of your belongings, you will get enough to buy a new one, even if the item in question is quite old.
Non-disclosure is when you have not told your insurer an important piece of information when taking out your policy, for example if the property has a history of flooding. This could cause any payout to be reduced, or even your policy to be voided entirely.
Period of cover
This is how long your cover lasts for. With home insurance, this is usually a term of 12 months.
Your policy is the home insurance contract which you have taken out, detailing precisely how much cover you have, the cost of that cover, and any other relevant terms and conditions.
The premium is how much you pay for your policy. You can generally pay your premium on a monthly basis or all in one go, though remember that you may be charged interest if you go for the monthly option. As a result, it could cost more.
When you take out buildings insurance, the cover level is not based on the value of the property but on what it would cost to rebuild the property if it was destroyed beyond repair. This cost is usually lower than your home’s sale price or market value.
When determining whether to offer you cover, an insurer will assess the level of risk associated. Essentially, this is how likely you are to want to make a claim on your policy.
Your policy may come with certain special conditions which affect the cover you enjoy and when you may be able to make a claim.
The underwriter is a person who works for the insurer who assesses the level of risk associated with you and your property and sets out the price for that cover and any additional terms and conditions.