We know insurance can appear confusing; a minefield of terms and conditions, full of unfamiliar language. Whether you’re buying a policy for the first time or checking over one you already have in place, it is important to understand the level of the cover in place to reduce the risk of losing out should the worst happen. Here, we bust the jargon and simplify some of the terms and wording that may be unfamiliar to you, to ensure you’re not losing out to hidden restrictions.
Unspecified Personal Possessions
Often an optional extra, this term covers personal possessions carried outside the home, for example watches, laptops and handbags. Items are usually limited to the value of £1,500 or £2,000 each and cover protects them from accidental damage, loss, theft etc anywhere in the UK and usually for up to 60 days worldwide. Cover is usually in bands of £1,000 starting at a minimum £2,000. The term ‘unspecified’ is key! Don’t assume all of your carried items are included in this – if you have something more expensive than the single item limit that you often take outside of the home, you will need to declare and specify it to your insurer.
Many people are under the misconception that they have full accidental damage cover – protecting all their household items, fixtures and fittings for cosmetic damage including chips, marks, spills and rips. However, the majority of standard policies only have a small element of accidental damage automatically included for damage to fixed glass, sanitary ware and non-portable TV/Video/Hi Fi equipment. It is important to remember that this is NOT Extended Accidental Damage and will not cover spills on carpets, rips in sofas, damage to kitchen fixture and fittings e.g. hot saucepan melts the worktop or that red wine stain from your most recent house party!
Most home insurance policies are commonly bedroom rated, which means you get automatic cover limits of typically £1 million for the building and up to £75,000 for contents. The premium increases with the more bedrooms you have. This works on the basis that a one bed is going to be a much smaller property than a five bed with less contents to insure. Many people lose out in the event of a large household claim such as a fire or theft by not declaring the number of bedrooms correctly when taking out their insurance policy. It is important to note that the number of bedrooms declared should be the number of bedrooms the property was built with, or extended to have, or the number of rooms in the house used as bedrooms; whichever is greater. This may push your premium up slightly when taking out or renewing your policy but could save you thousands if you ever have to make a claim, as any discrepancies on your bedroom declaration could result in an insurer refusing to pay out.
Proximate Cause – Medical Declarations
When looking at those long forms for travel insurance, it is important that you are able to agree with ALL aspects of the medical declaration. This applies when you take out the insurance and, for annual policies, each time you travel. If you can’t agree with every ‘tick box’ on the declaration because of a medical condition or recent visit to hospital, you need to disclose ALL pre-existing medical conditions. This is very important due to ‘proximate cause’. E.g., if you faint due to a pre-existing blood pressure issue whilst away and break a bone due to the fall, you would not be covered for the broken bone if the blood pressure problem was not declared. In this case, the claim would be turned down.
Driving Other Cars
People often believe that this term on their car insurance enables them to drive any other car not belonging to them or leased to them and be fully insured. Sadly, this is not the case and there are a few key points to remember. Firstly, car means car only – not vans! This term also only applies to the policyholder if aged over 25, no one else named on the policy. It is intended to give emergency cover only, as the car you are driving will not be insured for damage if you have an accident that is your fault or if you are unable to claim off the person to blame.
Insurance may seem confusing, but it is our job to cut through the jargon to help people feel safe and secure with their policies. If you have any questions regarding an existing policy or are looking for new personal or business cover, get in touch with one of our experts today. As brokers, we will go through your insurance with a fine-tooth comb to greatly reduce the risk of you losing out. Get in touch on or 01623649931.