The purpose of this glossary is to provide clear and understandable explanations of some of the terms that we use on this site, and in dealing with customers.  Many of the more technical definitions are included in the policy wordings for each policy.  This section is designed to give more general definitions.  Please contact us if there are other terms that need explanation – but check the FAQs first! – or if you think that there are other terms that we could add here.

Accidental Damage (home insurance)

Physical damage caused suddenly by an outside force which is not expected and not deliberate. This means an unintentional, one-off incident that damages your property or its contents. So, general wear and tear or damage that occurs gradually is NOT accidental damage. For example, if you accidentally drop your laptop, this is accidental damage. But, if your laptop stops working because of a mechanical fault or due to its age, this is not accidental damage.


Any claim that you make under your insurance policy, whether for loss, theft, damage, cancellation, or any other event that is insured under the terms of your insurance policy.


The first amount of each claim you have to pay. For example, if you have buildings insurance, and your home suffers storm damage to your roof that will cost £1,000 to repair, but your policy has an excess of £100, you’ll be asked to pay the excess of £100 but be able to claim for £900 (the cost minus the excess).


Your spouse or partner, any children (including adopted and foster children).  Depending on the particular policy, this definition may include grandparents, grandchildren or any other relatives all of whom normally live with you.

Insurance Policy/Policy

This is the agreement between you and the insurer that provides cover against an insured event happening.  It is made up of two parts – the general standard wording, and then the Schedule of Cover, which is a document that is specific to you, and lists your details, the period of cover, the level of cover and the major limits.

Schedule of Cover

The Schedule of Cover is one part of your Insurance Policy, and lists your details, the period of cover, the level of cover and the major limits.


England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

UK Resident

There are various tests of residency, depending on the wording of each policy, but in general your main residence must be in the UK, you need to have spent 6 of the last 12 months in the UK, and you may have to be registered with a medical practitioner in the area in which you live.


There are also several sites that will give additional explanations of terms that the insurance industry uses.  We recommend that you also try the following helpful websites:

A useful starter from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association -

An extremely comprehensive list of insurance terms from the Lloyds’ insurance market -

Terence Higgins Trust