Churchill magazine

Home insurance terms explained

Updated on: 16 September 2022

A house with a red front door.

Our home insurance cover is here to protect your home and its belongings, so it’s important that you understand your policy when you need it.

To help make things clearer, we’ve explained some of the common words and phrases that you’ll see. 

Accidental damage cover for buildings (Optional extra)

This protects your home against unexpected and accidental physical damage to the permanent structure of your home. This is already included if you have Home Plus.

Accidental damage cover for contents (Optional extra)

This protects your home contents against accidental damage, for example, dropping a TV while fixing it to a wall. This is already included if you have Home Plus.

Representative APR

Representative Annual Percentage Rate: the amount of money owed including interest and fees over a year.


A room built or converted for sleeping in, even it’s used for other purposes, such as an office.

British Isles

This includes England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Buildings sum insured

The total amount it would cost to demolish, clear and rebuild your home following an insured event, such as a fire.

Buildings (the permanent structure of your home)

Includes your home and its patios, terraces, tennis courts, swimming pools, walls, fences, hedges, gates, drives, footpaths, landlord’s fixtures and fittings, service tanks, drains, septic tanks, pipes, cables and central heating oil tanks.

Buildings insurance

Insurance for a building (the structure of your home), its fixtures, fittings and outbuildings against costs you must pay as a result of an insured event. These include fire, theft, storm or flood, subsidence, vandalism or escape of water. Buildings insurance is usually compulsory with a mortgage.


Your employment, business, trade or profession.

Business equipment

Includes: computers, towers, laptops, tablets, keyboards, visual display units and printers, fax machines, photocopiers, telephones and mobile phones.


Any items that you can remove from your home, such as: electrical appliances, furniture, furnishings, personal belongings, TV, jewellery, valuables, freezer food, cash, satellite dishes, aerials and business equipment. It also includes anything else kept in your home or outbuildings/shed.

Contents insurance

You’re covered against theft or damage to the contents of your home, garden or outbuildings as a result of an insured event such as fire, theft, storm, flood, subsidence, vandalism or escape of water (a leak or a burst pipe).

Contents sum insured

The maximum amount that your policy will pay out if all your home contents are destroyed.

Escape of water

Damage caused by water that has leaked from a specific source or area. Some examples might include leaks from a fixed radiator, bath or shower.


This is the amount you agree to pay towards any claim you make.

Family legal protection (Optional extra)

This covers you and your family who live with you for everyday legal disputes. This is already included if you have Home Plus.

Mortice lock

The most commonly used lock for front and back doors. It offers a good level of security in a choice of two, three or five levers. A British Standard five lever mortice lock is recommended for all external doors. Below is an example of a mortice lock.


Your ‘home’ is the insured property shown in the home insurance schedule along with its garages and outbuildings, as long as they’re not used for business.

Home Emergency cover (Optional extra)

24-hour emergency assistance for central heating, electrical emergencies, plumbing or draining issues. We’ll also provide emergency help if your home’s unsafe and a risk to your family. This is already included if you have Home Plus.

Home entertainment equipment

All computer equipment including games and laptops, TVs, DVD players, games consoles and audio equipment in your home (including aerials and satellite dishes fixed to your home).


Stands for Insurance Premium Tax. This is a compulsory tax on most types of insurance policies. The standard IPT rate is currently set at 12%. 

Inventory (a list of your home contents)

For our records, we’ll need a list of your home contents for each room including item descriptions, purchase prices, current values, photos and receipts.

Insured event

When you make a home insurance claim, the cause must be from an ‘insured event’ covered by your policy. Common events include:

  • Fire
  • Escape of water (leak)
  • Flood
  • Storm
  • Subsidence
  • Burglary
  • Vandalism

Mechanical failure

When an appliance stops working for no clear reason.


Cash, cheques, money orders, postal orders, current postage stamps which are not part of a collection, National Insurance stamps, saving stamps or certificates, Premium Bonds, Traveller’s Cheques, travel tickets, luncheon vouchers, gift tokens and phonecards which belong to you and aren’t used for business.

Optional extras

Optional extras are any additional types of cover that you’d like to add to your standard home insurance policy at an extra cost.

  • Accidental Damage cover

  • Personal Possessions cover

  • Home Emergency cover

  • Family Legal Protection


A person you’re permanently living with.

Period of cover

The period you’re insured for that’s shown in the home insurance schedule.

Personal liability insurance

Covers you for civil claims made against you.

Personal possessions

These are your personal belongings that you normally wear, use or carry with you. 

They include things like: mobile phones, glasses, sunglasses, laptops, tablets, e-readers, video games, wallets, purses, clothes, cameras, jewellery, watches, luggage, clothing, sports equipment, bicycles and more.

You’ll need optional personal possessions cover if you take them with you when you’re out and about.

Property owners’ liability cover

Covers you if someone has an accident on your property and makes a claim against you.

Rebuild cost

The cost to rebuild your home if it’s destroyed or damaged by an insured event such as a flood or fire. This includes the cost to clear the site and any legal fees. If you have a mortgage, the rebuild cost will be shown in your lender’s valuation report. The most accurate way of finding out a rebuild cost is to hire a surveyor. The rebuild cost isn’t the same as the market price.

Sanitary fittings

Washbasins and pedestals, bathroom and kitchen sinks, bidets, lavatory pans and cisterns, shower trays, shower screens, baths and bath panels. Swimming pools are not included.


The document which identifies the policyholder and sets out details of the cover your policy provides.


Downward movement of unstable soil underneath a building.

Trace and access

The work needed to find and repair the source of a hidden leak in the home. 


This is when the sum insured isn’t high enough to cover the actual value of your property or contents. For example, if your home is under-insured by 20%, then a claim payout could be reduced by 20%.


The company providing the insurance cover under this policy.


When your home is not normally and regularly lived in by you during the day and overnight.


Jewellery, watches, furs, items or sets or collections of gold, silver or other precious metal, works of art, sets of stamps, coins and medals all belonging to you or any member of your family.

We, us, our, the company

U K Insurance Limited.

You, your

The person named as the policyholder in the schedule, partner and members of their family (including foster children) who normally live with them.

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