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Sainsbury's Bank

Home insurance glossary

Accidental damage

Damage to your home or contents that happens without intent, unexpectantly or by chance or through carelessness.


A burglar alarm is a device that monitors your home and helps to protect against intruders. There are two main types: audible-only alarms and monitored alarms. Audible-only alarms produce a loud warning sound if triggered. Monitored alarms are linked to an external security company or the police and will notify them electronically if triggered.

Alternative accommodation

Somewhere you live when your home in uninhabitable due to something you've claimed for.

Approved supplier

A supplier that your insurer has approved and authorised to give a quote, repair, reinstate or replace the insured building and/or it's contents.


The structure of your home - walls, floor, roof, doors - it's permanent fixtures and fittings - like the bathroom suite - and any outbuildings.

Buildings accidental damage

Usually an optional extra that covers your home against non-deliberate damage, such as drilling into a pipe or cable.

Buildings insurance

An insurance policy that covers your property itself along with any permanent fixtures within it such as baths, sheds, fitted kitchens, drains, garden walls and radiators.

Business equipment

Computers and equipment (excluding electronically stored data) mainly used for the business, trade or profession of you or your family. This doesn't include stock, money, or documents.

Compulsory excess

A set amount determined by your policy that you are responsible for paying in the event of a claim.


Things you or your family own that you would usually take with you if you moved house.

Contents Accidental Damage

Usually an optional extra that covers your personal belongings and non-permanent fixtures and fittings against non-deliberate damage caused by you.

Contents insurance

A policy that covers your non-permanent household goods against eventualities such as as fire, theft, storm or flood, vandalism or malicious acts, escape of water or subsidence.

Escape of water

A result of burst / leaking pipes or faults in a plumbing system.


People that share your home, including your long term partner, husband or wife, civil partner, children, foster children and other relative who lives with you permanently, but not lodgers or tenants.

Family legal protection

Cover against the cost of legal expenses and court proceedings if you or your family should be involved in any private legal disputes, including those related to property or employment. Family legal protection usually offers 24-hour legal advice and cover for your salary should you be called to jury service.

Fixtures and fittings

These are usually things that are built in to your walls or floors that you wouldn't take with you if you moved house, like radiators, light fitings, fixed glass, and built in furniture.


The upwards or sideways movement of the ground beneath your house sue to the soil expanding or swelling beneath your house. For the opposite, see subsidence.

Home emergency cover

Usually an optional extra that covers emergency call outs and repairs for necessary services in your home such as electricity, plumbing, heating and locks.

Home insurance

A general term that is used to describe contents and building insurance.

Household goods

Removable contents of your home, including personal possessions, non-permanent household goods, bicycles, furniture and money.

Insurance premium tax (IPT)

A government tax that is included in the price of home insurance.


Annual protection against the cost of permanently losing your keys. It usually covers the replacement and reprogramming of all keys lost on the same key fob, including car keys.


A mechanism that secures doors and windows. There are many different types of lock, and the type installed in your home may affect your policy.

Loss adjuster

An independent professional normally appointed by the Insurer for larger more complex claims

Loss assessor

An independent professional that can be employed by you to act as an advocate between you and your insurer in the event of a claim.


Sheds, greenhouses, summer houses, and other buildings which aren't attached to the main house but are part of the property.

Period of insurance

The period shown in your schedule that your policy covers you for - usually 12 months - as long as you keep up to date with premium payments.

Personal possessions

Items that you wear or carry with you outside your home. This can include valuables, jewellery, bicycles, sports kit and electronic equipment.

Policy Schedule

The document given to you by your insurer that has details of the period of insurance, the sections of the policy that apply, the premium you'll need to pay and details of any excesses.

Religious Festival

A time of special importance or significance for a religion.

Statement of fact

A form your insurer will give you when you buy a policy with all the information you have given them about your house. It's really important to make sure this information is corrrect and to call your insurer immediately if it isn't.


The downward movement of the ground on which a building stands.

Sum insured

The total amount that your building or contents is insured for.

Trace and Access

Can cover costs incurred whilst locating the source of escape of water, including repairs to walls, floors and ceilings.


When a house is left without furntiture or contents for an extended length of time - usually 60 days or more- making it unusable for normal dailiy living/sleeping


Not lived in by you or your family for more than 60 consecutive days


Personal possessions that have particular value, including jewellery, watches, furs, precious metals, works of art and specialist collections.


Any animal or insect that by its narutre causes loss or damage, for example rats, mice, squirrels, pigeons, foxes, bees and wasps

Voluntary excess

An additional sum on top of the compulsory excess that you can volunteer to pay in the event of a claim. This is optional, but volunteering can lower the cost of your insurance premium.