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Property insurance policies serve as a protective shield for homeowners, safeguarding their assets from unexpected damages or losses. Yet, navigating the complex language of insurance terms, especially those related to claims, can be perplexing. To ensure homeowners have a clear understanding, let’s decode critical terms commonly found in UK property insurance policies, by providing straightforward explanations and relatable examples.

Key Terms in UK Property Insurance Claims:

  1. Premium: The premium is the amount you pay periodically (monthly or annually) to maintain your insurance policy. It’s similar to paying for a service that safeguards your property. The cost of this protection is determined by various factors like the property’s value, location, and the coverage level you select.

Example: Sarah pays a monthly premium of £50 for her home insurance, ensuring her house is protected in case of fire, theft, or other covered incidents.

  1. Deductible/Excess: Deductible or excess refers to the initial amount a policyholder agrees to pay out of pocket before the insurer covers the rest of a claim. If someone has a deductible of £250 and files a claim for £1000, they’ll pay the first £250, and the insurer covers the remaining £750.

Example: James’s policy has a deductible of £500. When his property suffered storm damage amounting to £2000, he paid the £500 deductible, and the insurer covered the rest.

  1. Policy Limit: Policy limit is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for a covered loss. If the claim surpasses this limit, the policyholder is responsible for the excess expenses.

For example, if your policy limit for theft is £20,000 and the loss amounts to £25,000, the insurance will only cover up to the policy limit of £20,000.

  • Sum Insured: This means the amount that the policy covers for the entire property, contents, or business. The buildings sum insured should be set at the amount it would cost to complete demolish and rebuild the entire building. Failure to set this amount correctly at the outset of the policy could lead to you being under-insured and result in the settlement on any claim being greatly reduced, even if the claim is for a small amount.

Example: You make a claim worth £10,000. Upon inspection, the loss adjuster calculates the cost of rebuilding to property is £500,000. However, you only have a buildings sum insured of £250,000. In this case the loss adjuster will deem your buildings sum insured to be 50% adequate, and only pay 50% of your claim.

  • VAR (Value At Risk): This means the full amount that should be insured. So in the above example (4), when the loss adjuster calculates the cost of rebuilding the property, they are calculating the Value At Risk.
  1. Claim: A claim is a formal request made by a policyholder to the insurance company for financial coverage due to damage or loss according to the policy terms.

Example: Emily made a claim with her insurer after her home was burgled, requesting compensation for the stolen valuables.

  1. Peril: Peril refers to the specific risks or causes of damage covered by an insurance policy. This could include incidents like fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.

Example: John’s insurance policy covers perils such as fire, lightning, and theft, ensuring his property is protected against these risks.

  1. Exclusion: Exclusions are situations or risks not covered by an insurance policy. If damage occurs due to an excluded event, the insurer will not provide coverage.

Example: Maria’s policy excludes coverage for earthquakes. When her property sustained damage from an earthquake, her insurance company denied the claim.

  1. Adjuster: An adjuster is a professional hired by the insurance company to assess the damage and determine the amount the insurer will pay for a claim.

Example: After a flood damaged his home, David’s insurance company sent an adjuster to evaluate the extent of the damage and assess the claim amount.

  1. Claim Settlement: Claim settlement refers to the final agreed-upon amount that the insurance company pays for a covered claim after considering deductibles, policy limits, and depreciation.

Example: After a thorough assessment, the insurer agreed to pay £10,000 as a claim settlement for the water damage to Alice’s property, following the deduction of her £500 excess.

  1. Reinstatement:

Reinstatement in property insurance refers to the process of restoring or repairing the damaged property to its original condition before the covered incident occurred. It involves making the property whole again by repairing all damage or replacing items that were damaged or lost.

For instance, if a fire damages the roof of a house, reinstatement involves repairing or replacing the roof to bring the property back to its pre-damaged state. The insurance policy typically covers reinstatement, subject to the policy terms and coverage limits.

Example of Reinstatement: Suppose a storm causes extensive damage to Emma’s house, including broken windows, damaged roofing, and interior water damage. To reinstate her property, the insurance company covers the costs of repairing the roof, replacing the windows, and restoring the interior to its pre-storm condition.

  1. Loss Assessor:

A loss assessor is an independent claims professional hired by the policyholder to assist in managing and negotiating an insurance claim. They work on behalf of the policyholder’s interests, evaluating the damage, documenting the claim details, and negotiating with the insurance company to ensure fair compensation.

When a policyholder faces complex claims or disputes with the insurer, a loss assessor acts as an advocate, leveraging their expertise to navigate the insurance policy terms and procedures.

Example of Loss Assessor: After experiencing a fire in her home, Laura hires a loss assessor to represent her interests in dealing with the insurance company. The loss assessor assesses the damage, compiles the necessary evidence, and negotiates with the insurer to ensure Laura receives the appropriate compensation for the fire damage to her property.


Understanding the nuances of key terms in UK property insurance claims is crucial for homeowners to make informed decisions and navigate the claims process effectively. Terms like ‘reinstatement’ and ‘loss assessor’ hold significant importance in comprehending the restoration process and acquiring professional support in managing insurance claims.

By grasping these terms and their implications, homeowners can confidently engage with their insurance policies, ensuring adequate coverage and assistance when facing unexpected damages or losses to their property. Regularly reviewing policy documents and seeking clarification from insurers can further empower homeowners to protect their valuable assets and secure their peace of mind.

If you would like to speak to an expert about this or any other aspect of your claim, call our free Property Claim Helpline on 0800 002 5819, for a no obligation consultation.


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