Glossary of home insurance terms

  • Accident

    An unexpected event which occurs and causes damage to your home, for example a burst pipe.

  • Accidental Damage

    Insurance which protects you against accidental and unexpected damage.

  • Alternative Accommodation

    Suitable accommodation which is provided by your insurer if you are unable to live in your own home due to damage from an insured event.

  • Amendment

    Any change which is made to your original home insurance policy is classed as an amendment.

  • Betterment

    The amount which you pay towards a claim if your property will be worth more after any repairs completed as part of the claim.

  • Beyond Economic Repair

    Goods are deemed to be beyond economic repair where the cost of repairing the insured property exceeds the value of that property. In such cases we would pay the claimant the market value of the insured property at the date of loss, subject to the terms of the policy.

  • Building Under Construction Insurance

    Insurance which covers loss or damage to your private property whilst it is in the course of construction. Cover is restricted on buildings under construction to fire, storm, lightning and explosion.

  • Buildings and Contents Insurance

    Comprehensive insurance cover which protects your property and your belongings.

  • Buildings Insurance

    This insurance pays the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it is damaged by unforeseen events (as detailed in your insurance policy). The sum insured should also include debris removal and professional fees. This will cover your house, sheds and outhouses.

  • Business Equipment

    Business Equipment includes items which you use for your own business which are located in your insured property. For example, computers and printers.

  • Business Interruption

    This insurance covers a business in the event of the loss rendering the business inoperable or hindered by an event such as a fire or a breakdown of machinery. The policy will define the gross profit and uninsured working expenses within the policy wording, which will be subject to increased costs of working and savings.

  • Cancellation

    Choosing to end your home insurance policy. You may be charged an administration fee depending on when you cancel your policy. In certain circumstances the insurer may choose to cancel the policy.

  • Caravan Cover

    Caravan cover will cover accidental loss or damage to the trailer caravan or mobile home, however no cover applies while the caravan is used as a permanent home. This is an optional extra therefore it is at an additional premium.

  • Schedule of Insurance

    This document provides proof that your property is covered by insurance. The schedule is part of the policy. It includes the policyholders’ details, the dates of insurance and the property insured.

  • Claim

    An application which is made to your insurance provider when looking to recover damages from an incident, as covered by your policy.

  • Claimant

    Any person who has undergone a loss, which they believe to entitle them for compensation under the terms of an insurance policy.

  • Claims History

    Insurance companies will examine the number of claims which you have made in the past and what you have claimed for when deciding on your insurance premium.

  • Contents Insurance

    This insurance covers loss or damage to property within your home. For example, furniture, clothing, personal possessions etc. Contents cover is a separate type of insurance to buildings insurance, which covers the structure of your property. This insurance is ideal for renters.

  • Contribution

    If a claim is covered by two or more insurers, then each shall pay an equitable proportion of that claim.

  • Damages

    The sum of money which is paid to the claimant as compensation for either injuries, or damages to their property.

  • Entertainment Equipment

    Entertainment Equipment includes items which you use for entertainment purposes which are located in your insured property. For example, television or speakers.

  • Emergency Home Repair

    Emergency Home Repair is a standard cover on all of our home insurance policies. You are covered in the case of sudden plumbing, electrical roofing or similar domestic problem.

  • Employers Liability Insurance

    A must for all employers. Employers liability insurance is required in case any employees pursue their employer for compensation in case of (for example) unfair dismissal, sexual discrimination, or injury in the workplace caused by employer negligence.

  • Escape of Water

    Damage which is caused by water which escaped from the mains water supply. You are usually only covered for the water damage itself, not the burst pipe.

  • Excess

    The agreed amount of some or all losses arising under an insurance contract that must be borne by the insured. It will vary depending on your property.

  • Exclusions

    A term in an insurance contract, which excludes the insurer from liability for specified types of loss. An exclusion may apply throughout a policy or it may be limited to specific sections of it.

  • Freezer Cover

    Freezer Cover will cover you for loss or damage to your freezer contents for any claim up to €750.

  • Garden Cover

    Garden Cover will cover you for damage to your garden furniture for up to €750. Valuables, money, any plant, shrub, tree and pedal cycles are all excluded under this cover.

  • Good State of Repair

    A property which does not have structural problems such as faulty wiring or dry rot. The property must be kept in good condition.

  • High Risk Items

    Items which are frequently stolen from homes such as jewellery, laptops and audio equipment are known as high risk items.

  • Holiday Home Insurance

    House Insurance which you have taken out to cover your holiday home and its contents. The policy may cover building insurance, content insurance or both.

  • Home Emergency Repairs

    Emergency Home Repairs are available for minor emergencies which happen in the home that will need a short-term fix such as a broken window, damaged roof, or a plumbing problem.

  • Indemnity

    On the happening of an event insured against, the Insured will be placed in the same monetary position that he/she occupied immediately before the event taking place.

  • Insurable Interest

    A person is said to have an insurable interest if the event insured against could cause that person a financial loss. For example, anyone may insure their own property as they would incur a loss if an item was lost, destroyed, or damaged. If no financial loss would occur, no insurance can be arranged.

  • Insurance Confidential

    Insurance Confidential is a confidential helpline run by the Irish insurance federation for the reporting of Insurance Fraud.

  • Insurance Premium

    The amount which you must pay to be covered by your home insurance.

  • Insured Events

    An incident which your insurance will cover, as laid in in the terms and conditions of your house insurance policy.

  • InsuranceLink

    InsuranceLink is an industry database of claims used for the prevention and detection of fraud.

  • Insured

    A person who is insured under a contract of insurance. This person is also referred to as the policyholder.

  • Inventory

    Inventory is a list of all your home contents, taken room by room. Keeping an inventory can be useful when you are calculating the value of the contents in your home in the case of a claim.

  • Jury Service

    Your home insurance policy will cover you for €20 each day that you go to court for jury service, with a maximum claim of €750.

  • Landlord Insurance

    Landlord Insurance can help to ensure you have your property protected, as well as your rental income, and cover your legal liability to tenants with your insurance policy.

  • Landslip

    This occurs when the land beneath your property begins to slope, damaging the property.

  • Liability

    A policy which covers the insured against third party claims or, in the case of liability insurance, claims by employees or members of the public.

  • Listed Building

    A listed building is a building of historical or architectural importance which can only be altered with government permission.

  • Loss Adjuster

    Usually employed by the insurance company, the loss adjuster investigates the claim and gives his confidential opinion of the amount of compensation the insurance company should offer to the claimant under the terms of the policy. The Loss Adjuster is paid by, and reports to the Insurance Company.

  • Loss Assessor

    Employed by the claimant to ensure that they receive fair compensation for their loss. The loss assessor does the same research as the loss adjuster, but with the claimants' interests in mind. The Loss Assessor will negotiate with the Loss Adjuster until he or she is satisfied that sufficient compensation is being offered in settlement of the claim.

  • Management Expenses

    Cost of running the business includes the direct cost of the SBU and indirect costs charged from the service departments. Note these costs exclude any Claims costs (claims dept. cost and indirect costs of claims).

  • Rebuild Cost

    The estimated cost of rebuilding if the building was totally destroyed. This is not necessarily the market value of the building. This will be used when deciding the pay-out in the case of a claim.

  • Material Facts

    A material fact is a fact which would influence the mind of a prudent underwriter in deciding whether to accept a risk for insurance and on what terms.

  • Mortgagee

    This is the lender who provides you with finance in order to buy property, it can be a bank or other type of lending agency.

  • Mortgagor

    This is the person who borrows money from a lending agency or bank in order to finance the purchase of a property.

  • My AXA Account

    This is your own secure online area, hosted by us, where you can access your policy details at any time of day.

  • New for Old

    This is where insurers will pay the replacement cost, as new, in the event of a total loss. Nowadays, insurers prefer to replace through their pre-selected suppliers.

  • No Claims Bonus

    Your No Claims Bonus gives you a reduced insurance premium for every year that you do not make a claim on your home insurance policy to the maximum of three years with AXA.

  • Occupiers Liability

    This covers the legal liability for paying claims which you may be liable for from occupation of a building.

  • Ombudsman (FSPO)

    This is a statutory body appointed to represent the interests of the public to investigate and address unresolved complaints reported by individual citizens.

  • Optional Extras

    Optional Extras are additional features which you may want to buy and add to your home insurance policy for additional cover.

  • Owners Liability

    Owners Liability covers the legal liability which may arise in the case that you need to pay compensation for accidents which arise out of ownership of your building.

  • Period of Cover

    The period of cover is from the start date to the end date of your current policy. This is shown on your schedule and certificate of home insurance.

  • Personal Accident Cover

    Personal Accident Cover covers you, your partner and children up to the age of 18 in the event of an accidental injury. This is an optional cover and an additional charge may apply to add to your policy.

  • Personal Possessions Cover

    Personal Possessions Cover is an optional extra which protects valuable items, such as jewellery, away from your home.

  • Policy

    Documentary evidence of a legal contract, which states the terms of the agreement between the insured party and the insurance company. This document will contain exclusions of warranties and other clauses, which may require to be interpreted by professionals.

  • Policy Holder

    The person in whose name the contract of insurance is issued. This person is responsible for the home insurance policy.

  • Premises

    This is the household which is covered under the home insurance policy. This will be outlined in the policy schedule.

  • Premium

    This is the amount which you pay for your home insurance policy. The amount will depend on the type of cover you have. It can be a once-off lump sum or it can be a monthly payment.

  • Proximate Cause

    An insurer will only be liable to pay a claim under an insurance contract if the loss that gives rise to the claim was proximately caused by an insured peril. This means that the loss must be directly attributed to an insured peril without any break in the chain of causation.

  • Public Liability

    This covers the amount which you are legally responsible to pay as damages for bodily injury (including death) to a visitor in your home.

  • Quote

    Your quote is the premium and terms which your insurance company offer you to insure your home or its contents for a certain period.

  • Reinstatement

    The cost of repairing or restoring the property to its pre-loss condition.

  • Reinsurance

    The practice of insurers transferring portions of risk portfolios to other parties by some form of agreement in order to reduce the likelihood of having to pay a large obligation resulting from an insurance claim. The intent of reinsurance is for an insurance company to reduce the risks associated with underwritten policies by spreading risks across alternative institutions.

  • Reinsurance Recoveries

    Partial recovery of claims when the claims or event (catastrophe) exceeds the reinsurance treaty threshold.

  • Renewal Notice

    A renewal notice is a letter or email which your insurance company will send you at least 21 days before your policy is up for renewal and due to expire.

  • Replacement

    Where an insurer agrees to replace irreparably damaged or stolen goods with goods of a similar type and quality instead of paying a cash sum to the insured.

  • Risk

    Your home insurance premium is calculated based on how likely you are to make a claim. Insurers will weigh up a number of factors to form a risk profile.

  • Settlement

    The sum of money which an insurance company is willing to pay out if your claim is successful.

  • Specified Possessions Cover

    Specified Possessions Cover ensures that individuals have insured items away from their home and specified their value on the policy.

  • Subrogation

    A term denoting a legal right for an insurer to pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured. This is done as a means of recovering the amount of the claim paid by the insurer to the insured for the loss.

  • Subsidence

    This is the downward movement of the ground on which your property stands when the soil beneath the buildings foundations is unstable.

  • Sum Insured

    The maximum amount that an insurer will pay in respect of the insured building, contents or specified item(s) under a contract of insurance.

  • Tenants Liability

    This ensures that tenants in a rented building are covered under contents insurance.

  • Third Party

    Someone other than the insured or his insurer.

  • Total Loss

    Total loss is said to have occurred when the subject matter of an insurance is lost, destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

  • Trace and Access

    Cover to detect and repair any leak in your home. This can also cover the cost of removing and replacing any part of your home necessary to fix the leak.

  • Underinsurance

    This occurs when the amount which the property is insured for isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of replacing all your contents or building work.

  • Uninsured Losses

    Uninsured losses are items which are not covered by your insurance policy.

  • Underwriter

    Underwriters evaluate the risk of potential clients and calculate their insurance premiums.

  • Unspecified Possessions Cover

    Unspecified Possessions Cover allows you to select an amount of cover for valuable items away from your home. There is no need to list each of the items individually. This is an optional extra on your policy and will cost extra.

  • Valuables

    These are generally expensive items, such as jewellery and antiques. Valuables are contents which are likely to be stolen during theft.

  • Void Policy (Abinitio)

    A contract is treated as if it never existed due to non-disclosure or misrepresentation of material facts and so has no legal effect and is therefore unenforceable in a court of law.

  • Voluntary Excess

    A voluntary excess is an agreement with your insurer, where you agree to be responsible for a higher part of each claim in return for a lower premium. The excess is the amount of your claim which you are responsible for.

  • Wear and Tear

    The amount deducted from a claims payment to cover the depreciation of the property insured through usage over time. Where cover is provided on a "new for old basis" (where the insurer agrees to replace an old item with a similar new one) no such deduction is made.

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