Coronavirus help and support for our insurance customers


A | B | C | EG | I | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V |

From accidental damage to vacant possession, insurance terms can be confusing. Our glossary will help you to understand some of the jargon so you can know more about the policies we offer. If you have any questions about these phrases or the wording of your policy contact us to speak to a specialist adviser.

Accidental damage

Damage caused by accidental means as opposed to fire, theft or reckless conduct on your part. Accidental damage is usually subject to a policy excess for each claim.

Agreed value

The value of the insured items is agreed by you and the underwriters at the start of the period of insurance. This value then applies at the time of a claim.

All risks

All risks cover provides the broadest form of insurance cover. Such policies do not name the risks covered but list the exclusions and all unnamed risks are automatically covered.

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance covers the fabric of the actual building and the cost of damage to the structure of your property. This includes the roof, walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows. Outdoor structures such as garages and fences are also included.

Business interruption

Covers lost income while a business is out of commission or you are unable to trade. And also includes the costs of repair necessary to get your business back up and running.

Certificate of insurance

This document is legal evidence of your insurance. This is an important document which you may need to produce in the event of a claim and will be provided to you by your insurer with your policy documentation.

Cherished car

A vehicle that is older than 20 years (25 years in the case of classic commercials) and to standard factory specification. A very limited selection of vehicles between 10 and 15 years old are also deemed to be 'cherished', but are subject to Towergate underwriting approval.

Cherished number plate

Registration numbers issued by DVLA in the UK, which may be rare or unusual, often spelling names or places. Some may be very valuable as they are able to be transferred from car to car, but in some instances following a total loss this may be disallowed.


Any report of an incident in which the policy holder requests a payout or indemnity from the insurer under the conditions of the policy.


Applicable to Spanish property owners - the 'cover of extraordinary risks' (known as consorcio) insures you against some additional, extraordinary occurrences such as terrorism. Check with your adviser for the latest information.

Contents insurance

Covers the items in your home which are not fitted to the main structure of the building such as clothes, appliances, furniture, jewellery and other items of value. If you were to turn your house upside down, anything that fell out would be classed as 'contents'.

Cover note

A cover note is a temporary form of certificate, usually valid for 30 days only.

Current market value

The current market value is the price which your property would sell for on the open market.


An endorsement refers to any variation or addition to the terms of your policy. You can refer to your policy statement for a list of any endorsements that apply in your case. Don't worry - there is nothing untoward about having endorsements on your statement - and you can always speak to a Towergate adviser for further clarification.

Escape of water

Escape of water refers to leakage from fixed water tanks, apparatus (e.g. washing machine) or pipes.


Generally a policy will have an excess applied to it. This indicates the initial amount of any claim that you will pay. For example, if the value of your claim is deemed to be £600 and your excess is £100 - you will pay the first £100 and the insurer will pay the difference, in this case £500.

Excesses can often be increased or decreased to affect the premium (the amount you pay for your insurance). Increasing your excess will often result in a lower premium as the insurance company decreases the potential payout in the event of a claim.

General conditions

Conditions which apply to all sections of the policy. These must be read in conjunction with other sections.

Inception of insurance

The day your insurance policy starts

Index linking

Index linking ensures that the sum you insure your building or property for is updated every year to reflect economic variations - giving you the reassurance of knowing your insurance value is going up in line with inflation, not down. This feature comes as standard on all our property insurance policies.

Laid up cover

Cover for a vehicle that does not include road risks. Vehicles covered by this type of policy cannot be driven on the public highway or any other area to which the public have access. Often used for winter storage.

Limited mileage

The term given to a motor policy that restricts the maximum mileage you are allowed to cover, in return for a reduced premium. The Towergate cherished car policy allows for up to 7,500 miles in certain cases, or as little as 1500, according to individual requirements.

Material fact

A material fact is a piece of information that would directly influence an insurer in assessing and setting your premium - and must be disclosed. Failure to divulge any material fact could void your policy. If you're in any doubt as to whether something constitutes a material fact, talk to an adviser.


The Motor Insurance Database is an independently operated database of all insured cars in the UK. It is accessible by the police, and insurers are required by law to supply certain data to the MID within a maximum of 14 days from inception of insurance cover.

Natural catastrophe system

Like the Spanish consorcio scheme, in France the Natural Catastrophe system (which is partly funded by taxes) provides a level of cover against natural occurrences that are otherwise not covered by insurance policies in France (e.g. avalanche, flood and earthquake).

New for old cover

This type of cover means you will receive a brand new 'like for like' replacement of your insured item in the event of a total loss claim.

No-claims bonus

A premium discount that rewards drivers for a number of years of claim-free driving. It is important to note it is a no-claim, not no blame bonus, meaning if your insurer pays out for a loss and the outlay is not recoverable, then the bonus will be lost. It is often possible to protect against this for a small additional premium. Towergate cherished car policies are not subject to a no-claims bonus.

Non standard

Refers to a risk that may be outside the insurer's usual limit of acceptance and often refers to a modification made to your insured items.

Non standard construction

Any property which includes an element of construction which causes the property to require specialist cover. Examples include; thatched roofs, steel framed houses, timber framed houses and flat roofed houses.

Occupier's liability

As occupier (irrespective of whether you own the property) you carry a duty of care to protect your safety and the safety of other occupants of the property. It is your responsibility to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe and free from danger.

Overseas use

Use of insured items outside of the UK and Northern Ireland.

Period of insurance

The period of time covered by the policy as shown in the policy schedule and any further period for which the insurer agrees to insure you.


Policy is the name sometimes given to your contract of insurance. It refers to the level of cover that you have agreed with your insurer, outlines the terms, and details any particular conditions that you need to be made aware of, or that you need to make your insurer aware of.


The insurance premium is the amount you pay for your insurance, normally on an annual basis (or by instalments).

Proposal form

The basis of the contract between you and insurer. An insurance contract is based on utmost good faith, which means you are duty bound to answer all questions correctly to the best of your knowledge. Failure to do so may void your cover.

Rebuild value

Buildings insurance covers the cost of rebuilding your property as it stands - not in as-new condition or the value of the land on which it stands. This is a different valuation than the current market value of your home which is the price you would sell your property for. Outbuildings including sheds, garages, swimming pools, tennis courts, terraces and patios should be taken into consideration when deciding on the rebuild value of your property.


The point at which you as a policyholder are invited to reinsure for a further year. Normally terms will be issued at least 6 weeks prior to your renewal date.


Following the settlement that's paid out at the resolution of a claim, you will usually be allowed to retain the vehicle salvage at a nominal cost, subject to prevailing legislation regarding motor vehicle salvage. This is especially important where the vehicle is rare or of historical importance.


The settlement is the payout you receive at the resolution of a claim, and in line with the stipulations of your policy. A settlement is affected by the excess you choose, and is dependent on you supplying your insurer with accurate and up-to-date information.

Structural survey

A thorough examination of the property usually carried out by a qualified surveyor, who will check that the interior and exterior match the minimum requirements for a lender to make a mortgage offer.


Subsidence refers to movements in the earth caused by geological or man-made factors. If your house is a subsidence risk it can make it harder to insure.

Total loss

The situation where the repair cost versus the item's value renders repairs uneconomic, thus 'writing off' the property as a total loss.


Underwriting is the process that insurers go through when assessing any new risk for insurance cover.


Stands for uninsured loss recovery. The process by which your uninsured losses in the event of a no-fault accident are recovered for you. For example, your excess is an uninsured loss and you would not wish to have to forfeit this if the accident was not your fault.

Vacant possession

If your holiday property specifies vacant possession, it simply means that it will be unoccupied on, or before the sale completion date, ready for you to move in.


A policy condition that must be complied with to the letter, for example, a garaging warranty, whereby the vehicle must be in a locked garage between the hours of 2200 and 0600 unless in the course of a journey. No cover would operate if this strict warranty was not complied with.