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Welcome to the Call Wiser Glossary of Insurance Terms. The list below is a collection of commonly used insurance jargon, terms and phrases. Should you have any insurance queries, then this is a good place to start!
This is a situation where both parties or drivers involved in an accident are deemed to be at fault. This can easily occur on the road in busy traffic or when facing difficult weather conditions. When this occurs, both of their insurance providers will pay towards the cost of the claim and damages. This is also known as a ‘knock-for-knock claim.’
The Association of British Insurers is a market association whose members consist of UK insurance companies. The ABI exists to promote the interest of its members in all classes of insurance by gathering market statistics, sharing this information and raising awareness.
Accelerated No Claims Bonus:
Although a no claims bonus is only active after 1 year, there are some insurers we work with that will offer an accelerated version meaning that you can receive the same bonus, despite only 9 months of claim-free driving.
These are the additional items that come with a vehicle upon purchase such as the spare wheel, jack, air conditioning and radio. Some of these items can be added or removed after purchase.
For drivers that share a common interest (such as classic car owners), they can belong to special member clubs or ‘affinity groups.’ This will give them perks such as invitation to events, subscription to magazines and discounts on their insurance. The groups are typically non-governmental and non-commercial meaning that are joined by people who love a particular thing, not purely to get a discount.
Like Call Wiser, aggregators are companies that work with several insurers to broker the best deal for the customer.
Some vehicles are worth more the older they get, such as classic cars and limited edition vehicles. When you need to make a claim, you will typically receive less and less money over time as cars tend to depreciate in value. But with agreed value cover, you will be able to claim for what the vehicle is actually worth as it goes up in value, year-upon-year.
Anti-Lock Braking System can be fitted to your vehicle and stops the wheels locking if you need to brake hard. This reduces the risk of the vehicle skidding uncontrollably and is favoured by most insurers as it is less likely to cause an accident and lead to a claim.
Any Driver Policy:
This is an extension to your motor insurance policy that allows any person to drive the vehicle provided that they are legally entitled to do so. It is common for family vehicles with lots of drivers and also companies where staff will use different vehicles such as couriers and taxi drivers.
This stands for ‘Automatic Number Plate Recognition’ and involves a camera fitted into fixed sites and police cars. The camera is linked to the Motor Insurance Database and it takes an image of a vehicle’s number plate and can tell whether or not the vehicle has valid insurance or not.
This is a garage or mechanics that the insurer knows and has approved to do future work on their clients. If you need to make a claim, some insurers will be willing to cover the cost of repairs or replacements to your vehicle provided that it is done by an approved or authorised garage that they work with. This allows the insurer to confirm the price and also know that the quality of the repairs will be of a high standard. If you do not use an approved garage, you may be required to pay an additional excess.
This is a little device, the size of a smart phone, that is attached to your vehicle’s dashboard and uses GPS to monitor the quality of your driving. If the data shows that you are a safe driver or have covered less mileage, you can save money on your insurance. See black box insurance.
This type of insurance allows you to claim for any damage or repairs to the physical fittings of your building or home. For example, you can claim for walls or floors to be repaired if they were damaged by a fire, flood or vandalism.
When a vehicle experiences a technical fault whilst driving, it is known to ‘breakdown.’ With all policies from Call Wiser, new customers receive free breakdown cover so that a professional mechanic will come attend to your broken down vehicle as quickly as possible and get you back on the road.
Business Use Car Insurance:
This is when a vehicle is used for business purposes such as driving to work, going to meetings and making deliveries. When applying for motor insurance, you must state the class of use and reason for driving the vehicle, hence you would mention that it is for business purposes.
Certificate of Motor Insurance:
This is the official document, required by law, that is provided by your insurer and states that you are legally insured to drive your vehicle.
Class of Use:
Your motor insurance contract will state the reason or purpose for driving your vehicle and this will be reflected in the premium you are charged. The different classes of use include social, domestic and pleasure, commuting and business use and they present different risks to the insurer so will come with different rates. See classes of use for more information.
A classic vehicle is deemed any vehicle that is older than 30 years old and a ‘modern classic’ must be over 15 years. Classic models can be more expensive to cover due to wear and tear and because their parts can be harder to replace. However, since they are potentially worth more the older they are, you can get ‘agreed value cover’ so that your claims will pay you the actual value of the vehicle as it increases in price.
This is the amount set by your insurer at the beginning of your insurance term and is the amount you have to pay to release your insurance and make your first claim. The amount is typically around £200 and once you pay this, you can make a claim. For small scratches and dings, it is does not make sense to make a claim because you will be charged £200 to start claiming, but it could be worthwhile for bigger repairs.
This is cover for personal belongings you keep in your car or home including gadgets, jewellery and clothes. You are able to claim in the event that they are lost, damaged or stolen.
The extent of protection provided under the insurance policy. There are various levels of cover but for motor insurance the three common levels are Third Party Only (the minimum requirement), Third Party, Fire and Theft and Fully Comprehensive (the most cover available).
The Claims Underwriting Exchange is a database of insurance claims details provided by most insurance companies. Insurance companies that participate in CUE are able to check the database for any undisclosed claims and whether a customer was at fault or not. The use of the database has been an effective tool in the fight against insurance related crime such as the “cash for crash” scams.
This is the highest level of vehicle insurance you can purchase and includes any damages to third parties, fire, flood and theft and your own vehicle. It is the only level of cover that allows you to claim for damage to your vehicle and personal injuries. Despite being the highest level of cover, the cost between this and the basic third party only is very little as insurers are competitive to offer more cover.
Continuous Insurance Enforcement:
This is a legal requirement that came into force in 2011 and states that all vehicles in the UK must be insured to drive legally on the UK roads. You are only exempt from this if you have registered your vehicle ‘off-road’ through a Statutory Off Road Notification, known as a SORN.
For anything you do that is worthy of penalty points, such as drink driving, speeding, driving without insurance or not wearing a seatbelt, it is called a motoring conviction. The number of motoring convictions you accumulate will increase the cost of your insurance policy as you are deemed high-risk and some insurers may not cover various convictions. See the full list of driving convictions here.
Cooling off Period:
Once you have applied for insurance and received your policy documents, you legally have a 14 day cooling off period which allows you to cancel your policy and not be charged anything.
If you are having repairs and replacements carried out by an approved garage, they may give you a courtesy car for a number of days whilst the repairs are being carried out. There may be a fee for this but some of the insurers we work with at Call Wiser offer courtesy cars for free as part of the policy.
This is a certificate of temporary insurance. So if you are being covered for just a few days or weeks, you can provide your cover note as proof that are insured.
This is the code for a motor conviction that involves using a mobile phone or handheld communication device whilst driving.
This is a driving office for trying to drive under the influence of alcohol. This is considered by insurance companies to be one of the most serious convictions and will likely lead to higher premiums and sometimes additional restrictions to the cover.
This is the official document confirming someone’s ability to drive and what vehicles they are allowed to use.
Driving Licence Endorsements:
These are the driving offences and motoring convictions that will remain on the driving license for a period of time, depending on the severity of the conviction. Proposers have a responsibility to disclose any endorsements to their insurer or broker when applying for cover. If the endorsement has been spent and is no longer on the driving license, it will not influence the cost of your premium or eligibility.
Driving Other Cars:
This is available to drivers over the age of 25 and gives them immediate third party only cover to drive any other vehicle of their choice, despite not being named on the policy. It is a common error that this is available on all fully comprehensive policies but this is not always the case, therefore it is important to check your policy documents and the small print.
This involves taking out two policies with different insurers to cover the same risk. This can happen if two policies overlap and if the customer needs to claim, they can essentially receive compensation from both insurers. However, they will never receive more than the costs incurred and generally speaking, dual insurance or ‘double insurance’ is frowned upon by insurers and one policy is deemed sufficient.
Duty of Disclosure:
During the application process or renewal, the proposer has a responsibility to tell the broker or insurer of any relevant details that relate to forming their policy. This includes previous motoring offences, claims, medical conditions, vehicle and driving information. It is important that the customer discloses this information as failing to do so can compromise the cost of your premium and make the policy void if you ever need to claim.
Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority has the records of over 47 million drivers and 37 million vehicles. It is responsible for monitoring drivers and vehicles in the UK and has the largest database. You can contact the DVLA to make your vehicle off-road, change license plates, import and export cars and many more.
This is a financial contribution that a customer has to pay to the insurer in order to make a claim. It is made up of a ‘compulsory excess’ which the insurer determines and is something you have to pay e.g £200. The other half is the ‘voluntary excess’ which the customer chooses to pay and can be higher or lower depending on the amount of risk they wish to take.
Excess Protection Insurance:
When making a claim, you will need to pay your excess amount to receive any compensation. By purchasing some protection, you can have your excess amount reimbursed when you go to make a claim. Your excess is likely to be a few hundred pounds so for paying a small premium for protection can be a good investment.
This is where there is an accident or loss and the policyholder is considered to be at fault or fully to blame in the eyes of the insurance company. This means that the insurer cannot retrieve the costs from anyone else involved. This can occur if the policyholder is responsible for an accident but also if their vehicle is damaged but they cannot trace the perpetrator.
The Financial Conduct Authority replaced the FSA (Financial Services Authority) in 2013 to regulate the industries that provide financial services. Their role is to provide regulation to ensure the market puts customers' interests at the forefront of their activities and to encourage ethical behaviour at the highest levels of financial services.
To drive a vehicle beyond the UK, it is referred to as Foreign Use. There are several nations that have signed up to the Green Card System which requires drivers to acquire a physical ‘Green Card’ as proof that they have the minimum cover to drive in that country. If you have a UK insurance policy, it is likely to be applicable in other EU countries however, some insurance providers require the issue of a Green Card if full cover is required abroad, not just minimum cover.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is the authority for making complaints against financial institutions and consumers can reach out to them if they feel that the company they are dealing with has not resolved the issue.
This is an illegal attempt to make a more experienced driver the main driver of someone else’s vehicle in order to save money. If discovered, it can lead to claims being refused and prosecution.
This relates to the separate policies to cover the fitted glass on a vehicle such as the windscreen and windows. It is not included in third party only cover and third party, fire and theft, however, it is included in fully comprehensive policies.
This is a motor certificate of insurance that allows you to drive in other countries that are part of the Green Card System, confirming that you have the minimum cover required. The Green Card name is derived from the fact that it was/is printed on green paper. The issue of a Green Card by an insurance company often extends to the full policy cover but this may depend on the insurer, so be sure to ask for more details.
All private motor cars are given a Group rating from 1 to 50 by the Association of British Insurers. It is based on the idea that the higher the rating, the more risk it poses and therefore reflects a higher premium. There are several factors that go into the rating of your vehicle including the engine size, speed, security and repair costs. For instance, a Ferrari is likely to be closer towards the 50 rating because it is a high performance vehicle but a Smart car is likely to be closer to 1 because it presents less risk. See car insurance group ratings for more information.
This refers to acts or circumstances that increase the chance of a loss occurring such as leaving your car unlocked overnight or putting your valuables on display in the car when you are not around.
Hire and Reward:
This is insurance used for transporting other passengers or goods in exchange for a fee such as couriers and taxis. If anything happens to the people or goods you are carrying during transit, any compensation can be paid for through your insurance.
This is an electronic device that is fitted to the vehicle and forbids it from starting unless the right key or ignition device is present. This is a security feature that many insurers look at favourably because it reduces the risk of theft – hence it can lead to reduced premiums.
Whether imported from Japan, US or Europe, these are vehicles that come from abroad and perhaps were never designed for UK roads. They present different risks to insurers because they might be left-hand drives or follow different health and safety regulations.
A vehicle may be confiscated by the police if it is found to be uninsured. Insurance companies will typically be unwilling to insure a vehicle that is currently impounded and therefore if you are applying for cover, you must make your insurer aware of this.
This is the driving offence for driving on UK roads without insurance or even the basic third party cover. If discovered, it can lead to heavy fines, prosecution and penalty points. It is likely that the vehicle will be impounded and taken away by the police.
This is a middle man between the customer and the insurance provider, typically referred to as a broker or comparison website. Call Wiser acts as an intermediary and the purpose is to review the different policies and prices available to help the customer get the best deal possible.
This follows the idea that you can only insure something that you own or have an interest in. Therefore, insurance companies require applicants to be the registered keeper or part owner of a vehicle when applying for cover.
This is the price of your insurance in return for the cover agreed and any legitimate claims during the policy term.
Introductory No Claims Discount/Bonus:
A big discount can be applied to your policy if you can go several years without making a claim. This is known as a ‘no claims bonus’ and whilst this can take one year or several years to accumulate, some insurers we work with offer an introductory no claims discount. This means that you can still receive a discount in the first year provided you do not make a claim.
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This allows you to cover vehicles that are currently not in use and declared SORN. Although not in use, the vehicle may still be valuable, such as a classic car, and continue to grow in value. So if it is damaged or stolen, you can still claim for any costs.
Legal Costs Cover:
This reimburses the customer for costs associated with legal representation to claim compensation for personal injury, loss of earnings or damage to their vehicle. This is something included automatically in all policies taken out through Call Wiser.
If you are involved in a legal battle due to a road accident, your legal expenses insurance can contribute towards solicitor fees, lawyer fees, court fees and provide replacement income for your time off work.
This refers to drivers having a duty of care or responsibility for other third parties on the road such as vehicles, pedestrians and pieces of property. In the event that there is an accident, the policyholder can be liable for damages and have to pay compensation.
If a vehicle is written-off due to severe damages, the insurer will look at the market value to determine the costs for replacing it. This is the price according to what it is worth if purchased on the open market.
These are the facts deemed important by the insurer when deciding whether or not to accept risk, the premium and terms. It is important that the applicant discloses all information about the state of their vehicle and driving history when applying for a quote.
If you are involved in a motor accident, you can claim for medical related fees such as hospital bills, medication, physiotherapy and loss of income.
A proposer must make their motor insurer aware of any medical conditions as this can affect the risk of being involved in an accident and influence their premium. Medical conditions include disabilities, heart problems, dizziness and sight. Insurers must know about the stability of the condition and any medication that is being taken and how this may alter the driver’s ability.
Mid Term Adjustment:
This is an opportunity to make any changes to your policy half way through the insurance term. This can include a change of address, different drivers or estimated mileage. By making an adjustment, you are able to get more accurate cover and potentially save money.
Any physical changes or add-ons to your vehicle are known as modifications. They come under two forms: “cosmetic” is visual changes that do not affect performance and include paint jobs and alloys. The second is “performance enhancing” designed to speed up the vehicle such as engine tuning, spoilers and turbocharging. It is essential to inform your insurer about any modifications because you will need to cover any new features and also because it can put your vehicle into a different group rating and this will affect the cost of your insurance.
Motor Insurance Bureau:
The MIB is an organisation funded by taxes paid by all UK motor insurance companies. Their aims are to reduce uninsured driving, to compensate victims of uninsured drivers and to help UK drivers with making claims that occur abroad. They also are responsible for operating the UK Green Card system which offers motorists the minimum insurance cover to drive overseas.
Motor Insurance Database (MID):
This is a database which was designed to help reduce uninsured driving in the UK. All insurance companies are encouraged to enter the details of the drivers they insure so everyone can benefit. It is linked to the DVLA so that it registers every driver’s insurance and allows them to pay for their tax online.
Multi Car Insurance:
You can purchase cover for up to 5 people on the same policy and save money because you are buying insurance in bulk. This is ideal for large families with lots of cars in the driveway but can also be extended to include neighbours, friends and family members at different addresses. See multi car insurance.
This is an additional person other than the policyholder who is added to the policy and is legally registered to drive the vehicle. This is typically a family member, parent or spouse.
This is an accident or loss where the policyholder is not at fault and therefore their insurance company should be able to recover any costs or damages from somebody else. For instance, if a driver was hit in the back of their car whilst waiting at a traffic light, they would not be at fault. This would allow their insurer to pay for any immediate costs and then reclaim these from the insurance of the driver who was at fault.
No Claims Bonus/Discount:
This is a huge discount which can be added to your premium provided that you drive for several years without making a claim. There is an initial discount after driving claim-free after one year and this increases year-upon-year until eventually you can receive a discount of up to 80% if you do not make a claim over 5 years. Even if you move to a different insurance provider, the no claims discount can be moved to another policy.
No Claims Discount Protection:
Since a no claims bonus can give you such a big discount, you are able to pay a small premium to protect it. This will allow you to make one or two claims a year and still keep you discount intact.
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This is an additional practical driving course which is targeted for new drivers and young drivers. It takes around 6 hours to complete and costs around £150 to £180 depending on the course or individual driving instructor. It is recognised by the majority of insurers as a way to improve the quality of one’s driving and can therefore reduce the cost of insurance by as much as 20%.
Period of insurance:
This is the effective dates of the insurance policy as stated in the Certificate of Insurance. The insurance company agrees to offer cover during the dates agreed.
This is an event that leads to a loss such as fire, theft, vandalism, war, terrorism, floods and earthquakes. There are some perils which you cannot predict and therefore cannot insure for, so it is better to name them as ‘perils’ or ‘risks.’
These are the contents that are kept in your vehicle such as clothes, electronics and tools. Insurers typically make you responsible for these in the case of theft or loss so there is little cover in a standard car insurance policy. Therefore, if they are very expensive items, you should have these properly protected with a contents or tools insurance policy. Call Wiser, however, offers free gadget, wallet and handbag cover as standard with every vehicle policy.
This is the individual or company whose name the insurance policy is set-up in. It is typically the owner of the vehicle or company who determines the amount of cover they require and pays for the policy.
Upon taking out a new policy, you will receive a document with the full wording of the insurance policy. This includes general information about your cover, conditions, exceptions and advice on how to claim and how to complain. This is read in conjunction to the policy schedule below.
This is a unique document given to the policyholder that highlights the level of cover provided by the insurance policy. The schedule will contain sections relating to the individual’s personal details, vehicle details, excess payable etc. The schedule is not a stand-alone policy document and should always be read in conjunction with the policy booklet in order to fully understand all conditions and exclusions.
This refers to the customer, applicant or individual who is looking to purchase the insurance.
This is term used by insurance companies when investigating a claim as they aim to find out what was the real cause of the incident. Whether it is a road accident, loss or theft, they need to understand the real causes and who was at fault in order to pay a claim.
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With policies typically lasting a year, you will be contacted a few weeks before it is going to expire to discuss taking out a new policy for the following year. By reviewing your activity over the previous year, we can look at ways to save you money and on average, we have helped each customer save around £150 on their car insurance upon renewal.
This is the possibility of something happening that causes a loss. Understanding the risk is key for insurers when assessing the price of a policy.
Road Traffic Act 1988:
This is the main legislation that governs motor insurance in the UK. The Road Traffic Act makes it compulsory to have a minimum level of motor insurance in case you are involved in an accident with a third party. It is therefore a criminal offence to use a vehicle on a public highway or road without third party cover. See also Continuous Insurance Enforcement.
Social, Domestic and Pleasure:
This is a class of use that covers your vehicle for driving for social purposes or commuting to a single place of work. This includes domestic use such as driving to your local supermarket and to family and friends. You are required to state the use of your vehicle when applying for insurance and if there are other uses such as business use and you do not mention this, you will not be able to claim for them.
There are some motoring convictions which eventually are disregarded after being active for so long. This is in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 which gives offenders the chance to start afresh. There are some convictions that never become spent such as custodial sentences of more than 30 months.
This is the driving offence for driving above the statutory speed limit. Being caught will result in 3 points, £60 fine and stay on the licence for 3 years. It must be declared to insurance companies for at least 5 years.
Statement of Facts:
When insurance is purchased over the telephone, a statement of facts will be produced detailing the information that was given by the purchaser. This forms the basis of the insurance contract and is a record of all the questions asked and the answers provided.
Statutory off Road Notice (SORN):
This is a legal requirement proposed by the DVLA that tells vehicle owners to declare their vehicles ‘off-road’ if they are not in use. The alternative is to pay for insurance and also pay tax on their vehicle. However, if you are not using your vehicle on UK roads, you must ‘make a SORN’ or ‘declare a SORN.’
Often colloquially referred to as ‘black box' insurance. Insurance companies will fit a telematics device into the insured vehicle in to monitor driving behaviour, and subsequently reward those drivers with cheaper premiums if they show safe driving traits or carry out less mileage than anticipated.
Insurance can be purchased for your home or vehicle for a certain number of days or weeks. This may be cheaper in the short term than taking out a policy for an entire year.
These are the geographical limits for where the insurance policy is valid. This commonly includes Great Britain, Northern Ireland, The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Terms of Business Agreements:
This is documentation that confirms the agreement between the insurance company and the intermediary or the intermediary and the policyholder. The terms will also include information about cancellation and complaints.
This is a research organisation founded by the insurance industry in 1969. Its primary focus is to investigate and test vehicle safety and security devices. Many insurance companies now request a Thatcham approved alarm or immobiliser to be fitted in order to reduce the risk of theft. Thatcham is also responsible for the Group Rating system which insurance companies use to form the basis of their premium rates for each individual car based on the size of the vehicle, its engine, safety features and potential risks.
This is a person, driver, vehicle, pedestrian or property that the driver does not know but comes into contact with when driving.
Third Party Only (TPO):
This is the minimum level of insurance that vehicle owners must purchase to drive legally on UK roads. It covers the policyholder's liability for paying third party personal injury and property damage claims that can arise from driving on public roads.
Third Party, Fire & Theft (TPFT):
This is the next level up from third party only and in addition to covering third party vehicles, it covers your vehicle from theft and damage caused by fire.
This is a security device which, when fitted to a vehicle, enables the vehicle owner, via the tracking operator, to determine the precise location of their vehicle using GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. Trackers are rarely added as standard to the vehicle so it is sometimes an accessory that you have to add on. It is not visible to the driver and several motorists will not realise that they have it. It is the clever security device to find a vehicle if it has been stolen and can also be picked up by the police.
Treating Customers Fairly:
This is an ethical principle introduced by the FCA. It is a corporate culture and approach that puts all consumers at the centre of what they do and is about making sure that customer gets the right product for them, not necessarily the most expensive.
This is a driving conviction associated with failing to comply with traffic light signals i.e running through a red light. In most cases it will result in a £60 fine and 3 points on the driver’s licence.
This is when a driver has accumulated 12 penalty points and therefore can have their license taken away. It is a serious conviction and will impact the cost and availability of future cover.
These are belongings or items that cannot be insured and therefore the driver cannot claim for them from their insurer. This includes wear and tear of the car’s interior, clothing and other personal items that were lost but not disclosed to the insurer.
Uninsured Loss Recovery Cover:
This is an extra level of insurance that will cover legal expenses as you attempt to recover the cost of items or damage that was not insured or part of the policy.
This is person or team that works for the insurance company and makes the decision on whether the person will receive cover, how much and the pricing. The underwriter has to understand risk and promise to pay out in the event of a claim in return for the premium that the customer is paying. They will then finalise the terms and conditions that will make up the policy.
Utmost Good Faith:
A proposer is trusted to give all relevant information about their vehicle and driving history when applying for insurance. Since every minor detail cannot be checked and relies heavily on trust, it is said to be offered in good faith.
This is when a customer cannot claim from their policy because the circumstances are void. This can occur when material facts and information was not disclosed to the insurer when putting the policy together. This includes a different driver using your car and having an accident, since they were not named on the policy, any claims are void. Other examples include having a road accident due to repeated health problems but not disclosing this to the insurer beforehand.
This is the amount that policyholders can choose to pay towards their first insurance claim. The voluntary amount is selected at the beginning of the insurance period and if you agree to pay more than the average, it is like you are willing to take on more responsibility if you need to make a claim. As a result, insurers will reward if you agree to a higher voluntary excess and charge you a lower premium.
Write Off (Total Loss):
This is when a vehicle has been involved in such as severe accident that it is better off to purchase a new vehicle. The insurer has to weigh up the costs of repairs compared to replacing it with a new vehicle based on its current market value.
Any drivers aged between 17 and 25 are classed as ‘young drivers.’ They tend to be charged a higher insurance premium because statistically they are at a greater risk of making a claim. Premiums can be reduced for young drivers by adding more experienced named drivers and taking additional driving courses.