Property Insurance: Glossary & Jargon Buster

Already taken out property insurance, or just working through some of the insurance jargon included in your quote documents?

When taking out property insurance, it’s important to understand what is covered by buildings insurance and what is covered by contents insurance so you can ensure your belongings are properly protected.

We also ask details about your property when you go to get a quote online – such as how many bathrooms there are – so it’s important to have these details to hand and make sure you’ve got a clear understanding of their definitions.

To help you out, we’ve provided some definitions of the buildings and contents insurance terms that our customers ask us about so you can make sure your property is protected:

Buildings

The buildings section of your property insurance policy will cover the structure of your property, including the foundations, walls and roof. Essentially, anything that’s fixed to the walls (such as kitchen cabinets) should be considered part of the building for insurance purposes. Endsleigh’s buildings cover also includes cover for outbuildings.

Contents

Anything that’s not fixed to the structure of your property will most likely be considered contents – such as any furniture or furnishings, like curtains or rugs. A useful analogy is to imagine turning your home upside down and shaking it – anything that falls out would usually be covered by contents insurance, while all that remains will be included under buildings insurance.

It’s important to have an accurate picture of the full value of your contents so you can make sure you have sufficient cover in place. If you’re a landlord and you’re letting your property unfurnished, you may not require any landlord contents cover.

Bathrooms

As part of our quote process for home and landlord insurance, we ask how many bathrooms your property has. For the purposes of a quote, bathrooms should include toilets, en-suites and any wet rooms that are part of your property.

White goods

‘White goods’ is just another term for large electrical goods that are used domestically, such as washing machines and fridges. With Endsleigh, washing machines and white goods are covered under the contents insurance section of your policy - but kitchen work tops are fixtures and therefore are included as part of the buildings insurance section. Endsleigh also provide cover for cookers, microwave ovens, freezers and tumble dryers.

Outbuildings

An outbuilding is any small building that sits on your land but separate to your main property, such as garages, sheds or greenhouses.


Occupancy definitions

When taking out property insurance, it’s important to let your insurer know how the property is occupied so they can properly evaluate the risk and provide an accurate quote. If you’re taking out home insurance, it’s likely your property will be owner-occupied. If you’re a landlord, you’ll need to be specific about the types of tenants that are occupying your property.

Occupied

Occupied means that someone is permanently living in the property, but most standard property insurance policies will allow the property to be empty (or unoccupied) for up to 60 days before applying additional terms to your policy.

Please note that for insurance purposes, someone popping in or staying the occasional night or weekend does not qualify as ‘occupied’.

Unoccupied

If your property is likely to be empty long-term (longer than 60 days), either because you’ve moved out pending sale or because there’s a gap between tenants, your property will likely be considered ‘unoccupied’ for insurance purposes.

This could mean that additional conditions are added to your policy - such as visiting the property weekly or turning off all mains services – or that your current insurer is no longer able to offer cover and you need to take out specialist unoccupied home insurance.

Endsleigh’s residential landlord insurance policies provide unoccupied property cover for up to 90 days for standard tenants, and up to 120 days for student tenants.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property where there are at least three tenants in situ who form more than one household (i.e., there are separate tenancy agreements in place). There must also be shared toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities in order for a property to be considered an HMO. If you’re unsure if your property is an HMO, please visit the government website.


Cover definitions

Not sure what’s included with the different types of cover on your policy documents? Here’s a brief summary of some of the different covers we offer:

Malicious damage

Malicious damage is when someone intentionally causes damage to your property and / or belongings. Our landlord insurance policies include malicious damage caused by tenants up to £25,000.

Accidental damage insurance

Accidental damage is when someone unintentionally causes damage to your belongings, fittings or fixtures, and accidental damage insurance can be added to your home or landlord insurance policy with Endsleigh.

Loss of rent insurance

Loss of rent is only provided under landlord insurance. If your property is made uninhabitable due to an insured event (such as a flood or fire), loss of rent cover will provide compensation for some of the lost rent, as well as alternative accommodation costs for your tenants should they need it.

However, it’s important to note that loss of rent is not the same as rent guarantee insurance, and so will not provide cover for situations such as your tenants leaving the property without giving you notice.

Endsleigh’s landlord insurance will provide up to 30% of the buildings sum insured for loss of rent cover.

Trace and access

If you spring a leak at your property, trace and access does exactly what it says on the tin – your insurance policy will cover the costs of getting a professional to come out to the property, trace and then access the leak so the issue can be diagnosed and fixed.

Endsleigh’s policies will provide up to £7,500 cover for trace and access per policy period.