Terms Explained

When looking for buildings and contents insurance, you may come across some terms you aren't familiar with. Getting to grips with these terms will hopefully help you understand what your policy covers.

Terms Explained – Banner

List of Insurance Terms

  1. Accidental Damage
  2. Change of Circumstances
  3. Cover Away from Home
  4. Excesses
  5. Home Emergency Cover
  6. New for Old
  7. Valuable Items
  8. Voluntary Excess


Accidental Damage

We all know accidents can and do happen (who hasn’t spilt some red wine on a cream carpet, for example?), and so accidental damage cover can be really worthwhile.

This is any damage to your home caused by you or your family that was not done deliberately (providing it’s not excluded in your policy).

Change of Circumstances

Any of the situations below count as a change in circumstances, and so if one of them applies to you, it’s safest to give us a ring on 01438 761 670 to make sure you’re not under-insured.

  • A change in your address
  • Leaving your home unoccupied for more than 60 days
  • A change in your occupation
  • Extending your property, or having building work done on your home which is more than routine repairs, maintenance or decoration
  • Increasing the number of bedrooms in your home
  • Letting your home out to tenants or sharing it with lodgers
  • Using your home for business or professional purposes
  • If you or any member of your family is convicted of a criminal offence.

Cover Away From The Home

Whenever you come across the term ‘away from the home’, it will be referring to personal possessions that can be taken out of your property, like laptops, bicycles, MP3 players, mobile phones etc. These may have a limited amount of cover: for example, with Together’s Mutual Insurance policy, you can insure up to a maximum of five bicycles, and so it's always worth checking to see exactly what's covered.


This is the first part of any claim, which you are responsible for paying. We only apply the standard policy excess once to each claim. So, if a claim is made under two or more sections of a policy (for example, if both your buildings and contents have been damaged by the same cause), we will only apply the excess once (i.e. a total of £100, not £200).

If you also have voluntary or additional compulsory excess on your policy, this will be taken off the total amount of money you will receive for the claim, in addition to the standard excess. Additional excesses also apply for escape of water and subsidence claims.

If you have any particular questions about your policy, you can call our policy helpline on 01438 761 670.

Home Emergency Cover

Home Emergency Cover is defined as cover against a sudden unexpected event which requires immediate action to do one of the following:  

  • Prevent further damage to the home
  • Ensure your home is safe and secure
  • Restore the main services to the home
  • Remove any health risk to you.

Together’s Home Emergency policy covers you for:  

  • The contractor’s call-out charge
  • Contractor’s labour time (up to 2 hours)
  • Parts and materials (up to £100)
  • Alternative accommodation costs (up to £250).

There is a £1,000 limit for all Together Home Emergency claims. Common causes of Home Emergency claims are:  

  • Breakdown of the main heating system
  • Damage, blockage or breakage to plumbing and drainage
  • Damage to external doors, windows or locks which compromises home security
  • Breakage or mechanical failure of the toilet (providing there is no other toilet in your home)
  • Failure of your home’s domestic power supply (gas or electricity)
  • Lost keys, if you cannot replace them and access your home
  • Damage or a health risk caused by vermin infestation.

New for Old

“New for old” simply means that any damaged or stolen items that are covered by your policy and are not repairable will be replaced with a brand new item of equivalent quality or specification. For instance, if you have a three-year-old television damaged by flooding, it is likely to be replaced with a brand new version of the equivalent model.

One common exception is household linen and clothes, which can be subject to a deduction to allow for general wear and tear.

Personal Possessions Cover

Personal Possessions Cover is optional and extends the cover provided by Together Contents Insurance and Combined Buildings and Contents Insurance policies.  The main benefit of Personal Possessions Cover is that the items are insured in and away from the home (contents cover protects your possessions within the home), so this cover is particularly useful for laptops, mobile phones, camera equipment, camping and sports equipment, money and jewellery.  It also means your personal belongings will be covered away from the home, anywhere in the UK and Europe and up to 30 days worldwide.

Personal Possessions Cover can be Specified or Unspecified 

Unspecified Personal Possessions Cover gives you cover with set policy limits of up to £10,000, without the need for listing individual items up to a certain value, for example: Unspecified Personal Possessions Cover with a policy limit of £2,000 will provide cover for individual items up to the value of £1,000. Unspecified Cover with a policy limit of between £5000 and £10,000 provides cover for individual items up to the value of £2,500.

Examples of items protected with Unspecified Personal Possessions Cover  

  • Personal belongings and baggage, up to a maximum of £2,500 per item, pair or set (based on you selecting a policy limit of £5,000 or more)
  • Sports and camping equipment, up to a maximum of £2,500 per item, pair or set (based on you selecting a policy limit of £5,000 or more)
  • Money and credit cards, up to a £500 limit

Specified Personal Possessions Cover gives you peace of mind that your most precious and valuable items are covered away from the home. If you want to cover a specific item that cannot be included in the Unspecified Personal Possessions option (such as a mobile phone valued at more than £500 or expensive golf clubs) you will need to add them to your policy as a Specified Item. Where any individual item is above the single item limit for Unspecified Personal Possessions it will also need to be listed as a Specified Item.

A further cover option under Personal Possessions Cover is Pedal Cycle Cover; this optional cover provides protection for up to 3 specified bikes (worth up to £1,000 each) away from the home. Standard Contents Cover provides protection only for bicycles stored securely within the home (including sheds, outbuildings and garages).

Valuable Items

Valuable items are those that will be expensive to replace or repair or that may increase the threat of theft, such as jewellery, antiques or works of art.

Voluntary Excess

Voluntary excess is the extra amount you agree to pay when making a claim, in return for a discount on your premium. The standard excess with our Premier policy is £100 but you can choose to pay more if you wish. So, if you choose a voluntary excess of £100, when making a claim you will pay the first £200 (standard £100 excess plus the £100 voluntary excess), with Together Mutual Insurance covering the rest. This can be a simple way to reduce your premiums.


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