Listed property owner’s glossary

One of the hardest things about insurance is that it is almost always full of words and phrases not everyone is familiar with. At Abode, we want to make insuring your home as straightforward as possible, so we’ve put together a glossary of terms that you can refer to at any time. We’d recommend bookmarking this page so you can come back to it easily.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | – | K | L | M | N | O | P | – | R | S | T | U | – | W | – | – |- 


Accidental damage

unexpected and unintended loss or damage caused by a single and one-off event resulting from a sudden and external means.

All Risk policy

a type of insurance coverage that automatically covers any risk that the contract does not specifically exclude.

Alternative Accommodation

Alternative Accommodation insurance covers the cost of staying somewhere in the event your property suddenly becomes uninhabitable – for instance through fire, storm damage, or flooding.


arboriculturists are tree specialists that usually specialise in an area of work, such as tree climbing and maintenance, tree preservation and conservation, parks and gardens, planning, tree surveys, and inspection.

Audible alarm

also known as ‘bells only’ alarm – an alarm system with a siren or bell that sounds when the alarm is activated. This type of alarm only draws attention to the building, and it’s not monitored by a security company. It’s therefore more suited to low-risk homes.


your policy will be automatically renewed each year, so there’s no risk of being left without cover.

Average clause

if the insurer discovers that the sum insured on your policy is less than the actual value of your contents or the rebuild cost of your property, then they can reduce their pay-out to you when you claim.


Building grant

funds provided by the government or private organisations that allow owners of historic buildings to carry out repairs and renovations on their properties. These grants provide financial assistance to preserve important architectural features, while also allowing modern updates where necessary. For more information on this, you can read our article here.

“Building works notification limit”

a limit set by your insurer meaning that any building works carried out that exceed the set value will need to be declared and agreed before commencing.

Buildings insurance

covers the structure of a building, including the walls, roof, chimneys, and windows. It usually includes permanent fixtures and fittings and outbuildings.

Find out more about Buildings Insurance.


“Ceded to Flood Re”

a joint initiative between the Government and insurers. It’s aim is to make the flood cover part of household insurance policies more affordable. If an insurer calculates that the flood risk element of a policy will cost more than the premium set under Flood Re, that insurer can cede the flood risk part of the policy to Flood Re. In the event of a flood, the insurer would pay the claim to its customer and seek reimbursement from Flood Re.

Central station alarm

also known as centrally monitored alarm – an alarm system where the operation of protection devices and circuits is automatically signalled to a commercial agency, called a central station, whose sole purpose is to provide protective services to subscribers. At the central station, trained operators and alarm investigators are always present to supervise, record, and respond to the signal.

Chimney inspection

an evaluation of the chimney or venting system to assess its condition and determine if it’s fit for use. The chimney will be checked for creosote build-up, flue blockages, leaks, cracks, damage, and other issues that could cause costly problems or increase your risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Chimney sweep

a method used to clean the chimney to remove deposits of debris (like soot and creosote) that could increase the risk of fire.

Cob construction

clay mixed with sand and water, then trampled flat and attached to the sides of the house. Referred to as “clom” in Wales and formed with the subsoil of the area.

Combined cover

when your buildings and contents cover are combined under the same policy.

Find out more about Combined Cover. 

Conservation area

an area of notable environmental or historical interest or importance which is protected by law against undesirable changes.

Conservation officer

a law-enforcement official trained to enforce environmental protection laws and protect wildlife and environmental resources. They can offer expert advice on applications and other matters relating to historic buildings and areas. They’re an extremely useful point of contact if you own an older home.

Contents insurance

covers all removable items in your home. This includes clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, carpets, and curtains. Your insurer will provide a more specific definition of ‘contents’.


Desktop survey

a survey carried out online using publicly available information from Land Registry, Google Street View, and Ordnance Survey etc, combined with the experience and expertise of a chartered surveyor (RICS) to calculate a reliable assessment of your building’s rebuild cost.

Double basement

can be either a multistorey basement structure, or a basement that extends through the length of the house to the garden, rather than just under one room of the house.


Electrical installation condition report (EICR)

an in-depth inspection of your property’s electrical systems and installation. The report assesses the competency of your electrics by three different categories: C1, C2 and C3.

Escape of water

this is basically a leak. It’s often defined as “water escaping from a fixed water installation”, which is usually your central heating system or general plumbing.


the amount you have to pay towards a claim on your policy.

Extended replacement cost

your policy will cover you for a certain percentage over your policy limit. For example, if your home has a rebuild value of £300,000 and you have extended replacement cost, which insures you for 125 percent of your policy limit, your insurance company would actually reimburse you up to £375,000.


Five lever mortice deadlock

a lock that is fitted so that the lock is morticed (cut into) into the door and a keep into the door frame, where the bolt would lie when locked.

The internal locking mechanism is made of five levers meaning there is in excess of 2000 different key combinations.

Flat roof

a roof with a pitch of ten degrees or less.

Flat roof inspection

a surveyor will carry out external and internal checks to look for a number of issues including leaks, tile condition, guttering or drainage blocking, rot or decay, ventilation, excess moisture etc.

Flying freehold

this is where the freehold of a property overhangs/underlies against another freehold house. An example is  a room situated above a shared passageway or garage in a semi-detached house, or a balcony that extends across a neighbouring property.


Gradually operating cause

a cause that is the result of a series of events which occur or develop over time that cannot be wholly attributable to a single accident.

Ground source heat pump

this circulates a mixture of water and anti-freeze around the loop of a pipe (ground loop) under the garden to the property. Heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and passes through a heat exchanger and into a heat pump. This is then used to heat up the house.



Heating Equipment and Testing Approval Scheme. A HETAS engineer is able to self-certify the installation/work carried out and issue you with the HETAS certificate of compliance, certifying that the work carried out has been completed to the required high standard and meets building regulations as well as being safe and well.

Home emergency cover

covers a temporary repair in an emergency.

Home insurance

a type of property insurance that covers a private residence and its contents. It can help pay for damages or losses caused by disasters, theft, fire, or accidents. It may also include liability insurance for injuries or damages that happen on the property or by the homeowner. Home insurance can vary in what it covers and how much it costs.

Find out more about our Home Insurance. 


Interlinked smoke alarm

a smoke detector that communicates to the other smoke detectors in your residence, so that in the event of a fire if one of the smoke alarms detects a fire, all of the smoke detectors will sound the alarm. This can be battery operated or mains wired.


Insurance Premium Tax. A compulsory tax on most types of insurance policies. The standard IPT rate is currently 12 percent.


Key operated window lock (KOWL)

a type of lock that requires a key to open or close the window. Key operated locks are available for all types of windows from sash windows, UPVC windows and even Velux windows. A ‘key’ can include an Allan key.


Lathe and plaster

mainly used for internals walls and ceilings, narrow strips of wood are nailed across the wall studs or beams, then coated in plaster.

Legal expenses cover

covers the cost of legal advice and representation if you’re sued or have to make a claim against someone else. It’s often useful for neighbour issues, like boundary disputes or trespassing.

Listed building

a building, object, or structure of special architectural or historic interest included on a statutory list and assigned a grade (I, II* or II). The National Heritage List for England is the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Listing includes the interior as well as the exterior of the building, and any buildings or permanent structures within its curtilage. If a property is a listed building, additional planning consents are needed to carry out works to it. For more information on this, you can read our article here.

Listed building consent

you need to gain special permission for any changes that you want to make to your property, including some repairs. This is a legal requirement. For more information on this, read our article here.

Loss adjuster

claims specialists who are responsible for establishing the cause of a loss and determining whether it’s covered by your insurance policy.


Malicious damage

the crime of intentionally causing damage to property.

Market value

the price you could expect to get if you sold your home and the land in its current condition.


New for old

if an item in your home is lost, damaged beyond repair, or stolen, then your insurance provider will cover the cost of a brand-new replacement item of equivalent value, i.e. no deduction for wear and tear.

Non-standard construction

a house built of anything other than brick or stone walls with a slate or tiled roof. For more information on this, you can read our article here.


On-site survey

a rebuild cost assessment carried out by a surveyor who visits your property and carries out their assessment with you, at your home.


Planning permission

formal permission from a local authority for the erection or alteration of buildings or similar development.


the amount you’ll pay for your policy each year.


Rebuild cost assessment

also known as “Rebuild Survey” – undertaken by a RICS approved chartered surveyor to determine how much it would cost to rebuild a property from scratch, should it be destroyed.

Rebuild value/cost

the amount it would cost to completely rebuild your home from scratch if it were destroyed beyond repair – including professional fees, labour, materials, and the costs of clearing the site.


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


Single article limit

also known as a single item limit – the maximum amount a single item can be worth before you must declare it to your insurer. It typically applies to valuables like jewellery or art. You can learn more about this by reading our article here.

Specified Perils policy

a type of insurance coverage that covers losses resulting from particular events that are pre-defined in the text of the policy. This usually includes things like fire, theft, lightening, rising water, explosion etc.

Structural engineer

trained professionals who are responsible for making sure that the structures we use in our daily lives, like bridges, houses, and tall buildings, are safe, stable, and don’t collapse under applied loads.


downward movement of the ground beneath the buildings other than by settlement.


Thatched roof

a roof built with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge (Cladium mariscus), rushes, heather, or palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof.

Trace and access

the cost of finding the source of a leak and exposing it to allow for repair.

Tree inspection/survey

a careful examination of your trees. During the inspection, an arborist will evaluate the tree’s structure and soil to determine the health of the bark, branches, and more. The results from the examination can tell the arborist important information about the tree like potential defects.



when the sum insured – the total amount you can claim – isn’t high enough to cover the value of your property or contents.


whenever your home is insufficiently furnished for normal living occupancy purposes, or although furnished, has been without and/or intended to be without an occupant for a period of time specified by the insurer (this is usually 30-60 days).


Wattle and daub

ancient material for constructing properties, consists of a lattice of thin wooden strips, which are covered in a sticky material formed of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung, straw, and water.

Wear and tear

damage to your property or its contents, due to usage or damage that’s happened over time.