Back to blog home

Do you understand the small print?

Do you understand the small print?

We all know the small print is important, but hands up who actually bothers to read it?

At least one-in-twenty (5%) admitted in a recent survey that they never read terms and conditions.

Just under one-in-seven (15%) either don’t bother, or sometimes read them, but for less than a minute. Only one-in-four (25%) say they actually read the T&Cs all the way through.

However, this can have a big impact when it comes to making a claim, as up to 5% of consumers have had a claim rejected for something they thought they were covered for.

Incomprehensible jargon

It appears this misunderstanding, or misinterpretation, of T&Cs is partly due to consumers not reading the small print, and partly because the jargon used confuses them.

Nearly half (48%) of people don’t fully understand the term “rebuild value,” and 34% are unsure what accidental damage means. Other terms that cause confusion are “limit of indemnity” (76%) and sanitary ware (66%).

Such misunderstandings could prove disastrous. If you fail to give an accurate assessment of the rebuild value of your home, you might not be able to claim for the whole amount it costs to rebuild it from scratch, if it’s destroyed through fire or flood for example.

Or, perhaps a more common issue, if you accidentally drop and smash a family heirloom worth thousands, you won’t be able to claim for it unless you know your policy includes cover for accidental damage.

Policy Expert is working with the Plain English campaign on policy wordings and documentation to stamp out jargon. All policy wordings have handy glossaries to explain commonly used insurance terms, and help consumers understand exactly what they’re covered for.

Many don’t read or skim through small print

Over a third say that finding out what a policy does and doesn’t cover them for is the most confusing and difficult part of dealing with home insurance issues.

Yet Policy Expert’s research shows that knowing you’re covered and able to claim is the most important reason for choosing a home insurer for nearly 60% of consumers.

To help consumers understand their policies, all Policy Expert’s documents are also written in a straightforward style, approved by the Plain English Campaign. This easy-to-read style is designed to make policy wordings a bit more digestible for the 67% that only skim-read documents.

Always clarify with insurers

If in doubt, always speak to your insurer, or insurance broker, who should be able to explain, in plain English, what is and isn’t covered by a policy.

Policy Expert

We’re dedicated to helping customers find the right insurance policy for them. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.


Published 17 August 2017