A to Z of Car Insurance Terms

The terms and conditions of a car insurance policy can be painful to read, with many unfamiliar terms and phrases. This glossary includes absolutely every term you might come across – you can thank us later!  

ACT OF GOD: This is an event which is not in the control of humans, such as a falling tree or damage by hail stones. Many insurance policies do not cover these.

ADDRESS: This is where the car is usually kept overnight.

AMENDMENT: Any change that is made to your original policy. Most insurance companies charge for making changes.

ANNUAL MILEAGE: The number of kilometres you drive each year.

APPROVED REPAIRER: If you do not have agency repair, insurance companies may insist that you use a repairer that is on their approved list.

BREAKDOWN COVER: Policies may include cover for roadside assistance if your car breaks down. This usually costs extra.

BROKER: An insurance broker usually sells or solicits insurance for compensation.

CANCELLATION: If you cancel your policy before it is due to end you will usually get a pro-rated refund with additional costs deducted.

CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE: Make sure that you have and keep a copy of your insurance policy in your car as this shows the details of the cover provided by your insurance. Always check your policy when you first receive it.

CLAIM: A request for payment to be made from the insurance company according to the insurance policy.

DUTY OF DISCLOSURE: If there are any changes that may affect your policy you need to let your insurer know. This may be a change to your vehicle or maybe you have moved house and need to alter your address.

DRIVING LICENCE: It is illegal to drive a vehicle in the UAE without having a valid driving license. Many people are able to simply convert their driving license to a UAE license, however this is dependent on the country that you received your license and your nationality.

EXCESS: The amount that you have agreed to pay towards any claim; these can be compulsory or voluntary (you can choose to pay more – usually to get a reduction in your premium).

EXCLUSIONS: The insurance company may not pay for certain types of risk or damage so you need to check what is excluded from your policy.

FAULT CLAIM: An accident where you are considered to be the one who is at fault and your insurance company cannot recover costs from another party.

FULLY COMPREHENSIVE: If you have a fully comprehensive insurance policy you will be covered for accidental damage to your vehicle for accidents that you are at fault, in addition to fire and theft cover.

IMMOBILISER: An anti-theft device which stops the car starting if it does not recognise the signals from the key.

INDEMNITY: Money paid as compensation for a loss incurred by a third party. This may be in the form of cash, replacement or repairs.

JARGON: Specialist words used by professionals that people often find difficult to understand.

KIT CAR: A car that is sold as a set of parts that the buyer then assembles himself.

KNOCK FOR KNOCK: When insurers agree to cover the damage to their policyholder’s car despite who is to blame.

MAIN DRIVER: The person who drives the car for most of the time.

MARKET VALUE: How much it would cost to replace the car with the same make, age, model and mileage that the car had just before it was damaged.

MODIFICATION: Any changes that have been made to the car since it came out of the factory. This could include different wheels and changes to the engine.

NO CLAIMS DISCOUNT: If you have not made a recent claim on your policy you can use this to receive a No Claims Discount when you next purchase car insurance.

NON FAULT CLAIM: When you have had an accident but you weren’t the one to blame.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS: Extra benefits that can be applied to your policy such as breakdown cover and a courtesy car.

PERIOD OF COVER: The time that the policy runs to and from.

POLICYHOLDER: The person who has taken out the insurance policy.

PREMIUM: The amount that you have to pay for your insurance.

QUOTE: The premium and terms and conditions given by the potential insurance company. Always make sure that you read these through carefully.

RATING: Insurance companies will give you a quote based on factors such as your age and driving history. This is known as your rating.

REGISTERED KEEPER: The person who uses the car who does not need to be the person who bought it.

RENEWAL: Before your policy runs out you will need to look at insuring your car for another year. In the UAE, insurance policies are usually for 13 months to allow for the one-month grace period given by the RTA to renew your vehicle’s registration.

RISK: Insurers look at how likely you are to make a claim and how high the claim could be and then they will calculate your premium based on your perceived risk level.

SCHEDULE: The document that has the policy holder’s details and the cover that the policy provides.

TELEMATICS: This is the technology that is fitted to the car, sometimes called a black box, which monitors how it is being driven and data can then be used to calculate the cost of your insurance. This is not currently available in the UAE.

THIRD PARTY: A person who is neither the policyholder or the insurer who is involved in the claim.

THIRD PARTY LIABILITY INSURANCE: If you have Third Party Insurance and cause an accident, your insurer will only cover costs associated with repairing the third party’s vehicle. It will not cover any repair costs to your own vehicle.

THIRD PARTY FIRE AND THEFT: Includes fire and theft cover in addition to third party cover.

TRACKER: A device fitted to the car which enables tracking of the movements of the car.

UNDERWRITER: The person or company who is providing the insurance cover.

UNINSURED DRIVER: A driver who is driving without car insurance. This is illegal in Dubai.

UNINSURED LOSSES: Items that are not covered by your insurance policy.

USE: What your vehicle is being used for, for example, if it is for personal use or business use. If you are using your car for work you may be considered a higher risk.

VALUE: The amount that the car is insured for which will affect the premium.

VOLUNTARY EXCESS: The amount that you choose to pay towards the cost of any claim. If you select a higher amount this will generally lower your premium.

WRITE OFF: When the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than the value of the vehicle.

XERIC: A word that is in no way related to car insurance but it seems that there are no car insurance terms beginning with X!

YEARLY DEPRECIATION: The amount that your car will devalue by each year.

ZERO NO CLAIMS: When you do not have any years of no claims for your car insurance.

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