A Glossary and Guide to Car Insurance
The language of car insurance can be confusing, so here’s a simple guide to some of the key terms.
A to Z of Car Insurance terms
A - H
Act of God
An ‘act of God’ usually refers to an event like a natural disaster that wasn’t caused by a person, like a hurricane or earthquake. Many people believe insurers have exclusions for ‘acts of God’, but this isn’t always the case. Your policy documents will explain what events are excluded.
Your annual mileage is how many miles you drive your car in a year. You’re asked to estimate this when getting a quote or renewing a policy, within a broad range. This affects the cost of your premium.
Your annual premium is the amount you pay each year for your insurance policy.
A facility approved by Aviva or your insurer for the repair, damage assessment and/or storage of your vehicle.
A black box is a recording device installed in cars that have telematics car insurance, which is a type of cover that adjusts the price you pay based on where, when and how safely you drive.
This is a range of cover that might be sold alone, as part of your car insurance, or as an optional add-on. It’s designed to help get you moving if your car breaks down either on the road or at home or work. Aviva is partnered with the RAC to bring you a range of cover options, including roadside assistance and onward transport.
A broker is an insurance expert who can provide you specialist advice about what type of cover is right for you. They’re sometimes paid commission by insurance companies, but they should disclose that to you if that’s the case. They may also charge a fee and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Car market value
The cost of replacing your vehicle with one of the same make, model, specification and condition.
Certificate of motor insurance
The current document that proves you have the motor insurance required by the Road Traffic Acts to use your vehicle on a road or other public place. It shows who can drive your vehicle, what it can be used for, and if any permitted drivers are allowed to drive other vehicles. The certificate of motor insurance doesn't show the cover provided.
CIE (Continuous Inusrance Enforcement)
This is a government rule requiring you to have car insurance for your vehicle at all times if you use it on roads or in public places – you’re only exempt if it’s kept off-road and declared as SORN.
A classic car is an older car, usually at least 20 years old.
This is the amount you have to pay towards any claim, for example the first £100. You agree to this when you take out your car insurance policy.
Consumer Intelligence is a company that collects information from car insurance customers. They use this to create a car insurance price index to provide consumers with insight into the market.
You can be fined and given penalty points on your licence if you commit a driving offence. Conviction codes refer to the government’s list of DVLA endorsement codes and how many points you may receive from 1-11, which you can find here. You get more points for more serious offences.
A courtesy car is a vehicle loaned to you while yours can’t be driven. This cover supplies a replacement vehicle if your vehicle is being repaired by an approved repairer. It won’t be an exact replacement of your vehicle and we can’t provide it until your claim is accepted. Only people named on the certificate of motor insurance are eligible for a courtesy car.
This is a temporary document your insurer can issue as proof of insurance until your final documents arrive.
Defaqto is an independent researcher of financial products, focused on providing intelligence to support better decision-making. Aviva has Defaqto 5 Star rated car insurance.
A driving licence is an official government-issued document permitting you to drive. There are different categories of licence that allow you to drive manual or automatic cars, motorcycles, or buses, for example.
Dual or double car insurance is when the same person or car is insured on more than one occasion at the same time. This usually happens by accident, for example when someone forgets to cancel an auto-renewing policy.
Exclusions to your policy are things we won’t pay for. For example, we may not be able to provide any cover for accidents that happen under certain circumstances. Always check your insurance policy documents for what exclusions apply.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The Financial Conduct Authority is a regulatory organisation, independent of the government, that aims to keep financial markets honest, fair, and effective. It oversees financial services firms and markets in the UK, including Aviva, and is funded by the firms it regulates.
Ghost brokers are insurance fraudsters who sell fake car insurance policies, or policies that are quickly cancelled after they’re sold.
I - P
I J K
An immobiliser is part of a car’s security system. It can stop thieves from starting your car with the incorrect key or hotwiring by stopping the ignition from working.
Import or imported vehicle
Imported vehicles are cars bought or transported from another country.
Indemnity is when an insurance company promises to cover you for loss.
L M N
The main driver is the person identified on your car insurance policy as the person who most regularly drives the car. It’s important to be honest about this to avoid insurance fraud.
A named driver is a person who is added to a car insurance policy and allowed to drive the car, but isn’t the main driver.
No claim bonus/discount (NCD)
For every year that you don’t make a claim on your car insurance, you could be entitled to a No Claim Discount or bonus. The amount this is worth varies from insurer to insurer. You can choose an add-on that protects your NCD – both the number of years and your discount.
Period of insurance
The period of insurance is how long your policy lasts – between your policy’s start and end dates, which you’ll find on your policy documents.
Pro rata rates
If your car insurance policy entitles you to a pro rata refund after you’ve cancelled mid-term that means you’ll have a refund for only the amount of time you won’t be covered. For example, if you take out a 12-month policy and cancel it after three months, you’ll only be entitled to nine months’ worth of money back, potentially less an admin fee.
Protected No Claims Discount
For every year that you don’t make a claim on your car insurance, you’re entitled to a No Claim Discount (NCD). The amount this is worth varies from insurer to insurer. When you have the required amount of No Claim Discount, you may be able to choose an add-on that protects your NCD – both the number of years and your discount – for an additional premium. This cover can be added when you take out your policy, or at renewal.
Q - Z
Rating factors are things about you and your car that an insurance company takes into consideration when they determine your premium. These include your age, address, job, licence type, if you have any motoring convictions, and your car.
Remapping / Chipping (engine management upgrades)
Remapping (chipping) a car is the process of adjusting the microchip in your car to change the factory settings to make it more powerful and fast – it’s a performance enhancement. It can be done quickly and relatively cheaply by a qualified specialist. However, you’ll need to tell your insurer about this – and some won’t cover remapped cars. How this impacts an Aviva premium depends on your individual circumstances and the performance enhancement, so get in touch if you’re thinking about remapping your car.
A renewal notice or a renewal invitation is a communication from your insurance provider to let you know that it’s time to renew your car insurance policy, or that your policy will be automatically renewed – depending on what type of policy you have.
A Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) means you’ve formally taken your car off the road and you don’t have to tax or insure it. To qualify, your car can’t be kept or used on a public road – it must stay in a garage, drive, or on private land. You can make a SORN online, by phone, or by post.
An SP30 is one of the most common speeding offences: exceeding a statutory speed limit on a public road. You can receive 3-6 penalty points for this if convicted, and you need to tell your insurer about any convictions. How this would affect an Aviva premium depends on your individual circumstances.
Telematics car insurance
Telematics car insurance offers you cover based on your driving habits. Your insurer installs a telematics device that monitors your driving and could affect how much you pay based on how safely you’re driving. It’s popular with younger drivers, who tend to have higher premiums.
Thatcham devices are security devices that have been assessed by Thatcham Research and given a Thatcham Security Certification. They include alarms, immobilisers, and other security devices.
Usually, the third party will be the other person besides you who’s involved in an accident, but it can be anyone involved with a claim who isn’t you (the policyholder or driver).
A tracker is a GPS device that’s fitted to your car so it can be found if it’s stolen. Sometimes, it’s also part of a telematics insurance policy, and tracks your mileage so you pay premiums based on your mileage.
TS10 is the endorsement code for failing to comply with traffic light signals – generally, running a red light. You should always tell your insurer about any convictions.
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