Types of Insurance
The number of different types of insurance available is bewildering, even to someone working in the industry. So can ordinary people be expected to know what’s on offer?
The truth is you can insure anything as long as you can find someone to underwrite it – even alien abduction cover is available!
What do you need?
Most of us insure our cars and homes (probably household contents as well), get travel insurance when we buy a holiday and might have some sort of health or illness cover.
When it comes to mainstream insurance, is there anything else that you might need? Our Place believes a list of the main policies that are readily available would help you assess your needs.
It’s important to check every now and then that the insurances you have match the way you live your life and take into account changes in your situation.
Understanding your cover
Note that some of the entries in this list aren’t policies in their own right, but add-ons to existing policies, although it depends on the way the different companies put packages together.
One company’s add-on is another companies standard item, which can make it hard to make sure you’re comparing like with like.
But it is very important to make sure that you understand what’s covered and what isn’t. If you don’t you can inadvertently have gaps between your policies which could make you think you are covered in a certain situation. Then it turns out, usually when something goes wrong, that you aren’t.
Equally you could end up with overlaps in your policies which might mean you’re paying twice for the same cover. But only one policy will pay out.
Making sense of it all
To help customers make sense of it all the Financial Services Association began working with finance and insurance firms a few years ago to make documentation easier to understand.
So if you aren’t clear on any aspect of a policy you have, or are considering, ask to see the ‘Keyfacts” document for the policy. We have more background on Keyfacts documents here.
Our Place has divided this into categories but in a fairly arbitrary way, many policies can happily straddle a number of the categories we’ve picked, we just wanted to group them to make the list easier to work with.
Our Place has also avoided specialist insurance that’s unlikely to be of interest such as the types of business insurance which large organisations might take out.
- Car / motorcycle/Van policies with third party, fire and theft and comprehensive options
- Limited mileage classic and modified vehicle policies, also kit cars
- Wedding car/event cover
- Driving instructor or chauffeur policies
- Buildings insurance
- Contents cover – optional add-ons for expensive possessions, hobby or sports equipment
- Buy-to-let – landlords insurance – often comes with useful services like legal cover and emergency call-outs to get problems solved if you’re not on the spot
- Mortgage protection – pays your mortgage if you are unable to meet the payments
- Home emergency cover – this will get approved and vetted tradesmen to your property double-quick in an emergency, 24/7 cover
- Renovation insurance – covers tools and equipment as well as the fabric of the house – ordinary household insurance might not provide cover if the job is so big that you can’t live in the property through the project
- Unoccupied cover – again a specialist policy for occasions when you have to leave your home empty for longer than the period stipulated in your standard policy
- Gadget / mobile phone – covers equipment when out of the home, usually for a lot less than the policies sold by the phone companies
- Identity theft – covers you for the costs of unravelling the consequences of an ID theft
- Bed and Breakfast cover – protection if you’re thinking of earning a little on the side
- Travel cover – with options for pre-existing health conditions and specialist sports and pastimes. Annual and one-off policies
- Boat insurance – from canoes through jet skis and dinghies to luxury cruisers and yachts
- Caravan insurance – touring caravans or statics and park homes
- Motorhome cover
- Camping cover – can include trailer tents
- Event insurance – if you’re involved in a community or charity event, you can be liable for accidents or damage during the event. Marquees can be covered too
- Holiday homes in the UK and abroad – often come with useful services such as arranging a handyman or translation services to help you deal with problems over the phone
- Pet insurance – for a wide variety of animals including horses
- Inflatable Insurance – yes – you can get insurance if you run a bouncy castle for kids!
Health and life insurance
- Private health insurance- pays for private treatment. Specialist policies available for those leaving company healthcare programmes and with pre-existing health conditions
- Over 50s life plans – savings plans to make sure relatives aren’t left with bills to pay
- Life insurance – providing funds for your dependents on your death, can be combined with critical illness and incapacity cover (below)
- Critical illness, incapacity and terminal illness cover – replaces your earnings so that bills can be paid if you can’t work. Often known as income protection plans
Business and commercial insurance
- Working from home and home office polices – covers the gaps that you might not be aware of in your normal household policy
- Liability insurance – increasingly necessary for people working for themselves
- Professional indemnity – covers you if someone decides your advice has cost them money and sues as a result
- Shop and workshop cover
- Charity insurance – worth looking at if you are running or involved in charity or not-for-profit work
- Goods in transit cover – invaluable for man-and-van operations, not just haulage companies
Look for the holes in your cover
Although this list is really only the tip of the iceberg, the remaining types of insurance cover are either very specialist or not aimed at individuals.
If you are unsure about any aspect of insurance, we strongly advise you to speak to a financial advisor.
To find out how little you would have to pay to get any gaps in your insurance cover filled, click here.
Finally – it really is possible, should you think you need it, to get insured against alien abduction!