Family Holiday Insurance – Understanding the Terminology

To its credit, the insurance industry has worked hard over the past 10-20 years to de-jargonise itself – but perhaps not with 100% success. So, here is a quick explanation of some of the more commonly encountered terms in family holiday insurance.

The policy

This is relatively straightforward, as it is nothing more than the contract between you and your provider. However, it is worth noting that your policy may contain things such as additional schedules and it might also cross-reference other documents that you should familiarise yourself with – as well as the main policy itself. This does, in truth, sometimes involve a fair bit of reading, but it is time well spent.

The period or term of a policy

Broadly speaking, this is the start and end date of the policy. In other words, it will tell you how long your family holiday insurance is going to be valid for.

The premium

This is simply the word the industry uses to describe the price of your policy.

The excess

This is an amount of money that the policy normally states you will need to pay towards the cost of any future claims. For the sake of clarity, it is sometimes called “the first part” of a claim. If that sounds complicated, it isn’t. For example, if there is a £100 excess on a policy and you make a claim for £150, then your provider will typically pay you £50.00 only, as you’ll be responsible for the £100 excess or the “first part” of the claim.

Loss adjuster or loss assessor

These are two terms that it might be relatively unusual to encounter in family holiday insurance, though perhaps not impossible. A loss adjuster is an expert in assessing damage and the costs of putting right the situation. The provider may appoint them in certain situations, in order to try and reach an objective view as to the cost of the incident that has led to the claim. Contrary to some popular myths, the loss adjuster is not there to try and impose the lowest figure they can on you. They are trying to use their professional skills to reach a just settlement figure.

Of course, they do work primarily to protect the provider’s interests and not yours.

In situations where you are aren’t sure what the true cost of the claim is or are unhappy with the amount you are being offered by way of a settlement, you can appoint your own loss assessor who will work on your behalf to try and achieve a better settlement. Fees may apply.


As a general rule, the cover provided by your policy is clearly stated. If the policy doesn’t say that it will cover a given set of circumstances, you should assume that it would not rather than the other way around. However, in some situations, in order to avoid ambiguity and unintentionally misleading the policyholder, the company writing the policy may explicitly highlight that certain situations are not covered and might positively exclude it/them from the policy. For example, certain forms of sporting injury might be covered by a travel policy but some very high-risk sports might be explicitly excluded from such protection. It goes without saying that it is extremely important to read thoroughly any exclusions listed as part of a family holiday insurance policy.