Car insurance glossary

When taking out car insurance, it's important you know exactly what you're covered for. And although we work hard to make our documents as straightforward as we can, insurance-ese can still take a bit of getting used to. Here's a glossary to help you out.


    The Association of British Insurers is a trade association made up of UK insurance companies. It's not a regulatory body, so membership isn't obligatory.

    Act of God

    An event resulting from a natural cause where no driver is to blame, such as a lightning strike. These events may or may not be covered by your insurance policy – you'll need to check.

    Annual mileage

    The number of miles you cover in a year. When applying for a policy you'll need to give an estimated annual mileage, which will be taken into consideration when calculating your premium.

    Approved repairer

    If you make a claim on your insurance, we'll recommend garages we know carry out high-quality work and provide excellent customer service.


    This is when you make the decision to end your insurance policy. Depending on the reasons for cancellation, and the timing, we may charge you a fee.


    This is the highest level of insurance cover. Our comprehensive policy features more benefits as standard than our third party and third party fire and theft policies..


    An independent researcher of financial products, Defaqto evaluates terms and conditions, policy details and key features to enable customers to find the best value for money on a comprehensive range of features, options and benefits. Products are based on a 5 Star system.

    DOC cover

    DOC stands for "driving other cars". If it's included in your insurance, you're covered to drive cars other than the primary vehicle stated in your policy. This covers the policyholder only for damage caused to third parties when driving another car. The other car must be insured, must not be owned or controlled by the policyholder or partner, and must not be hired or a rental car, nor obtained under a hire purchase or lease agreement.

    Duty of disclosure

    You have a duty to tell your insurer if there are any changes that may affect the terms of your policy, such as if you move address, change your name or replace your vehicle. If you don't, your policy could be rendered invalid.


    The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is a government organisation responsible for maintaining a database of vehicles and drivers in the UK. The DVLA registers new vehicles, issues driving licences, sells private numberplates and organises road tax collection.


    The Driver and Vehicle Agency Northern Ireland is a government agency of the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment. The agency is responsible for setting and enforcing standards for drivers and vehicles, registering drivers, and issuing licences.


    This is the amount of money you'll be required to pay towards a claim if your vehicle is lost, stolen or damaged. Often, part of the excess is compulsory and part is voluntary. It's not voluntary in the sense that you can choose whether or not to pay it, though. When you buy your policy, you choose how much voluntary excess you're willing to pay – typically, a higher voluntary excess means a reduction in premium cost.


    These are risks and circumstances in which your insurer will not pay out if you make a claim.

    Fault claim

    This is when you're considered accountable for an accident or loss, or when the insurer is unable to recover the cost of an incident from the other party.


    The Financial Conduct Authority is responsible for regulating the financial industry, including insurance firms.

    Import/Imported vehicle

    Vehicles manufactured outside the UK, which have been brought into the UK market.


    Indemnity means protection against financial loss. As a policyholder, you'll be put back into the same financial position you were in before making a claim. Indemnity often takes into account factors such as age, wear and tear, and vehicle depreciation when calculating costs.

    Insurable interest

    In order to take out a policy you must have an insurable interest in the vehicle, meaning you would suffer a loss if it was stolen or damaged.


    Insurance Premium Tax is a tax paid on all types of insurance policies. The amount of tax will vary depending on the type of policy, for example car insurance policies often have a higher IPT than home insurance policies.


    This is an agreement between two insurance providers to pay losses incurred by their respective policyholders, regardless of who was to blame for an incident.


    The Motor Insurance Database contains a list of all insured cars in the UK. By law, insurers must supply information to the MID within two weeks of all new policies.


    Modifications are any changes you make to your vehicle that aren't factory standard, such as alloys, body kits and spoilers. You must state any modifications when applying for insurance and likewise, if you make any modifications you must notify your insurer. In most cases, any modification you make to your car will lead to an increase in your premium.


    A compulsory annual test where vehicles are evaluated against safety and environment standards. Some vehicles are MOT-exempt, such as new cars up to three years old and classic cars manufactured before 1960.

    Multi car

    A policy that permits multiple drivers to insure multiple cars provided they live at the same address.


    Drivers earn a no claims discount (also known as no claims bonus) for each year they don't make a claim on their insurance. The discount is applied to your premium and generally speaking, the more years of NCD you have the greater the discount.

    Non-fault claim

    This is when you have been involved in an incident and the other driver is to blame.

    Optional extras

    These are additional products you can buy to add extra cover to your policy, such as breakdown cover and legal expenses

    Period of cover

    The period of time your policy is valid for, as stated in the policy schedule.


    If you commit a driving offence – such as speeding – you'll receive a number of points on your driving licence. The exact number will depend on the severity of the offence. You'll need to notify your insurer if you receive any points.

    Protected no claims discount

    When you take out a policy you'll be given the option to protect your no claims discount. This protects your no claims discount even if you make a claim, so long as you make no more than two claims in three years.

    Registered keeper

    The registered keeper is the person who uses the vehicle the most, or who keeps the vehicle. The registered keeper can be different from the owner (the person who paid for the vehicle).


    The sum your insurer pays out in the event of a claim.


    Telematics insurance allows you to share how you drive, enabling insurers to evaluate factors such as speed, phone use and braking when they calculate your premium.

    Third party only insurance

    This is the minimum level of insurance required by law and includes liability for injuries to other people, damage to other people's property, and accidents caused by passengers or a driver named on your policy. It doesn't cover damage to your own vehicle, or injuries to yourself.

    Third party, fire and theft insurance

    This level of cover features all the benefits of third party insurance plus cover for the vehicle if it's stolen or destroyed by fire and you're not at fault.


    The underwriter, or insurer, evaluates risk in order to calculate a driver's premium.

    Uninsured losses

    These are losses not covered in your insurance, such as legal costs associated with the policy.

    Use (vehicle use)

    When applying for insurance you'll need to state what you use your vehicle for, as this will affect your premium. For example, if you use your vehicle for commuting you're considered a greater risk than if you use it solely for social purposes.

    Write off

    This is when damage to a vehicle is so severe that it would cost more money to repair than to replace altogether. Within the insurance world this is often referred to as a "total loss".

    YouDrive tab

    If you have a Hastings Direct YouDrive policy you'll receive a small wireless device called a tab that connects to your phone through Bluetooth and lets us know when you've started a driving trip – it also helps make sure we're accurate when we record your trips


    Car insurance

    Our Direct and Premier policies are 5 Star rated by Defaqto, so why not get a hassle-free car insurance quote today.

    Log in to MyAccount

    Log in to MyAccount to manage your policy online. You can view and download documents at your convenience. If your policy number starts with 'XA' you can also make payments and changes to your policy online.