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A Quick guide to insurance terminology

All Risks

An "all risks" policy provides cover for loss or damage resulting from any incident, unless the incident is specifically excluded under the policy. An "all risks" policy normally covers your personal belongings in your possession anywhere in the world, or property that you are likely to take with you away from your home. This may include wearing apparel and personal effects. There is usually one general amount covered as part of the total value of your household contents for which you are insured. It covers you for accidental loss or damage due to fire, theft, accidental damage, or damage caused by a third party, and may not cover specific individual goods like cell phones, laptops, expensive jewellery, etc. unless these items are specified.

The personal belongings covered by an "all risks" policy can be specified or unspecified (general). Example:

"Unspecified property" will typically be included for a limited rand amount you choose to cover.

items of a personal nature that you take with you when you leave your house. It may exclude certain items like cell phones and high value items, which will be required to be specified. "Specified property" will be specified listed items of financial value. The value of these "specified" items usually exceeds the "all risks" limit specified in the policy. High value items like jewellery, cell phones, laptops and electronic goods, etc. should be specified if you want to ensure that the items are covered. The premium for specified property may be higher than "all risks" insurance, but it will depend on the value of the items that you are insuring. There might be some minimum security requirements that you will have to comply with to ensure that you are covered under such a policy.

Note that if you want to make a claim for loss of or damage to any of these items, you may have to prove the value of your loss. In the case of jewellery items such as diamond rings and watches over a certain value and other special items such as artwork or Persian carpets, you may be required to supply a valuation certificate when you claim.

Anniversary date

The anniversary date (which may also be referred to as the "renewal date") is the day that occurs every year in the same month that the policy started. This is usually every 12 months after the date on which the policy starts. This is only applicable for the period during which the policy is effective.


If the start date of your policy is 1 September 2022, the anniversary date of your policy will be 1 September 2023. On the anniversary date, the policy is reviewed by the insurer, and premiums may increase or decrease depending on various factors.


Average (or "subject to average") is the calculation that insurers apply when dealing with a claim in a situation of under-insurance. See meaning of "under-insurance" below and at point 49.


The average is applied using the following formula: Sum Insured Value at Risk × the Loss = Settlement An example of the application of average is:

  • Tom has a house, and the house is insured for R200 000 (sum insured);
  • The cost to completely rebuild the house if completely destroyed is R300 000 (value at risk);
  • There is a fire, and the cost of repairs is R60 000 (the loss);
  • The amount that will be paid (settlement) is: R200 000 R300 000 × R60 000 = R40 000

It is important to update the amount you are insured for (the sum insured) regularly so that you remain insured for the new replacement value and avoid the risk of being under-insured.

Agreed Value

This is the amount you and the insurer agree to insure a specific item for in the event of a valid claim for that item's total loss. This may apply to items such as a rare, classic motor vehicle, artwork, or other valuable items, as agreed with your insurer. These items will usually be specified separately in your policy, and you will pay an extra premium for insuring them. Average does not apply to agreed value items.