Opening Hours

Insurance forms require more clarity to avoid policyholder doubt

A new study by our data experts delves into attitudes around insurance forms, showing that tricky jargon and wording can lead to a lack of confidence.

Filling out insurance forms can be a daunting task for many. We all understand the importance of good coverage, but when forms are laden with jargon and fine print, the process can feel overwhelming.

In an effort to gain a broader understanding of attitudes toward insurance forms, our team of data experts have investigated exactly how policyholders feel filling them out. The study covered all kinds of insurance, from car warranty right through to holiday insurance. 

The findings uncovered a range of issues with insurance forms. Many lacked inclusivity and clarity, causing people to doubt their responses and in turn, the cover they receive. 

How confident do people feel when filling out insurance forms?

In a survey, we asked respondents to recall their experiences with filling out insurance forms so we could gauge the level of confidence they felt during the process.

The spectrum of responses ranged from low to high confidence. 

Those who do feel confident expressed that this is form dependent, as some forms can be ‘overly complicated’ while some are ‘straightforward’. Having prior experience of filling in an insurance form, as well as seeing explanations alongside more complicated terms, contributed to this confidence level.

Responses that expressed a lack of confidence gave varying reasons for feeling this way.

“I have Autism, so sometimes I misunderstand things or take things literally,” explained one respondent, while another stated “I have severe dyslexia so I sometimes struggle to read stuff.” 

Others expressed frustration with terminology, such as one respondent who said, “Terminology isn't clear, and I worry that if I fill something in slightly incorrectly by mistake, I will not be covered.” 

Another stated, “I always worry there are T&Cs that I don’t quite understand that means I’m answering questions incorrectly without knowing.”

Some of the most common causes include:

What creates a lack of confidence?

  1. Lack of understanding of the terminology
  2. Lack of understanding of the T&Cs
  3. Not having the answers needed
  4. Learning difficulties making it difficult to understand forms
  5. Learning difficulties making it difficult to read forms
  6. Insuring more than one possession or thing
  7. Feeling of ‘am I missing something?’

How does the terminology on insurance forms make people feel?

With the main cause of doubt largely coming down to terminology and wording, we decided to test out participants’ understanding of common insurance terms. We presented a range of words and asked people to define each one.


Insurance premiums are regular payments made to an insurance company in exchange for coverage against specific risks. Despite referring to common payments, many people were unsure what this term meant. 

Instead, the ‘premium’ was often taken literally, with many people assuming the term was referring to ‘an expensive extra’ such as ‘a courtesy car’ or ‘private medical [care]’. 

“I hear of this all the time, but I'm not 100% sure. I presume something that is top-end. An additional or extra,” says one participant. 


Generally, respondents exhibited a robust understanding of the term ‘excesses', correctly defining it as an 'upfront cost if you need to claim.' However, a notable level of confusion emerged in certain responses, where participants mistakenly perceived an excess as a 'tax that is added to a claim.'


Moving to the term 'indemnity,' the responses revealed a similar pattern of confusion. While some participants understood it as the 'medium package an insurer offers,' others mistakenly believed that 'indemnity' referred to the actual 'claim form.'

Act of God

Exploring the term 'act of God,' responses indicated a need for greater context and understanding. 

Some participants associated a 'tree falling' on a car as a potential act of God, but it was clarified that coverage depends on the circumstances leading to the event. For instance, if the tree's structure was compromised by human intervention (like cutting roots), the incident might not be covered.

Moreover, some participants extended the concept to include 'bad weather,' not recognising the nuanced distinction between natural disasters like 'earthquakes' or 'lightning strikes' and everyday weather-related events. 

What should insurance companies take from these findings?

These findings highlight the imperative for insurance companies to prioritise clarity and accessibility in communication with policyholders. The ambiguity surrounding terms like 'premiums,' 'excesses,' 'indemnity,' and 'acts of God' reveals a potential gap in understanding that can impact how confident policyholders feel. 

To enhance confidence and comprehension, insurers should consider employing more straightforward language in policy documents and providing clear explanations for industry terms. 

Recognising the diverse challenges faced by policyholders, including learning difficulties and varying levels of prior experience, calls for tailored approaches to communication.

As an insurance company, we want customers to feel empowered and well-informed when navigating the intricate details involved with insurance. That’s why here at ALA, we strive to include transparent and inclusive dialogue in all of our communications. 

If you’d like to learn more about our policies, take a look at our handy guides, including guides on car excess insurance, cycle insurance, and more. In each guide, you’ll find a wording document, providing clarification on each of our important terms. 


We conducted a qualitative (open-ended) survey of people with a range of experience with filling in insurance forms, from no experience to plenty of experience.