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While it is easy to say ‘policies should be read closely to ensure you realise what is and what is not covered’, even lawyers find the small print of insurance policies difficult to interpret. Some insurers have produced, for car and householder insurance, Plain English Policies which are much clearer. These policies should give rise to fewer disputes, provided lawyers and the courts can resist the temptation to ‘polish’ some of the plain English, That is, provided they interpret the document according to its spirit, rather than to its letter.

Some standard forms of cover have been prescribed by regulations made under the Insurance Contracts Act in 1985. The regulations prescribed standard cover under the following heads: motor vehicle insurance, home buildings insurance, home contents insurance, sickness and accident insurance, consumer credit insurance and travel insurance.

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