You’ll need a degree to read this...
INSURANCE policy documents can require universitylevel reading abilities and even industry experts struggle to cut through the jargon, an investigation suggests.
Which? used readability software to examine the length of words and sentences in 40 policy documents from 10 major car, home, pet and travel insurers to estimate how well-educated a reader needs to be to understand them.
It said the average document was more challenging to read than Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Time and Dostoevsky’s Crime And Punishment, so could cause problems for 43% of adults with a reading ability of GCSE grade C or below.
In a separate snapshot investigation, the consumer group found that a retired insurance professional, civil servants and software engineers were unable to answer all questions about two policy documents correctly.
It asked 24 people to read home and travel policy documents from six insurers and answer a number of questions such as how to make a claim and report a change in circumstances to test if they were practical to use.
On average, participants answered five out of 16 questions incorrectly when reviewing the travel insurance documents and three out of 12 incorrectly on the home insurance document.
Which? said it believed policyholders should be able to answer all questions correctly because any errors or misconceptions could leave them thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Which? Money editor Ceri Stanaway said: “It is worrying the policy documents are often far too complex for the average customer to understand, as our investigation suggests.”