Insurance T&Cs as long as novels

In fact, six insurance policies covering home, travel and car, all from different providers, were more than 30,000 words long.

This beats even that king of wordsmithery, Charles Dickens, whose A Christmas Carol is just over 28,000 words, and probably makes for a much better screen play than the average home insurance document.

A spokesperson for NFU Mutual said while its policy wording is "very detailed – and something we look to refine each time we improve the policy – it isn’t a barrier to our customers getting the cover they need or the service they expect".

The spokesman added: "That’s because everyone who buys a home insurance policy with us will have a conversation about the level of cover they need. We, in turn, take the opportunity to highlight the features and benefits of the policy that match each customer’s needs."

This information is provided to customers in the insurance product information documents. 

The spokesman asseverated the length of a document did not detract from the service at point of claim, stating: "When our customers need to make a claim, they know we will aim to pay it. After all, we’re a Mutual, owned by and run for our members, the policyholders.

"We pay out on 98 per cent of all our home insurance claims and our dedicated claims handlers are there to talk our customers through the process and find a way to pay the claim."

James Daley, founder of Fairer Finance told a packed room at the Protection Review conference last week (12 July) that Vitality used to send out a 65,697 all-encompassing policy document to all clients, which covered T&Cs for all its products, even if the client only purchased life insurance.

However, Mr Daley later confirmed Vitality has now been working on reducing these significantly. It is understood the insurer now only sends out the all-encompassing document for consumers who have bought two or more types of cover.

Kelly Thomas, head of marketing for Vitality, commented: "The most comprehensive cover is likely to use more words simply because there is more to explain.

"What our customers receive is relevant to the specific type of cover they choose and many documents are very short. However, we can always improve and we are currently working on improving our policy documents."

In general, however, Mr Daley told the conference audience, such lengthy T&Cs are unnecessary, unclear and need to be tackled if the industry is to restore and rebuild trust with consumers.

He said: "The industry needs to deal with complexity, not just in product design but also in the language used. T&Cs do not need to be so long. Nobody will read this online or in print. You must simplify your policy documents."