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13 Facts About Insurance Policies

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In insurance, the insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and the insured, known as the policyholder, which determines the claims which the insurer is legally required to pay.

A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable at law as a binding legal agreement.

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss.

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In exchange for an initial payment, known as the premium, the insurer promises to pay for loss caused by perils covered under the policy language.

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Insurance contracts are designed to meet specific needs and thus have many features not found in many other types of contracts.

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Since insurance policies are standard forms, they feature boilerplate language which is similar across a wide variety of different types of insurance policies.

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The insurance policy is generally an integrated contract, meaning that it includes all forms associated with the agreement between the insured and insurer.

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In some cases, however, supplementary writings such as letters sent after the final agreement can make the insurance policy a non-integrated contract.

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One insurance textbook states that generally "courts consider all prior negotiations or agreements...

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every contractual term in the policy at the time of delivery, as well as those written afterwards as policy riders and endorsements...

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with both parties' consent, are part of written policy".

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The textbook also states that the policy must refer to all papers which are part of the policy.

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Oral agreements are subject to the parol evidence rule, and may not be considered part of the policy if the contract appears to be whole.

The parol evidence rule is a substantive common law rule in contract cases that prevents a party to a written contract from presenting extrinsic evidence that discloses an ambiguity and clarifies it or adds to the written terms of the contract that appears to be whole.

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Advertising materials and circulars are typically not part of a policy.

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Oral contracts pending the issuance of a written policy can occur.

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