Inside: Knowing the terms of your insurance policy is almost as important as having one in the first place

Some pointers for interpreting insurance contracts as set forth in William B. Kessler Memorial Hospital v. North River Insurance Co.

Nowhere is the English language more important in the legal world than in insurance contracts. The policies are written in an archaic manner, using numerous terms that are specially defined in the contract. On top of that, insurers usually tack on numerous endorsements to the policy that alter the terms of the original contract. In some instances, a policyholder will even see one endorsement modify the terms of another. Finally, court opinions also play a significant role in how insurance terms in policies are to be understood.

A recent opinion from the appellate court in New Jersey confirms the point: Insurance policies must be carefully reviewed and understood.

Contributing Author

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Collin J. Hite

Collin Hite is the practice leader of the Insurance Recovery Group at Hirschler Fleischer, P.C (Richmond, Va.). He handles insurance recovery and coverage litigation nationally...

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