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Read coverage clauses broadly, exclusion clauses narrowly

A principal of interpretation that applies to insurance policies is that in the event of ambiguity coverage provisions should be interpreted broadly and exclusion clauses should be interpreted narrowly:
 
 [C]overage provisions are interpreted broadly, and exclusion clauses narrowly
(Progressive Homes Ltd. v. Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada, 2010 SCC 33 at para. 24).
 
The rule that coverage provisions should be interpreted broadly and exclusion clauses should be interpreted narrowly is really just a corollary of the contra proferentem rule which applies in the event of ambiguity i.e. it is the insurer who likely drafted the insurance contract and construing coverage provisions broadly, or exclusion clauses narrowly, will be to the detriment of the insurer as the party who drafted the contract: 
 
When these rules of construction fail to resolve the ambiguity, courts will construe the policy contra proferentem —  against the insurer...  One corollary of the contra proferentem rule is that coverage provisions are interpreted broadly, and exclusion clauses narrowly…
(Progressive Homes Ltd. v. Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada, 2010 SCC 33 at para. 22-24, citations omitted).
 
See the discussion above regarding coverage provisions and exclusion clauses for more information on interpretation of coverage provisions and exclusion clauses.

 

 
This book was written by Michael Dew, a Vancouver lawyer who practices civil litigation, including representing persons who have been denied coverage under property insurance policies, or liability insurance policies. If you have been denied insurance coverage and require assistance with making a claim against your insurer call Michael at 604 895 3160.