Insurance contracts are designed to meet specific needs and thus have many features not found in many other types of contracts. Since insurance policies are standard forms, they feature boilerplate language which is similar across a wide variety of different types of insurance policies.
The insurance policy is generally an integrated contract, meaning that it includes all forms associated with the agreement between the insured and insurer.:10 In some cases, however, supplementary writings such as letters sent after the final agreement can make the insurance policy a non-integrated contract.:11 One insurance textbook states that generally "courts consider all prior negotiations or agreements ... every contractual term in the policy at the time of delivery, as well as those written afterwards as policy riders and endorsements ... with both parties' consent, are part of written policy". The textbook also states that the policy must refer to all papers which are part of the policy. 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. Advertising materials and circulars are typically not part of a policy. Oral contracts pending the issuance of a written policy can occur.
Insurance is the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for money. It is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. An insurer, or insurance carrier, is selling the insurance; the insured, or policyholder, is the person or entity buying the insurance policy. The amount of money to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage is called the premium. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.
The transaction involves the insured assuming a guaranteed and known relatively small loss in the form of payment to the insurer in exchange for the insurer's promise to compensate (indemnity) the insured in the case of a financial (personal) loss. The insured receives a contract, called the insurance policy, which details the conditions and circumstances under which the insured will be financially compensated.
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