Other Conditions - Reasonable Care

Published: 01st October 2010
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Generally speaking, an insurer is unable to rely on the negligence of the insured to defeat his claim, in the absence of express provision to the contrary or wilful misconduct. Nevertheless, virtually all ARPI policies contain clauses requiring the insured to take all reasonable care in connection with the property.

If the test to be applied to determine whether the insured had complied with the clause were objective, so that the insured is required to take such precautions as a reasonable man might take, then the purpose of insurance in most cases would be lost. Claims often arise out of a failure by the insured to exercise due care, and an absolute requirement that the insured should take all reasonable care would be repugnant to the cover apparently provided by the policy. The courts are fully aware of this anomaly and generally have limited the effect of such clauses.

The test is therefore predominantly subjective, which means that the insured's state of mind will have to be investigated after the event. In Fraser v. B. N. Furman (Productions) Ltd. [1967] 2 Lloyd's Rep 1, Lord Justice Diplock said:

"'Reasonable' ... means reasonable as between the insured and the insurer having regard to the commercial purpose of the contract, which is inter alia to indemnify the insured against liability for his [the insured's] personal negligence ... What, in my judgment, is reasonable as between the insured and insurer, without being repugnant to the commercial purpose of the contract, is that the insured, where he does recognise a danger, should not deliberately court it by taking measures which he himself knows are inadequate to avert it. In other words, it is not enough that the insured's omission to take any particular precautions to avoid accidents should be negligent; it must be at least reckless, that is to say, made with actual recognition by the insured himself that a danger exists, and not caring whether or not it is averted. The purpose of the condition is to ensure that the insured will not, because he is covered against loss by the policy, refrain from taking precautions which he knows ought to be taken."

Any attempt by an insurer to avoid payment therefore requires him to show that the insured must have appreciated the risk and failed to take any proper steps to deal with it. The insured's mind appears to be capable of falling within the following four states.

Willis J. Watson is a freelance writer since 2006, living in United States and he writes about he enjoys the most...insurance policies. If you want to read more informations about Landlord Insurance Quote and also read more reviews about Commercial Insurance Quotes, you can check out his websites.

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