POLICY OF INSURANCE, contracts. An instrument in writing by which the
contract of insurance is effected and reduced into form.
2. The term policy of insurance, or assurance, as it is sometimes called, is derived from the Italian di olizza di assecurazione, or di securanza, or securta; and in that language signifies a tote or bill of security or indemnity.
3. The policy is always considered as being made upon an executed consideration, namely, the payment or security for the payment of the premium, and contains only the promise of the underwriters, without anything in nature of a counter promise on the part of the insured. The policy may be effected by the owner of the property insured, his broker or agent.
4. As to its form, the policy has been considered in courts of law as an absurd and incoherent instrument; 4 T. R. 210; but courts of justice have always construed it according to the intention of the parties, and so that the indemnity of the insured, and the advancement of trade, which are the great objects of insurance, may be attained. It should contain, 1. The names of the parties. 2. The name of the vessel insured, in order to identify it; but to prevent the ill consequence that might result from a mistake in the name of the vessel or master, there are usually inserted in policies these words, "or by whatsoever name or names the same ship or the master thereof is, or shall be, named or called." 3. A Specification of the subject-matter, of the insurance, whether it be goods, ship, freight, respondentia or bottomry securities, or other things. Marsh. Ins. 315; 3 Mass. Rep. 476. 4. A description of the voyage, with the commencement and end of the risk. 5. A statement of the perils insured against. 6. A power in the insured to save goods in case of misfortune, without violating the policy. 7. The promise of the insurers, and an acknowledgment of their receipt of the premium. 8. The common memorandum. 9. The date and subscription.
5. Policies, with reference to the reality of the interest insured, are distinguished into interest and wager policies; with reference to the amount of interest, into open and valued.
6. An interest policy, is where the insured has a real, substantial, assignable interest in the thing insured; in which case only it is a contract of indemnity.
7. A wager policy, is a pretended insurance, founded on an ideal risk, where the insured has no interest in the thing insured, and can therefore sustain no loss, by the happening of any of the misfortunes insured against. These policies are strongly reprobated. 3 Kent, Com. 225.
8. An open policy, is where the amount of the interest of the insured is not fixed by the policy; but is left to be ascertained by the insured in case a loss shall happen.
9. A valued policy, is where a value has been set on the ship. or goods insured, and this value inserted in the policy in the nature of liquidated damages, to save the necessity of proving it in case of loss. Marsh. Ins. 287; and see Kent, Com. Lecture 48; Marsh. Ins. ch. 8; 16 Vin. Ab. 402; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 305; Park. Ins. 1, 14; Westcott, Ins. 400; Pardes. h.t.; Poth. h.t.; Boulay Paty, h.t.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.