Insurance Law Lesson 14: The Circles of Coverage

A policy’s universe of coverage is created by coverage grants. If a scenario does not fall within a coverage grant, then there can be no coverage for that scenario. NOTE – there can be multiple coverage grants, including in endorsements.

Some policies begin with an “insuring agreement” that sets forth the universe of the coverage that can be provided under the policy. Other policies might begin with definitions, “common policy conditions,” or something else. But there is usually a coverage grant towards the beginning.

The universe of coverage is narrowed by exclusions.

Think of a large circle with a small circle inside. The bigger circle is the universe of coverage, created by a coverage grant(s). The inner circle is the coverage that is removed by exclusions.

Now, within the inner circle, make another circle. That circle is the “exceptions” to exclusions. Those are give-backs. But, remember, a give-back cannot be more than was previously taken.

In other words, an exception is not a coverage grant. It does not create coverage. It can only give-back coverage that was already there, but had been taken away via an exclusion.

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