AS WITH ALL other contracts, the goal of insurance policy interpretation is to give effect to the mutual intention of the parties. This is a difficult goal to achieve based on the fact that most insurance policies utilize standardized forms, which are rarely bargained for or negotiated by the parties, and which often contain ambiguous terms and provisions. Due to their unique nature, insurance contracts are generally considered a specialized form of contract: "Because they are contracts, the general rules pertaining to the interpretation of contracts apply. Because they are specialized, they are subject to rules contained in the Insurance Code and its judicial interpretations." As noted by one author, insurance contract interpretation is simply "the process by which a court determines the meaning that it will give the language used by the parties in a contract." As the following sections will explain, the application of insurance contract interpretation rules can be as confusing as the insurance policies they seek to interpret.
"California's Approach to the Interpretation of Insurance PoliciesMacKinnon v. Truck Insurance Exchange,"
University of San Francisco Law Review: Vol. 38
, Article 7.
Available at: http://repository.usfca.edu/usflawreview/vol38/iss3/7