Atlanta lawyers know that the courts consider insurance policies as contracts of adhesion, since they are drawn by legal draftsmen of the insurer and the insured has no opportunity to negotiate or change the terms and conditions of the contract. Thus, in the construction of an insurance contract standard is not what the insurer may have intended its words to mean, but what a reasonable person in the position of the insured would understand the words to mean. This standard requires a policy be read as a layman would read it and not as it might he analyzed by an insurance expert or an attorney.
Automobile insurance contracts generally follow the same format. For liability coverage the insurer broadly promises coverage for certain losses occasioned by an accident involving the maintenance, ownership, or use of an insured automobile. The broad all-inclusive coverage is then restricted or limited by the express terms of the policy. Limitations of broad coverage in the policy include the limits of liability and maximum coverage available for an insured event. Exclusions enunciate those conditions which if applicable to a loss arising out of an otherwise insured automobile accident, restrict or eliminate coverage. For example, a business use exclusion void coverage while the otherwise insured automobile is being used in connection with the insured's business. It is the expression of these limitations to coverage that the courts apply a more strict construction of the contract language. Accordingly, exceptions, exclusions, and other limitations of the contract must be narrowly construed and, are more strictly construed against the insurer. As applied in the construction of the contract, the insurer is bound thereby to express all limitations to coverage clearly and explicitly. Contact an Atlanta lawyer today to discuss your case.