As an insurance contract is a legal document, it is essential to understand the legal principles that underlie it. In this article, we will describe and explain the principles that form the foundation of an insurance contract.

1. Principle of Utmost Good Faith

The utmost good faith or uberrima fides is a fundamental principle of an insurance contract. It states that both the insurer and the insured must disclose all relevant material facts before entering into the contract. Material facts are those that could influence the insurer`s decision to accept or reject a risk or determine the premium.

For instance, if the insured is applying for a life insurance policy, they must disclose any pre-existing medical conditions they have, their smoking habits, and their health history. Failure to disclose such information could void the insurance contract or lead to a claim rejection.

2. Principle of Insurable Interest

Insurable interest refers to the legal right to insure something and receive financial compensation in case of a loss. In an insurance contract, the insured must demonstrate insurable interest in the subject of the insurance policy; otherwise, the contract is void.

For instance, a property owner can insure their building but cannot insure someone else`s property unless they have a valid reason to do so. Insurable interest ensures that the insured is not incentivized to cause harm to the insured property as they have a financial interest in its safety.

3. Principle of Indemnity

The principle of indemnity states that the insurer must compensate the insured only for their actual loss. The insured cannot receive more than the amount of loss they have suffered, nor can they make a profit from the insurance policy.

For instance, if the insured`s car is damaged in a collision, the insurer will compensate them for the repair or replacement cost, but not for any additional damages or upgrades that they may want.

4. Principle of Contribution

The principle of contribution applies when the insured has multiple insurance policies covering the same risk. The insurer is liable only for a proportionate amount of the loss, and the insured cannot recover more than the actual loss. In such cases, the insurer must contribute to the loss in proportion to the sum insured under their policy.

For instance, if the insured has two insurance policies covering the same property, one for $50,000 and the other for $100,000, and the property is damaged by a fire for $60,000, the first insurer will pay $25,000, and the second insurer will pay $35,000.


The legal principles of an insurance contract determine the relationship between the insurer and the insured. A clear understanding of these principles helps avoid disputes and ensures that both parties honor their obligations. As insurance contracts are legal agreements, it is crucial to carefully review and understand the terms and conditions before signing them.