Insurance, in law, a contract whereby an insurer engages, for a consideration which is called a premium, to insure a certain party against loss of or injury to certain property by certain perils. The word peril here means not the danger but the happening of the event which was feared. When the contract is in writing, the instrument is called a policy of insurance. Marine insurance is the insurance of maritime property against maritime perils. Fire insurance is the insurance of houses or goods against fire. Life insurance (of which accident insurance, of recent origin, is properly a branch) will be separately treated under its own name. I. Marine Insurance was wholly unknown to the Greeks and Romans, and to oriental nations. Chief Justice Coke (6 Rep. 47), about 1588, notices the practice of insurance as a mere novelty, and the first English statute which recognizes it is 43 Elizabeth, c. 12 (1601). But the 66th section of the laws of Wisby (a maritime code published probably about 1250) speaks distinctly of it. Some suppose this to be an interpolation; but it is at least possible that the practice of insurance was more or less common among merchants centuries before it was recognized by the law.
It is, at all events, no older than the late part of the middle ages; and it must be regarded as prominent among the many illustrations of that tendency to association which is at once the effect and the cause of our advancing civilization. By means of insurance the resources of many are aggregated for the protection of each. Merchants become members of what is often called, and by the universal practice of insurance becomes, the mercantile community: Each one pays over a part of his profits, so small as not to inconvenience him, and thus obtains protection against a loss which would crush him; and what he pays helps to form the fund that indemnifies others. Hence, commerce is promoted and developed to an extent far beyond what would otherwise be possible, because enterprises become not only possible but prudent by means of insurance, which without it would be so rash that only the reckless would undertake them. The law of insurance may be learned from the purpose of insurance. Thus, it is easy to say, as some do, that insurers should not be strict in their requirements, nor rest upon technical defences and the letter of the law.
But all the losses paid by insurers must be paid out of premiums, or the business of insurance would stop; and these premiums must grow higher as the risk increases; and when they get so high as to be much beyond the actual risk incurred by prudent and substantial men who take care that their ships are what they should be, such men will no longer insure. Then the business of insurance will fall into the hands of the careless and the unprincipled, and then premiums must rise still further, and the mischief in this way confirm and enlarge itself. Instead of being a support to commerce, insurance will then only derange it, and be little better than legalized gambling. Similar principles will be seen, as we proceed, to be applicable to every part of the law of insurance; because the whole effort of the law is to make the business of insurance prudent and satisfactory, for merchants who transact a legitimate business honestly and carefully. Formerly much business was done by individual insurers, or underwriters as they are often termed from their subscribing the policies. Now, however, nearly if not quite all policies of insurance, in this country, are made by incorporated companies.
These are of two kinds: 1, stock companies, where the stock is owned by persons who receive the profits (that is, the excess of premiums over losses) by way of dividends; 2, mutual companies, where the profits (deducting only the expense of transacting the business) are divided among the insured, or so applied to reduce the premiums that each insured pays only the equivalent of his actual risk. Some companies which operate on the mutual principle have also a certain amount of capital stock as a basis. - Large volumes are written about the law of insurance.
In this article we shall endeavor to exhibit only a brief and condensed statement of its leading principles. The contract of insurance ought always to be in writing; but it may be binding if only oral, unless the insurers are an incorporated company, forbidden by their charter to insure otherwise than in writing. An agreement to insure, entered and subscribed in the usual way in the books of the insurers, would generally be held to be a contract binding both parties to the terms usual in the common policies of those insurers. And it seems to be the settled law of the United States that a contract is made by letter, when either party, receiving a letter of proposals, puts into the mail an answer of acceptance, without having previously received a letter from the proposing party retracting his proposals. A policy is a very ancient instrument, and is substantially the same everywhere, but with special variations. It is subscribed only by the insurers, but the bargain binds also the insured if he accepts the policy and puts his property at risk under it.
A policy may insure A specifically, or A "for whom it may concern," or use other equivalent words; and the effect of these words is to bring within the scope and benefit of the insurance every person interested in the property who authorized the insurance, and who was contemplated by A as being insured; or who, being so interested and contemplated, afterward in good faith adopts and ratifies the insurance. Sometimes the policy defines and exactly describes the property insured; sometimes it leaves this undetermined, but requires that it shall afterward be defined, in writing on the policy, as such or such property aboard of such or such a ship; the latter is called an open or running policy. Alterations made by agreement are valid, and are in practice often made and indorsed upon the policy. But a material alteration by the insured, without the assent of the insurer, destroys all claim against the insurer, and is said to have this effect although made in good faith, and with the expectation of obtaining his consent. An alteration by the insurers without the consent of the insured has no effect whatever. If there be a material mistake in the policy, courts having equity powers will sometimes amend it.
A policy of insurance is not negotiable; yet, if transferred for value in good faith, the transfer may be so far valid (if not prohibited in the policy itself) as to give the assignee a right to sue in the name of the insured, or, in some states, in his own name, but always subject to any equitable defences which could be made against the insured. But an assignment or transfer of the property insured, before a loss, without a corresponding transfer of the policy with the consent of the insurers, destroys the claim of the insured, and gives none whatever to the assignee. If a loss has occurred, and a claim to indemnity vested in the insured, he may now transfer this claim. And if the bankruptcy of the insured transfers his property and with it the policy to assignees, the insurers are still held; and on the death of an insured, the property and policy go to his legal representatives. Whatever is written on the face or hack of the policy, and is referred to in the policy as a part of it, becomes a part of it; and so is a separate paper, if distinctly made a part by reference which amounts to an agreement. Policies which insure a person who has no interest in the property are called wager policies.
They were formerly permitted, but are not legal or valid now either here or in England; it being a universal rule that the insured must have some interest in the property, and this interest must be at risk. If the policy is what is called an open policy, that is, if the interest be not valued therein, and a loss occurs, the insured proves his interest or the value of the property, and is paid accordingly. But the policy may be what is called a valued policy; that is, A may be insured "$10,000 on the ship Orion, valued at $20,000." This binds both parties, unless there be an over-valuation so extreme as to be fraudulent, or to be equivalent to a wager policy. If A is insured as above, and the ship is totally lost, he receives $10,000; but if the ship is partially lost, or injured to say one half of her value, then he receives $5,000; because by causing himself to be insured only half of her agreed value he is considered as standing his own insurer for the other half. But if he be insured a round sum, without any valuation, he will receive the whole amount insured, provided he can show that he has lost so much by a peril insured against. - The subjects of marine insurance are four: the ship, the cargo, the freight which the ship may earn, and the profits upon the cargo.
Either may be valued; but it is common to value a ship, and not so common to value either of the other interests. If goods are valued, it is perhaps for the purpose of insuring the profits, by including them in the valuation of the goods, without insuring the profits under that name. It is not very common to insure profits by themselves; but when this is done, they are usually valued, although this is not necessary. If valued, and the goods are lost, the English courts require proof that they would have made some profit. In the United States the courts consider the loss of goods as implying the loss of some profits, and the valuation settles the amount. - Any kind of interest will support an insurance, if it be such that a loss of the property will bring on the insured direct pecuniary loss. Any bailee of the property (or one having possession of it) may insure it if he have any interest in it or responsibility for it. If the property be mortgaged, both mortgageor and mortgagee have an insurable interest in it; so have factors on commission (or commission merchants), consignees, agents having possession, or carriers.
The owner of the ship acquires an insurable interest in the freight it will carry as soon as he has received the goods of another to be carried, or has purchased goods to be carried in his own ship, or has made a distinct and obligatory contract with some one to ship them, and his vessel is at or on the way to a port to receive them. The contract of insurance is wholly void if the interest insured is illegal; or if a material and inseparable part of the contract or transaction is illegal; or if it distinctly contemplates an illegal use of that which is insured. But by illegal is meant contrary to the laws of the country where the contract is made and is to be enforced. Thus, an insurance in America, to cover goods intended to be smuggled into England, would not be void in America, but would be in England. Some contracts of insurance are prohibited by the mere policy of the law; thus, a mariner cannot make a valid insurance of his wages, because it is important that he should feel the danger of losing them if the ship be lost. - The subject of warranties in marine insurance is very important.
These are promises of the insured that certain things exist or do not exist, or shall be or shall not be done; and if the promise is broken the contract is void, whether the promise is material or not, and whether the breach of the promise is the fault of the insured or not. And they must be exactly complied with, though the warranty will be construed reasonably, and according to the usage of merchants and insurers, and the honest and actual intention of the parties. The warranty may be express or implied by law. If express, it must be written on or in the policy, or by distinct reference made a part of it. Any distinct assertion amounts to a warranty; if the ship be described as " the American ship Flying Cloud," this is a warranty that she is American. Express warranties are most usually: 1, of ownership; 2, of national character; 3, of the lawfulness of the goods or voyage; 4, of the taking of convoy; 5, of the time of sailing. There are also some implied warranties; but by far the most important of these is the universal warranty of seaworthiness.
Every person who proposes to insurers to insure his ship, engages and warrants that his ship is in every respect in a safe and suitable condition to encounter all common perils and dangers on the voyage or in the place where she is to be while under insurance. The insurers may expressly waive this warranty, but this is very seldom done; and wherever it exists, there it is a condition precedent to the obligations of the insurance; that is to say, if this warranty be not performed or complied with, the insurance never attaches. The insurance is equally avoided by unseaworthiness, although this was unknown, and indeed could not be known, to the insured. Seaworthiness requires reasonable soundness and strength in materials, and a full equipment of all appurtenances and implements which are necessary to the ship, with a proper master, officers, and crew, and proper papers. If the ship is seaworthy at the beginning, so that the policy attaches, the law may not be quite settled as to the effect of a subsequent unseaworthiness. It certainly has no effect upon a previous loss; and we consider the better rule to be, that it only suspends but does not destroy the insurance.
Thus if a ship loses her best bower anchor, this has no effect upon a previous loss, nor upon a loss that occurs before the anchor can be replaced. If the vessel reaches a port where she might replace the anchor, and does not, and sails and meets with a loss, nearly all agree that the insurers are discharged; but some authorities hold the insurers liable for a loss occurring during such an unseaworthiness, if the loss is not caused by it. - Another implied warranty is, that there shall be no false representations, and no concealment of material facts; for if there be either of these, the policy does not attach. In the law of insurance, that is a misrepresentation which, however made, tends materially to obtain for the utterer a contract which otherwise would not be made, or better terms than would otherwise be granted. Concealment is the suppression of a material circumstance, for the same purpose. Such misrepresentation or concealment discharges the insurers, although made unintentionally and only through mistake; but it has not this effect if withdrawn before the policy is made, or if it ceases to be material before the risk begins. If the representation relates to the future, a future compliance with it is as necessary as a present compliance with a present representation.
The insured is bound to communicate not only ascertained facts, but all intelligence, and even rumors, if they are such as may reasonably enter into the estimate of the risk; but he is not bound to disclose what are merely his own hopes or fears, nor such matters of general information or public notoriety as are likely to be as well known to one person as to another; nor anything which the insurers already know; nor anything expressly provided for in the policy. A substantial compliance with a representation is sufficient, although it be not so exact as would be required in the case of an express warranty. - As nothing prevents the parties from making what agreement they choose, they sometimes omit, or expressly except, certain risks; or the insured warrants against them, which comes to the same thing. When, as sometimes happens, causes mingle to produce a loss, some of which are insured against and some are not, it may be very difficult to determine whether the insurers are liable. There are many such cases. The general rule is: Causa proxima, non re-mota 8pectatur. But even then it becomes difficult to know what is a proximate cause, and what is a remote cause.
Here also the general rule may be given; it is, that insurers are not liable for any effects of a peril against which they insure, excepting those which are the natural, direct, and immediate effects thereof. One way in which insurers seek to guard against this question, is by having a long list of what are called memorandum articles inserted in their policy, or referred to in it. These are grain, hides, and other perishable things, which are likely to be injured somewhat, either by slight causes, or without external causes; and it is provided that the insurers shall not be answerable for these, unless there is a total loss, or a certain large loss, or unless the loss is caused by stranding; for in either of these events, it will be probable that the loss is caused by a peril insured against. - Another implied warranty of the insured is, that there shall be no deviation; which means, primarily, that the ship shall go by the direct and usual course to the place whither she is bound. It means also, by construction and usage, not only that there shall be no departure from the proper course, but no unnecessary delay, or, more extensively, no material departure from or change in the risks insured against, not justified by a good cause.
Nor need this change increase the risk, for the parties have a right to hold each other to their agreement. There may be deviation while a ship is in port, or where no particular voyage is indicated, the insurance being on time; and the rule concerning deviation, like nearly all those of the law of marine insurance, is equally in force in the lake and river navigation of this country as in its ocean commerce. The effect of deviation is to discharge the insurers altogether from all subsequent risks. If, when a deviation ceases, all subsequent risks are precisely the same as they would have been had the deviation not taken place, the obligation of the insurers might revive; but this can rarely be the case. There are cases where a slight deviation discharges the insurers; but it must have some reality and effect. Delay in commencing or in prosecuting a voyage may be a deviation. Going into a port out of the natural and proper course is certainly one. Liberty is often given in the policy "to enter " such a port, or "touch at," or "stop and trade at," or otherwise as the parties may agree; but such a liberty is usually construed very strictly. A deviation does not discharge the insurers, unless it be voluntary.
Any necessity, as for repairs or provisions, or to save life, or to avoid a peril, justifies so much deviation as it requires. A mere intent to deviate has not the effect of deviation. Thus, for example, if a vessel sails from New York insured on a voyage to New Orleans, intending at a certain point in her course to bear away for Havana, and is lost before she bears away, the insurers are held. - We have already said that the consideration for the contract of insurance is called the premium; and this is a small sum of money, for which, in this country, the insured or his agent usually gives his note when the policy is made and delivered, which is called the premium note. This premium is never due in fact until it is earned by the risk, for insurance against which the premium is paid. If this risk never takes place, the promise to pay the premium cannot be enforced; and if it has been paid, the insurers must repay it. Hence it is always in the power of the insured to cancel the policy before the risk attaches, by refusing to put his property under that risk. But unless the voyage be abandoned, a notice of his wish to cancel the policy has no effect. If the whole risk attaches to the whole property for any time whatever, no part of the premium is returnable.
If the risk attaches to a severable part of the property only, a proportional part only of the premium is earned, and the remainder is returnable. Clauses are sometimes inserted in policies defining certain contingencies upon which the premium is returnable in whole or in part. - The property insured should be described sufficiently to secure its identification; but the interest of the insured need not be described, as whether it is all, or half, or a quarter, or that of an'owner, a mortgagee, or a factor. Insurance on a ship covers all the implements and appurtenants actually and properly used for her navigation, although not strictly necessary. An open policy on the ship does not cover the freight; but it is common to cover the freight by a valuation of the ship. One who owns both ship and cargo may insure his "freight," and thereby cover what his ship would earn by carrying for another owner that cargo for the same distance. - The insurers are never responsible for the acts of the insured, or for the direct and immediate consequences of those acts; but they may be for the consequences of the acts or omissions of the master and crew, although they are the servants of the owner, but not if their conduct was in compliance with the owner's orders or instructions.
It may be stated as a universal rule, that the insurers are liable only for extraordinary risks; for the seaworthiness of the ship implies her competency to meet safely all ordinary'risks. Hence they are not liable for any loss which shall be attributed to wear and tear, or ordinary breakage. So, too, insurers are never liable for losses which are the consequences of inherent defects or qualities of the property insured, unless these are made active and destructive by a peril insured against, as where hemp rots or lime takes fire from being wet by the effect of storm or wreck. If the losses occur by contraband trade, or a violation of the law of foreign countries, this, we have seen, does not discharge the insurers on the ground of illegality; but it does discharge them as a risk they never undertook, unless the insured had previously to the insurance informed them that the goods or ship would undergo this risk, or the insurers knew this otherwise. - American policies commonly enumerate the risks against which the insurance is made. They are usually perils of the sea, fire, barratry, theft, piracy, arrests, and detentions. A general clause, "all other perils," is usually added, but is restricted by the enumeration.
Of these perils, the first, "perils of the sea," is by far the most important, and would of itself include some of the others. It covers in general all loss or damage arising from extraordinary action of wind or sea, or from inevitable accidents arising from navigation. But no natural loss, as for example the destruction of a ship through leakage caused by worms, is a loss by a peril of the sea. Collision is a peril of the sea. The rule of the sea is, that when two ships collide, if neither is in fault, the loss rests where it falls. If one alone is in fault, the whole loss rests on him. If both are in fault, the common law courts let the loss rest where it falls; but the courts of admiralty divide the loss equally between the parties. For the loss a vessel suffers by collision, her insurers are answerable. It has been held that they were liable for what the vessel they insure had to pay because in fault; but the later and the better rule limits their liability to the loss actually sustained. To bring a loss within the clause of "theft or piracy," it is said that there must be violence, and that the thieves must not be the crew, unless they are in mutiny; but this is not certain, and it is now common to use the phrase "assailing thieves," in order to limit the liability of the insurers to a loss from violence from without the ship.
What is barratry has been much disputed. It is an ancient maritime term, and may perhaps be best defined as any wrongful act of the master, officers, or crew, done against the owner. If it be a wrongful act, against him in fact, it may be barratry, although mistakenly intended for his benefit. But it must be against the owner of the ship, and is not barratry as against other parties if the act be done by the owner's command or with his consent. In American policies it is now common to add after the word " barratry" the words, "if the insured be not owner of the ship." The effect of this is, that ship owners are not insured against barratry, but shippers of goods are; and the reason is, that insurers are willing to insure shippers of goods against the misconduct of those they do not appoint, and cannot control, but are not willing to insure ship owners against the acts of their own servants. - The termini of the voyage must always be definitely stated (if the insurance be not on time), not only to determine whether there be a deviation, but also to show whether any loss that occurs takes place within the policy. It is important therefore to know precisely when the insurance begins and when it ceases.
By the words usually inserted, "lost or not lost," the insurers make themselves responsible although the property be at that time wholly lost, provided the insured does not know it, or makes known all he knows about it. Insurance "at and from " a place begins when the property is there in a safe condition. Insurance "from" a place begins when the ship sails. English and American insurers now usually insert a clause in all voyage policies, that the insurance continues " until the ship be arrived and moored 24 hours in safety." This means safety from the perils insured against, and not the local ones of the port or place, as unsafe mooring, etc.; as otherwise it could not cease while she lies there. The insurers are answerable if the loss occurs after the policy expires, provided it be the direct, immediate, and inevitable effect of an injury received at a time when the policy attached, from a peril insured against. - The loss may be total or partial; and a total loss may be actual or constructive. An actually total loss occurs when the ship or goods are actually submerged, or destroyed, by fire or some other peril, so that no part of them of any value survives and is recoverable.
A constructive total loss, or, as it is sometimes called, a technical total loss, is one in which valuable portions of the property survive, but are transferred to the insurers by abandonment, so that the whole property passes out of the possession of the insured, and the insurers pay for the whole, and hold the salvage (or property saved) as their own. By the established usage of this country, confirmed by abundant adjudication, the insured has a right to abandon, and thus convert a partial loss into a total loss, whenever the partial loss exceeds one half of the value of the property insured. But our policies now generally contain the clause that there shall be abandonment only when the partial loss exceeds 50 per cent., estimated as a partial loss. This means, after a deduction of one third off. For it is one of the practical rules to which merchants have come, that in every case of partial loss one third shall be allowed as the benefit conferred by the new materials of repair; or, in the common phrase, "one third off, new for old." Thus, if a new vessel sails to-dav, and to-morrow loses her masts and rigging so as to require that all her top hamper should be replaced, and the insurers pay the cost of this, the owners gain nothing.
But if the same ship, after spars and canvas are nearly worn out, meets with the same disaster, and new ones are supplied, and the insurers pay the cost, the insured gains nearly all that he receives, for he lost very little by the disaster. Merchants and insurers, instead of trying to determine the proportion in each case, wisely conclude that the average, one third off, meets all cases fairly. Applying this to the case of constructive total loss, it is plain that a partial loss, to justify abandonment, must be more than 75 per cent. (For the loss of a ship by the sale of the master, in a case of strict necessity, see Shipping.) Whether the property insured be ship or cargo, it is the universal rule that a loss where anything is saved cannot be made total, excepting by transfer of salvage by abandonment to the insurers; and the same rule applies to all claims, rights, or interests in, to, or about the property, remaining in or accruing to the insured. Thus, if the insured lose by jettison or otherwise so as to acquire a claim to general average contribution, this claim must be transferred; and if the insured have to pay a general average contribution caused by a loss insured against, the insurers must repay it. (See Average, and Shipping.) There is no especial form of abandonment; but it must be made by the insured without any unnecessary delay, immediately upon learning the loss, and in terms distinctly indicating the fact of their loss, and their transfer of all salvage by abandonment, and their claim for a total loss.
If the abandonment is accepted, it binds the insurers; but if they refuse the acceptance, their refusal cannot impair the rights of the insured. II. Insurance against Fire. The principles of fire insurance are the same with those of marine insurance, excepting so far as the nature of the property and of the risk causes a difference. It is only these differences that we heed to present. Marine insurance is usually effected through a broker; fire insurance usually by the party himself. He generally has to sign a formal application, and answer therein many questions; and the substantial truth of every answer would be taken as a condition precedent to any liability on the part of the insurers. It is common to state in the application, or policy itself, that certain risks are "hazardous," and a scale of premiums is sometimes given for different classes of property; and it is of extreme importance that the insured should not deceive the insurers on this point. But there must be a rational if not a liberal construction of all these rules. Thus, if "cotton in bales " is represented as particularly "hazardous," a policy would not be avoided by the fact that a person insured upon a store and goods had one or two bales there for retail.
So if " storing " certain goods demands an extra premium, having a small quantity for home consumption, or even for sale, does not come within the meaning of this clause. If the insured proposes to make any alteration in the premises insured, he should make this known to the insurers, and, if he can, obtain their leave in writing. But we apprehend that mere alterations, however expensive or important, do not of themselves avoid a policy, unless they are such that they increase the risk substantially. While the alterations are in progress, and a new risk exists from them, the underwriters are discharged from liability caused by a loss arising from this risk, but not, we think, if it arises from a cause wholly independent of the risk; and if the alterations are finished, and the risk not altered, they do not affect the insurance. It is usual to provide in the policy, or by the rules of the company, for making necessary or proper repairs. The law of warranty, of representation, and of concealment, is much the same in fire insurance as in marine insurance. But some questions have arisen as to what part of a description is a continuing warranty.
If expressly prospective, as that water tanks shall be kept in an upper story, or a certain watch maintained, these of course are continuing promises, and a breach avoids or suspends the policy. So a description that the house is slated would be a continuing warranty that it should remain slated. But a statement that the house stands "500 feet from any other building" would not avoid the policy, if a neighbor should put up a building within 100 feet of the insured. There seems to be this difference between the two kinds of policies: a breach of warranty avoids a marine policy, however innocent the insured; but it seldom has this effect upon a fire policy, unless there be fraud or other default on the part of the insured. At the time of the insurance, the property must be in existence, and not then on fire, or in immediate danger from fire. Heat alone, however excessive, or however caused, or however destructive, does not make the insurers liable unless there be fire, or ignition. Hence, it is now settled that a loss by lightning is not a loss by fire, unless the property be lost by ignition caused by the lightning. But if there be a fire, usage and the law go very far in holding the insurers liable for the consequences of it.
Thus, any loss caused by honest efforts to extinguish the fire, as by water poured upon it, or any loss sustained by removal of the insured goods from a peril of fire, or by the blowing up or tearing down of a building to arrest a fire, would fall on the insurers. But there must be an actual fire, near enough and dangerous enough to justify reasonable men in the measures which have resulted in the loss. While an explosion of or by gunpowder is a loss by fire, an explosion of or by steam has been held not to be so. Though the loss be caused by the negligence of the servants of the insured, the insurers are still held; and so they are if it be caused by his own negligence, unless that be so extreme and extraordinary as to raise a suspicion of, or rather imply, fraudulent intent. That the fire was caused by the insanity of the insured is no defence to the insurers. - Valuation is sometimes made in policies by stock companies upon chattels of uncertain value, as books, plate, or works of art; seldom by these companies on houses; and never upon anything, so far as we know, by mutual companies, for the purpose of determining the amount to be paid in case of loss.
If a loss happens, the insured is entitled only to actual indemnity; but a valuation is required by the charters of most companies, that they may not insure beyond a certain proportion of the value, and the valuation for this purpose is usually binding on both parties. Insurers against fire generally stipulate that they may rebuild or repair the premises insured, if they prefer this course to paying for the loss; and they frequently avail themselves of the right. There is not in fire insurance any rule answering to the " one third off, new for old," in marine insurance; nor any usage of making a partial loss total by abandonment, although all insurers who pay a total loss are entitled to all salvage or remains. Nor is there anything of general average known to fire insurance. - As it is deemed especially important in fire insurance to prevent insuring more than the value of the property, in order to guard against the temptation to burn it for the insurance, policies generally provide in substance and effect that any previous insurance, not made known, shall avoid any subsequent policy; and the law is very strict in construing and applying this rule or provision.
It is now common to provide also that subsequent insurance, not made known and assented to, shall avoid the policy. (See Life Insurance.)