Insurance Facts – Spontaneous Combustion

Insurance Facts – Spontaneous Combustion
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Insurance Facts – Spontaneous Combustion

Some, but by no means all, ARPI policies contain a clause excluding spontaneous combustion, namely a fire brought about by the conditions produced within the substance itself.


The key element to spontaneous combustion is the creation of a fire without obvious external factors. Therefore, there have been doubts as to whether or not an insurance policy would cover such a loss, even if it was not specifically excluded. In other words, is spontaneous combustion a type of inherent vice and not created by the interaction of external forces? It is suggested that spontaneous combustion can only take place if certain conditions occur, such as an increase in heat. Therefore, to that extent, spontaneous combustion is not inevitable and relies upon certain favourable conditions existing.


In the case of Duncanson v. Continental Insurance Co., 69 DLR 4th 198; 20 ACWS (3d) 564, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal was required to decide whether the expression in the policy “including self-ignition” enlarged the meaning of the word “fire” so as to include spontaneous combustion even when there was no fire. When heat was spontaneously generated by the cargo the Court of Appeal found that the words “including self-ignition” embraced damage resulting from spontaneous combustion. It commented that the policy extended the coverage beyond the ordinary meaning of the word fire and included the process before actual ignition takes place. The court looked at various definitions of ignition and spontaneous combustion. It adopted a definition of ignition as being the act of kindling or setting on fire; the act of operation of communicating fire or heat until the substance becomes red or incandescent; the state of being kindled or ignited.


It referred to the Oxford English Dictionary^ Compact Edition 1987, which defines spontaneous combustion as the act of burning away through conditions produced within the substance itself.


Therefore, in conclusion, an ARPI policy can cover spontaneous combus­tion, but it probably needs to be expressly covered and without such an express provision the court will probably imply a term (as a result of market practice) excluding spontaneous combustion


Willis J. Watson is a freelance writer since 2006, living in United States and he writes about he enjoys the most…insurance policies. If you want to read more informations about Landlord Insurance Quote and also read more reviews about Compare Building Insurance, you can check out his websites.

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