The key to doing anything well, is to get the fundamentals right.
So often when handling property liability claims we see claimants and their representatives alleging that our Principal’s Insured has caused damages. Close, but no cigar.
Damages is not the plural of Damage. Damages is money. Damages is the compensation sought in a liability claim to redress the wrongs suffered by the claimant / plaintiff.
Damage is the loss or harm to a person or property. There may be multiple damage items or multiple damage events, but these should not be referred to as “Damages”.
In simple terms, a vehicle impacting with a building causes damage to the structure. The costs associated with rectifying the damage claimed by the building owner are the damages.
Damage in the insurance world can have varying meanings and our team is expert at reviewing policy definitions to ensure they have an understanding of the Insurer’s definition of damage (usually property damage) for the purpose of tailoring any investigation and ensuring the right questions are asked. When this is done, we ultimately satisfy the fundamental question in any claim: “What damage occurred?”.
Let’s look at some various policy definitions from across the market:
- Damage or damaged means physical damage, destruction or loss.
- Damage is physical loss, destruction or damage.
- Property damage means physical damage to or loss or destruction of tangible property including any resulting loss of use at any time of that property; or Loss of use of tangible property which has not been physically damaged, lost or destroyed provided such loss of use is caused by an occurrence.
- Property damage means accidental damage to or loss of or destruction of material property, including resulting loss of use of that property; and / or loss of use of tangible property which has not been physically damaged, lost or destroyed.
- Damage or damaged means physical damage or destruction unexpected by you.
As you can see from the above, the definition varies including requirements and broadening of the definition for damage to be physical, unexpected, or include loss of use.
To work with experts in tailoring investigations and reports to fit your specific policy wordings, engage a Crawford specialist on your claims.