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How are insurance contracts in Vermont interpreted? | Legal insurance blog for property insurance



The state of Vermont is known for green mountains, ski slopes and foods such as maple syrup and the ever-popular Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

In Vermont, the rules for interpreting insurance contracts are well established: 1

Vermont Act "requires that policy language be given its usual, ordinary meaning that conforms to the insured's reasonable expectations, and that terms that are ambiguous or obscure should be interpreted to a large extent in favor of coverage. " Towns v. N. Sec. Ins ., 2008 VT 98, ¶ 21, 184 Vt. 322, 964 A.2d 1150; see also Shriner [vAmicaMutualInsCo., 2017 VT 23, ¶ 6,204 Vt. 321

, 167 A.3d 326 (“We enforce the terms of an insurance policy according to their simple, common and popular meaning and our interpretation of an insurance policy is governed by a review of the language from the perspective of what a reasonably prudent person applying for insurance would have understood that to mean. ”(citation and amendment omitted)). "Words or phrases in an insurance policy are ambiguous if they are quite receptive to more than a reasonable interpretation." Whitney v. Vt. Mut. Ins. 2015 VT 140, ¶ 16, 201 Vt. 29, 135 A.3d 272. Furthermore, “[when] a provision is ambiguous or can reasonably be interpreted in more than one way, then we interpret it according to the reasonable expectations of the insured, based on the language of the insurance. ” Vt. Mut. Ins. v. Parsons Hill P & # 39; ship 2010 VT 44, ¶ 21, 188 Vt. 80, 1 A.3d 1016.

In addition, "[a] n insurance" shall be interpreted strictly against the insurer. " 2 " Since an insurance policy is prepared by the insurer with little effective contribution from the insured, [Vermont courts] interprets insurance policies in favor of the insured, in accordance with the insured's reasonable expectations of coverage based on political language. ” 3 In other words, ambiguity towards the insurer is interpreted. 4

Like many other states, the Vermont Act requires that the policy language be given its usual, ordinary meaning and interpreted consistently. with the policyholder's objectively reasonable expectations. Although these principles will not only determine whether a particular claim is covered by a particular policy, policyholders seeking coverage should be prepared to specify the specific facts and laws that support their claims for coverage.

For other blog posts about Vermont law, see:

How to file a complaint with the Vermont Insurance Department about your delay, denial, and mistreatment of insurance companies

Calculation of Actual Cash Value, Part 31: Vermont

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1 Rainforest Chocolate, LLC v. Sentinel Ins. Co., Ltd. 204 A.3d 1109, 111 (Vt. 2018).

2 Id. ( cites Simpson v. State Mut. Life Assurance Co. of Am. 382 A.2d 198, 199 (1977)).

3 Hardwick Recycling & Salvage, Inc. v Acadia Ins. Co. 869 A.2d 82, 90 (Vt. 2004).

4 Brillman v New England Guar. Ins. Co., Inc. 228 A.3d 636, 640-41 (Vt. 2020).


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