In signing a contract to do business with another entity, you agree to add them as an insured under your Liability insurance. Several months later, an accident arises from the contracted job, and the other party sues you for damages. Can you file a claim for this suit under the policy that covers both of you? If so, isn’t this like the party suing itself, because the same policy that covers them as an insured is the one under which they’re now attempting to collect damages?
The answer to the first question is “yes, you can file that claim.” A standard Liability policy will cover a suit by one of its insureds against another unless there’s a specific endorsement prohibiting such coverage. Under such a “separation of insureds” clause, all policy provisions apply “separately to each insured against whom a claim is made or suit is brought.” So, from the policy perspective, the key issue is whether an insured is being sued — not who’s bringing the suit. As with any other claim, whether the policy pays for the damages will depend on a determination of liability and applicable coverage limitations and exclusions.
Although the insured party is attempting to collect under a policy that covers them, legally they aren’t suing themselves, but another insured; and the “separation of insureds” clause allows coverage for such situations.
Protection for “insured vs. insured” claims provides a valuable benefit under your liability coverage. However, bear in mind that any damages for such claims will drain your coverage limits. So, be careful about which and how many additional insureds you allow to be covered by — and yet still sue you and collect under — the policy you purchased just to protect yourself!
If you’d like more information, please feel free to get in touch with our Business insurance professionals. We’re here to serve you.