(1) In common usage: an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstances;
or an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or
ignorance (Webster's Dictionary).
In insurance parlance, a term
that is included within the insuring agreement of many types of
liability insurance. In a few cases, the word "accident" is a defined
term within the policy. In most cases, however, common law becomes
the determinant of what is, or is not, an accident for purposes
of triggering coverage.
(2) In boiler and machinery (BM) insurance,
"accident" is defined within the policy to mean a sudden and accidental
equipment breakdown that causes damage to the equipment that necessitates
repair or replacement. BM coverage applies to loss or damage resulting
from an accident to a covered object.
(3) In liability insurance,
particularly older forms, the insuring agreements typically covered
injuries or damages caused by an accident that was not the result
of a deliberated intended act (even if the intended act caused an
unexpected result). The term accident was undefined in such policies.
The coverage trigger in the insuring agreement of modern liability
policies, such as the commercial general liability (CGL) policy,
applies to an "occurrence," which is defined to mean an accident,
including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same
general harmful conditions.
Unlike most other modern liability policies,
the commercial auto liability insuring agreement continues to apply
to injuries or damages caused by an "accident." In this case, the
policy includes a definition, of sorts, of the term "accident"—that
is, "[a]ccident" includes continuous or repeated exposure to the
same conditions resulting in "bodily injury" or "property damage."
The personal auto policy's (PAP's) liability insuring agreement
states that the insurer will pay damages for bodily injury or property
damage for which any insured becomes legally responsible because
of an auto accident. In this type of policy, the term accident is
used in its ordinary sense, without including it as a defined term.
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