Marine insurance—general principles

The following Insurance & Reinsurance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Marine insurance—general principles
  • What is marine insurance?
  • Indemnification
  • Marine adventure
  • Mixed land and sea risks
  • Maritime perils
  • Insurable interest
  • Examples of insurable interests
  • When must the interest attach?
  • Principal subjects insured
  • More...

Marine insurance—general principles

This Practice Note describes the main principles of marine insurance as governed by the Marine Insurance Act 1906. It looks at the principles of indemnity under marine insurance, the concept of a marine adventure, mixed land and sea risks and maritime perils. The Note also examines insurable interests, the principal risks insured, marine insurance policies, marine insurance brokers and rights of subrogation under a marine insurance policy.

What is marine insurance?

Marine insurance is defined in the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (MIA 1906) as a contract ‘whereby the insurer undertakes to indemnify the assured, in manner and to the extent thereby agreed, against marine losses, that is to say, the losses incident to marine adventure’.

The objective of the MIA 1906 was to codify the then state of the common law in relation to marine insurance. Many provisions of the MIA 1906 remain in force today though it has been amended by the Insurance Act 2015 and the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012.

This definition contains two important concepts, that of:

  1. indemnification, and

  2. marine adventure


The essential purpose of marine insurance, as with all other insurance, is to indemnify the insured against the loss he has incurred from an insured risk. This is the general rule; there may be particular and limited exceptions. From this general rule, further important principles follow.

MIA 1906 itself defines the

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