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Abandonment Clause

Definition of "Abandonment clause"

Sherry Rahnama
  RE/MAX Executives

In marine insurance, clause giving an insured the right to abandon lost or damaged property and still claim full settlement from an insurer (subject to certain restrictions). Two types of losses are provided for under abandonment clauses:

  1. Actual total lossproperty so badly damaged it is unrepairable or unrecoverable; causes include fire, sinking, windstorm damage, and mysterious disappearance. For example, until the 1980s the Titanic, which sank off Newfoundland in 1912, was deemed to be unrecoverable and the Commercial Union Insurance Company had paid its owners for their loss due to sinking. Owners of ships that mysteriously disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle have been able to collect insurance proceeds. Disappearance of pleasure craft due to drug pirates has resulted in indemnification of owners through insurance proceeds.
  2. Constructive total lossproperty so badly damaged that the cost of its rehabilitation would be more than its restored value. For example, a ship and/or its cargo is damaged to such a degree that the cost of repair would exceed its restored value. The insured can abandon the property if (a) repair costs are greater than 50% of the value of the property after it has been repaired and (b) the insurance company agrees to the insured's intent to abandon.

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