Insurance Policy Construed As a Whole In Washington

In Washington, insurance polices are construed as contracts. An insurance policy is construed as a whole, with the policy being given a 'fair, reasonable, and sensible construction as would be given to the contract by the average person purchasing insurance.' If the language is clear and unambiguous, the court must enforce it as written and may not modify it or create ambiguity where none exists. If the clause is ambiguous, however, extrinsic evidence of intent of the parties may be relied upon to resolve the ambiguity. Any ambiguities remaining after examining applicable extrinsic evidence are resolved against the drafter-insurer and in favor of the insured. A clause is ambiguous when, on its face, it is fairly susceptible to two different interpretations, both of which are reasonable."