All Risks

What is 'All Risks'

All risks is a type of insurance coverage that automatically covers any risk that the contract does not explicitly omit. For example, if an all-risks homeowner's policy does not expressly exclude flood coverage, then the house will be covered in the event of flood damage.

This type of policy is found only in the property-casualty market.

All risks is also called Open Perils, All Perils, or Comprehensive Insurance.

BREAKING DOWN 'All Risks'

Insurance providers generally offer two types of property coverage for homeowners and businesses – Named Perils and All Risks. A named perils insurance contract is a limited policy that covers only the perils specifically stipulated in the policy. For example, an insurance contract might specify that any home loss caused by fire or vandalism will be covered. therefore, an insured who experiences a loss or damage caused by a flood cannot file a claim to his or her insurance provider as a flood is not named as a peril under the insurance coverage. Under a named perils policy, the burden of proof that one of the named perils caused the loss is on the insured.

An all risks insurance contract covers the insured from all perils, except the ones that are specifically excluded from the list. Contrary to a named perils contract, an all-risks policy does not name the risks covered, but instead, names the risks that will not be covered. In so doing, any peril not named in the policy is automatically covered. The most common types of perils excluded from all risks include: earthquake, war, government seizure or destruction, wear and tear, infestation, pollution, nuclear hazard, market loss, etc. An individual or business who requires coverage for any of the excluded events under all risks may have the option to pay an additional premium, known as a rider or floater, to have the peril included in the contract.

Burden of Proof

The trigger for coverage under an all risks policy is physical loss or damage to property. An insured has to prove physical damage or loss has occurred first before the burden of proof shifts to the insurer who then has to prove that an exclusion applies to the coverage. For example, a small business that experienced a power outage may file a claim citing physical loss. The insurance company, on the other hand, might reject the claim stating that the company experienced a loss of income from a mere loss of property use which is not the same thing as a physical loss to property.

Because all risks is the most comprehensive type of coverage available and protects the insured from a greater number of possible loss events, it is priced proportionately higher than other types of policies. The cost of this type of insurance should, therefore, be measured against the probability of a claim.

It is possible to have named perils and all risks in the same policy. For example, an insured may have a property insurance policy that has an all risks coverage on the building and named perils on his personal property in the building. Entities seeking property coverage should endeavor to read the fine print of any insurance agreement to ensure that they understand what is excluded in the policy. Also, just because this insurance policy is termed “all risks” does not mean that it covers all risks since the exclusions reduce the level of coverage that is offered.