Protective Promise: Understanding Indemnity

Indemnity play a vital role in any lawyer’s contract toolkit, often sparking intense argument during negotiations. The legal framework for indemnities is intricate and not fully resolved. Knowing key principles and where issues may arise can better prepare you to identify and lessen contractual risks from the start.

Key Takeaways

  • Indemnities are contractual mechanisms for allocating risk between parties.
  • Indemnity insurance can protect the insured from financial losses related to certain events.
  • Indemnities offer advantages over traditional breach of contract claims, such as avoiding the need to prove causation and mitigation.
  • Drafting the trigger event and addressing the lack of fixed rules are key challenges with indemnities.
  • The causal connection required for an indemnity claim depends on the specific wording of the indemnity clause.

What is Indemnity?

Indemnity is a tool used to divide risks in a contract. It’s a promise made by one party to pay money if certain events happen. Indemnities keep one party safe from losing money due to the other party’s actions or mistakes.

Definition of Indemnity

An indemnity means one party must repay the other for any harm or loss they face. This setup is common in many contracts, like insurance deals and business agreements. It ensures that one side won’t have to carry all the financial weight if things go sour.

Indemnity as a Contractual Risk Allocation Mechanism

Indemnities work like warranties do in business deals or guarantees do in loans. By adding an indemnity clause, parties promise to cover each other’s back. This agreement safeguards one side from heavy financial blows, no matter what causes them.

Advantages of Indemnities


An indemnity is a key promise. It stands alone, not needing proof that a contract was broken. This is better than claiming damages for a contract breach in many ways.

Primary Obligation Without Proving Breach

With an indemnity, the indemnified party doesn’t have to prove fault. The indemnitor must pay up if a certain event happens, regardless if they caused it. This makes things simpler, especially when it’s hard to pin down what the indemnitor should do.

Avoiding Rules on Causation and Mitigation

In usual contract breaches, the insured party has to show how the breach led to losses. Plus, they must prove they tried to lessen those losses. Yet, with an indemnity, these tough rules can be skipped. This lets the indemnified party claim a wider range of damages.

Fuller Recovery of Losses and Costs

Having an indemnity often means getting back more money and covering more costs. This includes legal fees, court costs, and other needs that might not be gotten back in a contract breach case. Such broad protection is very handy for tricky and heated legal matters.

Challenges with Indemnities


While indemnities have great benefits, writing them comes with some issues. One challenge is to clearly set the trigger event for when the indemnity kicks in. It must be easy to understand and fit the unique needs of the contract. If this part is vague, it can cause arguments. People might disagree on what the indemnity should cover.

Drafting the Trigger Event

It’s very important to get the trigger event right. This part decides when the indemnity will be used. The wording should cover all possible situations that could lead to a claim. Things to think about include the loss or damage, the wrong actions of the parties, and if there was a breach of contract.

Lack of Fixed Rules and Case Law

Compared to guarantees, there aren’t many clear laws on indemnities. Since there’s no strong tradition in the “law of indemnities,” how these rules are understood can change a lot. This makes knowing how a court would see an indemnity claim tricky.

So, making a good indemnity clause means knowing a lot about indemnity insurance and liability insurance. Paying close attention to each part and being ready for different situations is key. This way, the indemnity arrangement truly looks out for the indemnified party‘s welfare.

Causation and Indemnities

Causation and Indemnities

If you want to recover damages in a breach of contract case, there’s a key rule to follow. The loss must be from the breach directly. Yet, an unexpected new event can make this link disappear.

Connecting Links and Causal Connection

The way a causal connection is set out in an indemnity is key. It depends on how the indemnity is written and understood. If an indemnity deals with fulfilling obligations, we can make its range broader or narrower. The exact link needed is up to us, based on what’s written in the indemnity clause.

Remoteness of Loss

Finding out if a certain loss can be covered by an indemnity depends on the wording. The courts use a similar test for damages claims. Basically, the loss can’t be too remote or unexpected. But, you can change what’s covered with your wording. For instance, using “any and all losses” brings a broader coverage.

Indemnity Clause Wording Impact on Causation and Remoteness
Broad: “any and all losses” Expands what you can recover, possibly including more distant effects
Narrow: Specifies particular types of loss Reduces what you can claim, potentially leaving out more distant effects
Inclusion of “directly or indirectly” Makes the link broader, possibly allowing recovery of losses further off
Exclusion of “directly or indirectly” Makes the link stricter, maybe limiting what you can get back to the very direct effects

Writing the indemnity clause well is very important. It’s the key to making sure the indemnified party gets all the losses and damages covered in a claim.


The need for a specific cause in an depends on how it’s written and what it means. If it’s about one party’s duties, we can make the link tighter or looser. This link’s strength is up to us and comes from the words in the we choose.

Importing Remoteness Test

An idea is to use the same test we use for distant damages in contract breaches. This means the losses can’t be too far from the event that caused them. It makes the indemnity clearer and more in line with common and rules. Yet, we must make it clear we’re using this test. Otherwise, the indemnity might seem more general than it is.

Avoiding “Directly or Indirectly” Wording

Avoiding “directly or indirectly” in an indemnity is also smart. These vague words can make things unclear and cause arguments. Instead, we should clearly list what events and losses the indemnity covers. This gives everyone a clear idea and helps with around .

Also Read : Otto Insurance: Protect Your Future


Q: What is indemnity insurance?

A: Indemnity insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects an individual or organization from financial losses resulting from claims made by another party.

Q: How does indemnity insurance work?

A: Indemnity insurance works by the insurance company providing coverage for specified risks outlined in the insurance policy, such as legal costs or damages due to negligence.

Q: What is professional indemnity insurance?

A: Professional indemnity insurance is a type of insurance that protects professionals from claims of negligence or inadequate work brought by clients.

Q: What is the purpose of an indemnity clause?

A: An indemnity clause is a contractual agreement where one party agrees to compensate the other party for specific losses or damages.

Q: What does liability insurance cover?

A: Liability insurance covers costs associated with legal defense, settlements, or judgments in the event that a person or company is held liable for injury or damages to another party.

Q: What is the difference between indemnification and insurance?

A: Indemnification is the process of compensating for a loss or damage, while insurance is a financial product that provides protection against specified risks in exchange for premium payments.

Q: How does hospital indemnity insurance work?

A: Hospital indemnity insurance provides a fixed daily, weekly, or monthly benefit if the insured is hospitalized due to sickness or injury, helping cover out-of-pocket medical expenses.

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