Duplicate protection provided when two companies deal with the same individual and undertake to indemnify that person against the same losses.
When an individual has double insurance, he or she has coverage by two different insurance companies upon the identical interest in the identical subject matter. If a Husband and Wife have duplicate medical insurance coverage protecting one another, they would thereby have double insurance. An individual can rarely collect on double insurance, however, since this would ordinarily constitute a form of Unjust Enrichment, and a majority of insurance contracts contain provisions that prohibit this.
DOUBLE INSURANCE, contracts. Where the insured makes, two insurances on the same risk, and the same interest. 12 Mass. 214. It differs from re-insurance in this, that it is made by the insured, with a view of receiving a double satisfaction in case of loss; whereas a re-insurance is made by a former insurer, his executors or assigns, to protect himself and his estate from a risk to which they were liable by the first insurance. The two policies are considered as making but one insurance. They are good to the extent of the value of the effects put in risk; but the insured shall not be permitted to recover a double satisfaction. He can sue the underwriters on both the policies, but he can only recover the real amount of his loss, to which all the underwriters on both shall contribute in proportion to their several subscriptions. Marsh. Ins. B. 1, c. 4, s. 4; 5 S. & R. 473; 4 Dall. 348; 1 Yeates, 161; 9 S. & R. 103; 1 Wash . C. C. Rep. 419; 2 Wash. C. C. Rep. 186; 2 Mason, 476.