Blog Question – Fixtures and Fittings

The following was a question received 18th January 2016.

“A typical business contents policy includes cover for fixtures and fittings, where the insured is a tenant:

a) landlords fixtures and fittings when the tenant is liable under a lease agreement; and b)tenant’s fixtures and fittings installed for his use.

However most policies do not define what is meant by fixtures and fittings.  What do you believe fixtures and fittings means in the context of the policy? For example,would fixtures include buildings?

Regards

Brett [Surname and email provided]”

 

I replied with the following:

Thank you for your question Brett.

As the policy does not define what fixtures or fittings mean then their ordinary everyday meaning is what is used. Fixtures are described in the Macquarie Dictionary [3rd edition] as:

“something securely fixed in position; a permanently attached part or appendage of a house, etc.”

Fittings on the other hand are defined as:

“anything provided as equipment, parts, accessories etc.”

Based on this definition I do not believe that buildings themselves would fall under the definition but rather it is items that are fixed or attached to the building. This would include plant machinery such as air conditioners, cupboards, shelves, alarm systems, light fittings, curtains, blinds and the like.

I trust this explains the situation.

 

Regards

Allan

2 responses to “Blog Question – Fixtures and Fittings”

  1. Allan says:

    “Dear Professor Manning,

    Thank you for your very quick response. I should have expanded a bit on my query. Fixture seems to be a legal term with lots of case law determining that a building is also a fixture. So my real question is – in the context of the insurance policy does the common everyday meaning have precedence over the legal meaning or vice versa. This is what is causing my confusion.

    Brett “

  2. Allan says:

    I have never see the building structure itself be regarded as a fixture or fitting. The term ‘building’ is a well used and accepted insurance industry term differentiating this type of property from fixtures and fittings and so I would expect great push back, with some justification in my view, to try and include the building itself as a fixture.

    The last thing we want is buildings to be included in the test for co-insurance on any claim where fixtures and fittings are insured.

    I therefore do not believe the bare building structure falls within the definition in normal industry practice and that the everyday meaning would be used.

    If you have any legal cases involving the insurance industry I would be pleased to review them.

    Regards

    Allan

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