This summary does not constitute a legal opinion. The information it contains may not reflect the current state of the law.
Contract of Adhesion or Mutual Agreement?
Insurance contracts have their own rules, which are stipulated at articles 2389 to 2628 of the Civil Code of Quebec (CCQ). Nonetheless, these agreements must obey general principles of contractual obligations also defined by the CCQ. It is important to identify the nature of such agreements as this will determine if a clause mentioned in a policy or an external document can be applied.
Among the various types of contracts recognized by the CCQ, two pertain to our discussion: contracts of adhesion and those by mutual agreement. A contract of adhesion is one in which the essential stipulations are imposed or drawn up by one of the parties and where negotiations are not possible (1379 CCQ). The contract by mutual agreement is the opposite of the adhesion contract because such stipulations are part of the negotiation process. Most people tend to qualify an insurance contract as one of adhesion.
The Court of Appeal has on several occasions reminded us that an insurance contract is not automatically a contract of adhesion.