Policies like any contract are not rendered uncertain because the parties disagree on their meaning.

The court in Expectio Properties (Pty) Ltd v Mutual & Federal Insurance Company Limited was called upon to decide whether a dispute relating to the interpretation of an insurance contract between Mutual & Federal and the liquidators of Expectio Properties indicated ambiguity within the policy. The dispute concerned the meaning of the insuring clause read with the reinstatement value conditions regarding indemnification of the insured by money or reinstatement.

On the question whether our courts should decide upon a dispute relating to the interpretation of an agreement at an early stage of the proceedings, the court said this will depend on whether the meaning of the agreement is certain or not.

Courts as a rule are reluctant to decide on questions regarding the interpretation of a contract when a summons is challenged. But this is only where its meaning is uncertain.

Difficulty in interpreting a document does not necessarily imply that it is ambiguous.

When interpreting an insurance policy, the clauses of the contract cannot be construed in isolation but must be interpreted in light of the full context of the relevant contractual claims.