Sortilège: [narrating] Inherent vice in a maritime insurance policy is anything that you can't avoid. Eggs break, chocolate melts, glass shatters, and Doc wondered what that meant when it applied to ex-old ladies.
Inherent vice, also known as inherent fault, is the tendency in an object or material to deteriorate or self-destruct because of its intrinsic "internal characteristics," including weak construction, "poor quality or unstable materials," and "incompatibility of different materials" within an object. This weakness or defect may lead to natural deterioration or make an object more susceptible to external agents of deterioration. A material may naturally break down chemically over time, organic materials may be susceptible to pests and mold, and different materials within an object may have "dissimilar rates of expansion and contraction" that can lead to damage.
All objects and materials deteriorate over time, and so all objects and materials suffer from some form of inherent vice. The National Parks Service Museum Handbook (1999) lists three kinds of inherent vice: short-lived materials, structural nature, and history.
There's a common idea that museum artworks are somehow timeless objects available to admire for generations to come. But many are objects of decay. Even the most venerable Old Master paintings don't escape: pigments discolour, varnishes crack, canvases warp. This challenging fact of art-world life is down to something that sounds more like a thread from a morality tale: inherent vice.
An inherent vice exclusion is an exclusion found primarily, though not exclusively, in marine insurance policies that exclude coverage for damage to property that is caused by some feature or aspect of the property itself.
Examples of circumstances under which an inherent vice exclusion would apply include: books that deteriorated due to acid in the paper as a result of the manufacturing process; film that deteriorates over time due to instability of the chemicals contained in it; food that deteriorated due to storage at improper temperatures; spontaneous fermentation or combustion of improperly dried grain.
That Mickey, known to be a generous Reagan contributor, might be active in some anti-Communist crusade came as no big surprise. But how deeply was Shasta involved? Who had arranged for her passage out of the country aboard the Golden Fang? Was it Mickey? Was it somebody else paying her off for her services in putting the snatch on Mickey? What could she have gotten into so heavy-duty that the only way out was to help set up the man she was supposed to be in love with? Bummer, man. Bumm. Er.
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