Insurance Co. v. Garland, 108 Ill. 220, and it is the rule of the early case of Insurance Co. v. Wetmore, supra, applied to an entirely different policy. * * *
It is unnecessary to further analyze or comment upon the decisions holding that the violation of the plain terms of the contract as to vacancy creates only a suspension of liability. Such a construction would seem to be a perversion of the clear and explicit terms of the contract, a creation rather than an interpretation.
In our opinion no better statement can be made of their lack of convincing power than that by Ostrander on Insurance (2d Ed.) § 145, viz.: "Regarding the purpose of this provision to be the protection of the insurer from such changes in the circumstances of the risk as would increase the hazard of fire, the courts have some-times held that although the building becomes vacant and unoccupied during the term of the policy, if it was actually occupied when the fire occurred, the insurer would be held. These decisions appear to be based on the principle, which is not exactly cardinal in the law, that `substantial justice' need be secured at all hazards. It must be admitted that if no harm comes to the risk during the period of its abandonment, and if it is in the care of an occupant at the time of the loss, no important interest of the insurer is prejudiced on account of the temporary vacancy, and in such case there is an apparent hardship to the honest claimant, if the insurer is excused from paying the loss. But may the courts properly interfere to prevent the execution of a contract, which the parties were competent to make and did make in the exercise of their natural and constitutional rights? The policy plainly enough provides that on the happening of a certain event it shall be void. The event occurred, and the obligation of the insurance company then terminated. Unless the court has the power to create for the parties a different contract than the one they created for themselves, it can do nothing to relieve the situation; and, when the courts undertake to correct mistakes of persons by taking away their right to make contracts, the well-meant effort in the long run is likely to produce more evil than good."
[Many cases were here cited and discussed.]
These authorities in our opinion rest on the correct principle. It is not a question whether the insurer has been injured by the breach of the contract but whether the contract itself has in fact been broken. It either has or has not been. If not, the rights of the parties remain unchanged. If it has, then by its own terms the contract is rendered "void." And this word "void," being neither ambiguous nor technical, should be "construed according to the common meaning of the language." R. S. c. 1, § 6, par. 1. It means null, of no effect. The Legislature has seen fit to prescribe this as the form to be used. If a change if desirable or expedient, that change should come by way of Legislature amendment rather than