Women-Owned Business


August 09th, 2016/By Admin/In Newsletter

No Coverage For Family Member’s “Regular” Use Of Non-Owned Vehicle

In Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Awela, 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 1124, the Third Appellate District of California recently determined that a family member’s “regular” use of a non-owned vehicle was excluded under the policy provisions.

In this case, 17 year old driver Simone got into a motor vehicle accident which caused injuries to others.  At the time of the accident, she was driving a GMC pickup truck owned by and registered to her father, but he had excluded her from his policy to save money, even though Simone was the only person who ever drove the GMC.

Simone’s parents had divorced several years prior to the accident and she split her time between the two households located just 10 minutes apart.  Simone’s mother had insurance through plaintiff Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (“Nationwide”) for her own and her current husband’s vehicles, but not the GMC.  The Nationwide policy provided coverage for a household member’s use of a “non-owned” vehicle, but not if the vehicle was furnished or available for the household member’s regular use.

Prior to the accident, Simone had driven the GMC for over a year.  Her father had bought the car shortly before Simone’s 16th birthday after asking her what kind of vehicle she wanted.  After getting her driver’s license, Simone drove the GMC almost every day and anticipated it would later be hers.

As a result of the accident, the injured parties filed a lawsuit against several parties, including Simone, her father, and her mother.  The lawsuit subsequently settled, with an agreement that the court would determine whether insurance coverage existed for Simone under her mother’s policy with Nationwide.  Nationwide filed this declaratory relief action to obtain a court ruling on the issue of coverage.

The Trial court found that because the GMC was available for Simone’s regular (and indeed her exclusive use), no coverage existed. The decision was then affirmed on appeal.

[This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Do not act or rely upon any of the resources and information contained herein without seeking appropriate professional assistance.]

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