Court Rules Illinois Teen Eligible for UIM Coverage Under Father’s Business Auto Policy

By Denise Johnson | October 30, 2012

A teen injured in a car wreck is entitled to underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) under her father’s business auto policy even though the vehicle she was riding in was not a listed vehicle on the policy, according to a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division.

Nicole Haight was injured while a passenger in a car driven by Brian Day that was involved in a single-car accident. She was ejected from the vehicle and suffered multiple pelvic fractures, a fractured lower vertebra, minor head injuries and contusions. She spent two months on bed rest and time in a wheelchair.

As a result of the accident, she claimed continued pelvic and low back pain, a reduced ability to walk and sit for extended periods and possible complications during pregnancy.

Her medical bills exceeded the $50,000 in bodily injury coverage that Day had through his carrier, Country Insurance. As a result, Haight made a claim seeking UIM coverage under her father’s business auto policy issued by Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co.

The business auto policy included UIM coverage for the named insured, her father, and any family members. Grinnell denied Haight’s claim because she was not riding in a “covered auto” at the time of the accident.

Grinnell contended that the injured teen must occupy a “covered auto” in order to receive UIM coverage.

The appeals court disagreed, concluding that the policy does not require occupation of a covered auto in order for the teen to be entitled to coverage.

The court found that the policy did provide underinsured motorist coverage to the named insured and his family members regardless of whether the named insured or his family members were occupying a vehicle listed on the policy during the accident.

Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co. v. Nicole A. Haight, No. 10 CV 50042

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