The case of Custer v. Custer, case no. 15 HA 5, decided February 9, 2016 by the 7th District Court of Appeals of Ohio, involved the Allstate Insurance Company. In the underlying accident, Mr. Custer was operating his vehicle with his wife as a passenger when he lost control of the vehicle and ran into a tree. His wife suffered severe injuries as a result of the accident. At the time of the accident, the Custers were insured through a policy written by Allstate Insurance Company. The policy contained both liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. Mrs. Custer filed a claim against her husband for the injuries sustained and Allstate Insurance Company denied coverage.
Allstate’s denial of liability coverage was based upon what’s called an intra-family exclusion contained in the policy. The intra-family exclusion states in pertinent part that Allstate will not pay for any damages to an insured person “Mr. Custer” because of bodily injury to any person related to the insured person by blood. Of course there’s no dispute in this case that Mr. Custer was an insured person under the policy, and liability coverage did not apply to bodily injuries sustained to his wife because she is obviously related to Mr. Custer by marriage.
Because no liability coverage applied, Mrs. Custer presented a claim for uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage seemingly would apply because there is no liability coverage that Allstate is affording under the policy due to the family exclusion. However, uninsured motorist coverage was also denied by definition because an uninsured auto does not include a motor vehicle which is insured under the automobile liability insurance policy.
Quite the catch 22. When people buy insurance coverage, including liability coverage for at-fault accidents, and uninsured motorist coverage for injuries resulting from an uninsured motorist, they expect to be covered. What most people do not understand is that uninsured motorist coverage is purchased to protect the policy holders in the event of an accident caused by a motorist with no insurance.
Allstate Insurance Company pays millions of dollars annually to college sports programs. Ever watched a football game when an extra point or field goal is being kicked and the net behind the goal post is raised with the Allstate logo of the good hands people. Lay people do not understand that when they purchase a policy with full coverage including both liability and uninsured motorist coverage, that this loophole exists and Allstate does not pay claims for which their insureds have paid premiums.Speak with your agent to see whether or not you are covered. Many insurance companies, including Nationwide Insurance Company, do not preclude coverage under this precise fact situation. Nationwide protects its policy holders through the coverage they write, and Allstate declines coverage to their insureds, rendering no benefit whatsoever based upon the boiler plate language buried deep within their policies. Be a wise shopper when you purchase insurance coverage, because this information will not be disclosed to you voluntarily by the agent selling you the policy.