Is Exclusion of UM and UIM Coverage for Vehicle Owned by or Furnished or Available for Use of Insurer or a Family Member Valid ?
In Green v. Westfield Natl. Ins. Co., Medina App. No. 06CA25-M, 2006 Ohio 5057, appeal not allowed, 112 Ohio St. 3d 1491, 2007 Ohio 724, 862 N.E.2d 118, the court upheld the validity of an exclusion similar to the one at issue in the case sub judice.
In Green, the policy precluded UM/UIM coverage for any vehicle "owned by or furnished or available for the regular use of you or a family member."
The court determined that R.C. 3937.18(I) plainly supported the insurer's policy provision that precluded UM/UIM coverage for vehicles "owned by or furnished or available for the regular use of you or a family member."
The court stated that the Ohio General Assembly's choice of words in the statute, i.e., "including but not limited to," "necessarily means that an insurer is allowed to include terms and conditions which preclude UM/UIM coverage for circumstances other than those listed in the statute, provided they are specified within the policy." Id. at P16.
The Green court additionally rejected the appellant's argument that because UM/UIM coverage may be precluded if a vehicle is not specifically identified, then UM/UIM coverage may not be precluded if a vehicle is specifically identified in the policy.
The court noted that the appellant failed to cite any case law or statutory authority to support this proposition. the court also found unavailing the appellant's argument "that the legislature intended 'to declare that if a vehicle is specifically identified in the automobile policy and the insured pays a premium for the coverage, the insurance company can not avoid its contractual obligations by precluding coverage elsewhere.'' Id. at P18.
The court observed that the appellant's argument essentially requested the court 'to interpret R.C. 3937.18 to impose mandatory UM/UIM coverage if a vehicle is identified in the automobile policy." Id.
The court determined that the appellant's interpretation was "in direct conflict with the legislative intent clearly evidenced by Senate Bill 97." Id.