Is Public Policy of R.C.3937.18 Designed to Protect Persons Injured In Motor Vehicle Accidents and Not Vehicles ?
In Ady v. West American Ins. Co. (1982), 69 Ohio St. 2d 593, Ady was injured when an uninsured motorist struck a motorcycle he owned and was riding and for which he had uninsured motorist coverage.
He attempted to collect an additional amount under the uninsured motorist provision of his father's policy with West American.
Ady was "an insured" by virtue of extended coverage under West American's policy but he was not covered as a designated insured within the policy.
The policy provided, inter alia:
This insurance does not apply: to bodily injury to the insured while occupying a highway vehicle (other than an insured highway vehicle) owned by the named insured, any designated insured or any relative resident in the same household as the named or designated insured.
The court reiterated that it had consistently determined that the public policy of R.C. 3937.18 was to protect persons injured in motor vehicle accidents from losses because of the tort-feasor's lack of liability insurance coverage.
It noted that on several occasions the court had "specifically stated that the statute is designed to protect persons, not vehicles." Id., 596.
"Therefore, any restriction on full coverage should emanate from the General Assembly; otherwise a contractual limitation in the insurance policy should comply with the statutory purpose." Id., 596-597.
To that end, any rejection or exclusion of coverage should be conspicuous, clearly written and easily understood.