Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Drivers In Insurance Coverage Dispute

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For a brief time from approximately 2009 to 2010, the Wisconsin statute governing automobile insurance policies contained two arguably inconsistent provisions. First, the 2009-2010 version of the statute contained a provision that permitted “drive-other-car” exclusions, which prohibit an insured from using coverage from one vehicle when the insured is an accident involving a different vehicle that the insured owns but has not insured. Second, the 2009-2010 version of the statute contained a provision that prohibited anti-stacking clauses, meaning that an insured could obtain coverage under multiple insurance policies.

In 2010, Ronald Belding, Jr. sustained injuries in an accident involving a pick-up truck he insured with State Farm. Following the accident, State Farm paid Mr. Belding the limits of the uninsured motorist coverage in the pick-up truck policy. Mr. Belding, however, also insured a mini-van with State Farm, and sought the uninsured motorist coverage under that policy. State Farm refused coverage, relying upon the “drive-other-car” exclusion. Mr. Belding then sued State Farm, claiming that the anti-stacking provision meant that he was entitled to coverage under both the pick-up truck and minivan policies. Initially, the trial court agreed with State Farm. The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin reversed the trial court decision, and now the Supreme Court of Wisconsin has affirmed the Court of Appeals, meaning that, for automobile accidents that occurred during that 2009-2010 time period, insureds like Mr. Belding can use all the uninsured motorist coverage they have purchased, regardless of what insured vehicle was involved in the accident.      

 

Topics:  Auto Insurance, Uninsured and Under-Insured Motorists

Published In: Insurance Updates, Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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