Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who Is Actually Insured Under An Auto Insurance Policy?

Resident drivers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often wonder who is actually covered under their car insurance policy. The Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Law (MVFRL) holds that a person is insured under a given car insurance policy under the following circumstances:

1. The person is identified by name as an insured on the car insurance policy;

2. If the insured listed on a PA auto policy is a partnership, then the people making up the partnership are all insured. Continental Casualty v. PRO Machine, Pa. Super., 916 A.2d 1111 (2007).

3. A spouse or other relative is an insured in PA but only if they live in the home with the named insured;

    a. Common law spouses are not recognized as spouse/relatives and are thus not insured

    b. Also, unless the policy states otherwise, part-time residents (college students, etc.) may be insured as well. Toplin v. Pennland Ins. Co., Phila. CCP (1997).

    c. A spouse does not qualify as an "insured" under other spouse’s employer’s commercial auto policy      where the husband is not identified as a named insured under the policy. Hunyady v. Aetna, Pa. Super., 578 A.2d 1312 (1990)

    d. A child of separated parents is not necessarily a resident of both households. Instead, a determination must be made whether the child is a resident of a given household. Erie v. Weryha, Pa. Super., 931 A.2d 739 (2007).

4. A minor in the custody of the named insured or a relative of the named insured if the minor is a resident in the household of the named insured and thus an insured themselves. A court order proving custody is not necessary to establish this.

It is important to know whether you are insured under a particular auto policy in Pennsylvania and which people are insured under your policy. These four rules are good rules of thumb for knowing how far a given policy of Pennsylvania auto insurance extends.

To learn more about auto insurance in Pennsylvania, please read my previous post Car Insurance Coverage in Pittsburgh. Share this post :
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