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Uninsured coverage doesn't include property damage in hit-and-run accident

June 11, 2014

The Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday affirmed summary judgment for an insurance company that its motor vehicle policy issued to a family does not provide uninsured motorists coverage in a hit-and-run accident.

No one was injured in the accident involving Bryan Robinson and an unidentified driver, but Robinson’s car was totaled. It was covered under a policy with Erie Insurance Exchange. Robinson and his mother Shannon filed a claim, but Erie denied coverage. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the insurer, but the Court of Appeals reversed.

In Shannon Robinson and Bryan Robinson v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 49S02-1311-PL-733, Shannon and Bryan Robinson argued that Gillespie v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 850 N.E.2d 913 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), mandates that the Erie policy provide coverage for property damage sustained by their vehicle in the hit-and-run accident.

But the Supreme Court noted the differences in policy language between the Geico policy and the Erie policy at issue.  

“In the context of a hit-and-run driver causing an accident, the availability of uninsured motorists coverage (which depends on whether the other vehicle fits one of the three Erie policy meanings for ‘uninsured motor vehicle’) is solely determined by the third meaning, which expressly includes a ‘hit-and-run motor vehicle’ whose driver and owner are unknown, but only if the other vehicle causes bodily injury to the insured,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote. “These provisions are not ambiguous and do not require the application of rules of construction. Because personal injury did not result to Bryan Robinson in the accident, the Erie policy does not provide uninsured motorist coverage with respect to the property damage sustained by the Robinsons’ vehicle. The trial court was correct to grant Erie’s motion for summary judgment.”

 

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