In the sixth blog post in a seven-part series, our Birmingham car accident attorneys explain who is insured under certain auto insurance policies.
Courts in Alabama have recently issued several judgments surrounding the issue of when a claimant is an insured under a specific policy. For example, a person is not insured when they let their policy lapse for nonpayment, even when the policy is later reinstated, if the claim is made during the lapsed period. In Jackson v. State Farm, the Court ruled against holding the insurer liable in the case of lapsed-then-reinstated payments because there was no evidence that the insurer accepted payments with knowledge of the accident.
The terms of the policy play a decisive role in who is considered insured. In State Farm v. Brown, the insurance policy allowed for a claim by a relative of the insured, stating that a “[r]elative means a person related to you or your spouse by blood, marriage, or adoption who lives primarily with you. It includes your unmarried and unemancipated child away at school.” The court dismissed the claim of a minor with divorced parents with joint custody against her father’s insurer. Although the parents had joint custody, the child lived primarily with her mother at the time of the accident. This living arrangement was held to directly contradict the language in the policy, which was unambiguous.