Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pennsylvania Superior Court Addresses Residency Issue in "Non-Precedential" Decision

In its recent October 17, 2013 "non-precedential" decision in the case of Atlantic States. Insurance v. Bubeck, No. 1949 MDA 2012 (Pa. Super. Oct. 17, 2013 Ford Elliot, Plat, Panella, J.J.) (Opinion by Ford Elliot, EPJ), the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the UIM carrier’s decision to deny coverage to the Claimant under his parent’s UIM policy based upon the residency issue.  

Although the 24 year old Claimant, ate meals, played video games, and kept clothing at his parents’ house, the record revealed that the Claimant allegedly lived with his girlfriend for more than six (6) months leading up to the accident.  As such, the Superior Court ruled that the carrier was correct in denying coverage under the family’s auto insurance policy.  

The court more specifically noted that the Claimant could not be considered a “resident” of the household under the subject policy when he slept every night somewhere else. As the term “resident” was not defined in the policy, the Superior Court examined the common-law definition and found that the term “resident” or “residency” requires some permanency or habitual repetition at a minimum and that the intent of the party is not irrelevant factor in the test.  

In so ruling, the Atlantic States Insurance Company court relied in part on the case of Amica Mutual Insurance v. Donegal Mutual Insurance, 545 A.2d 343 (Pa. Super. 1988).  

The Atlantic States court stated that the record confirmed that the family who owned a UIM policy did not consider the Claimant to be a household resident.   The court stated that, “forcing [the insurance company] to provide coverage would represent a windfall for [the Claimant], where his parents did not list him as a household resident on their application and presumably paid lower premiums as a result.” 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

 
Source:  Article:  “UIM Coverage Blocked For Son Who Lived Outside Parents’ Home By Max Mitchell of The Legal Intelligencer (October 29, 2013).


 

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