Here we go again. Another Ohio Supreme Court decision interpreting an auto insurance policy came out last week, and yet another victory for insurance companies. Here's the simple facts. A is a passenger in a car driven by B. Both A and B have their own uninsured and underinsured motorists' coverage. They are hit by C. B, one of the injured parties, claimed that he was insured under BOTH his policy and A's (the driver's) policy.
Here's how the law used to work: if you were a passenger in another vehicle, you were covered under BOTH the driver's insurance as well as your own insurance policy. This makes sense; most drivers would probably conclude that their insurance covers any non-family passengers in the driver's vehicle. Stated differently, no person has probably ever been told by his or her agent that their insurance doesn't cover any non-family passengers.
A fine print exclusion ended that fairness. Last week, The Ohio Supreme Court upheld an excusion in the policy such that you as a passenger are not covered under the driver's insurance if you have coverage under your own policy.
Why did the insurance industry write this exclusion? Because it could! Senate Bill 97, passed in 2001, allows insurance companies to basically write ANY EXCLUSION IT WANTS, as long as it's not vague or ambiguous. Bottom line: as long as the exclusion puts the screws to the policyholder in clear language, it's enforceable.
And remember, according to The Ohio Supreme Court, you as the policyholder "bargain" for this language when you buy insurance!!!!
Here's the lesson to take away from yet another decision that upholds insurance company technicalities: THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF IS TO PURCHASE AS MUCH UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED INSURANCE AS YOU CAN! If you want to read more about this, you can visit our website and order our free book: "HOW TO BUY CAR INSURANCE IN OHIO TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY." Or just call 330-452-8831 and we'll send you a copy.
(visit our website at www.n-wlaw.com