Court Finds Discrepancies in Allstate Policy Resulting in Relative Being Covered
Allstate must pay $25,000 in uninsured motorist benefits to the estranged husband of a woman who died while riding as a passenger in a car crash after moving back in with her parents, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
Shelina Glover was covered under parents’ policy as a “resident relative.” Glover’s parents did not add her to the policy as an additional “operator” so Allstate argued no coverage was owed, but the court rejected Allstate’s arguments. The court said Allstate did not define the term in its policy and Allstate’s lawyers did not offer a definition in their pleadings. “Given the policy’s silence and the term’s plain meaning, we interpret ‘operator’ to be a person who is or will be operating one of the vehicles covered under the policy,” the court said.
Glover was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Terry Robinson on July 22, 2016, when a car driven by Matthew Hahn in the opposite direction collided head on, killing Glover. Glover’s husband sued Allstate seeking coverage under her parent’s insurance policy, arguing that as a “resident relative” she was insured by the policy. Allstate sought summary judgment arguing that the policy requires its policy limit be reduced by any amounts recovered through other liability settlements. The carrier also sought summary judgment on its argument that Shelina Grover was not an insured by her parents’ policy because they had not notified Allstate that she was an additional operator living at their residence.
The court found that Shelina was clearly a resident at her parent’s house, and therefore insured by her parents’ policy. The court said Shelina had packed up all of her belongings when she left her husband’s home and notified the United States Postal Service of the address change.
The Allstate policy did not require notification because Shelina had her own car and had no plan to use her parents’ vehicles, the court said.