The Virginia Supreme Court docket has dominated that an all-terrain car (ATV) just isn’t a “farm kind car” coated by a home-owner’s insurance coverage coverage, reversing a decrease courtroom that dominated in favor of protection.
The decrease courtroom dominated for the injured social gathering as a result of it had discovered the language within the home-owner’s coverage ambiguous. The Supreme Court docket disagreed, ruling that an exception to a coverage exclusion for a farm kind car doesn’t apply to the ATV.
In December 2019, Diamond Jones was using as a passenger on the again of an ATV. The daughter of Jennifer and Richard Rekowski was driving the car. Whereas Jones was using, a tree department struck and injured her. The accident didn’t happen on the Rekowskis’ property.
Jones filed a negligence motion for her accidents in opposition to the Rekowskis and their daughter. Erie contended that the coverage didn’t cowl the accident.
The Rekowskis have been insured by a home-owner’s coverage issued by Erie Insurance coverage Change. The exclusions part of the coverage broadly supplies that the coverage doesn’t cowl “[b]odily harm, property injury or private harm arising out of the possession, upkeep or use of . . . any land motorcar.”
Autos, nevertheless, are not excluded if:
1) they’re used solely at an insured location and never topic to motorcar registration; 2) they’re stored in lifeless storage at an insured location; 3) they’re a leisure land motorcar not designed to be used on public roads whereas at an insured location; 4) they’re a golf cart, wherever used or positioned; 5) they’re a garden or farm kind car or snowblower, wherever used or positioned, if not topic to motorcar registration; 6) they’re designed to help the handicapped[.]
The coverage doesn’t outline “garden or farm kind car.” If the car in query is a “leisure land motorcar,” the coverage wouldn’t cowl the accident as a result of it didn’t happen “at an insured location.” If the car is a “garden or farm kind car,” then the coverage would cowl the accident.
The state Supreme Court docket stated that “indisputably” a mix or a tractor is a “farm kind” car, as it’s designed and used primarily for farming. A mix or a tractor can be utilized for different functions, similar to a hayride or a tractor pull, and a mix may be used as a prop in a film, however what identifies a mix or a tractor as a “class or type” is that they’re designed to be primarily used on a farm.
The courtroom continued that whereas the ATV on this case can probably be used for both recreation or to be used on a farm, there is no such thing as a proof that this ATV was designed for main use as a farm car like a mix or a tractor and thus it’s not a “farm kind” car.
“To learn ‘farm kind car’ as encompassing any car that might probably be used on a farm would create an exception so broad it will render the bounds on protection meaningless. A pickup truck, sport utility car, or perhaps a motorbike can be utilized on a farm. Nevertheless, pickup vans, sport utility automobiles, and bikes, regardless of their potential to be used on a farm, are usually not ‘farm kind; automobiles,” the opinion states.
The courtroom concluded that as a matter of legislation, the language “garden or farm kind car or snowblower” doesn’t embody a multi-use car like an ATV. Thus, the coverage exception for a farm kind car doesn’t apply, whereas the exclusion for “land motorcar[s]” does apply as a result of the incident didn’t happen at an insured location.
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