Massachusetts Appellate Court Issues Opinion About Motor Vehicle Exclusions in Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Following Car Accident

Insurance policies can be very confusing, and it can seem impossible to know whether your expenses after a car accident are covered. There are many different types of insurance policies, and each insurer can include a different array of terms, such as exclusions about what it will and will not cover in the event that an injury or damage happens. Although these policy terms may seem clear upfront, they can often be worded in tricky ways or include exceptions that are challenging to interpret. Our dedicated team of Boston car accident lawyers has handled many car accident cases. This includes negotiating with insurance companies to make sure that our clients are treated fairly. We can answer any questions about a car accident and whether your insurance company or another insurance company should provide you with coverage.

In a recent case, an appellate court was asked to decide whether a motor vehicle exclusion in a homeowner’s insurance policy relieves another insurance company of its duty to provide coverage for the insureds when the insureds provided alcohol to a minor in their home, and the minor caused a car accident. The victim of the car accident filed a lawsuit against the insureds, who owned the home where they provided the minor with alcohol. The homeowner’s insurance company defended the insureds in the action, subject to a reservation of its rights in the homeowner’s insurance agreement.

The parties entered into a settlement agreement, in which the victim released the insureds, and the insurance company agreed to pay the victim coverage limits depending on its duty to indemnify the insureds under the homeowner’s insurance policy. The lower court concluded that the motor vehicle exclusion applied and relieved the insurance company of its duty to indemnify the insureds.

On appeal, the court first noted that the case is not about whether the insureds are liable to the victim for their negligent provision of alcohol to the minor who caused the crash. The parties agreed that the insureds were negligent. Instead, the case is about whether the homeowner’s insurance policy requires the insurer to indemnify them for the victim’s damages. The court next reviewed the language in the policy, which specifically excluded motor vehicle liability.

Based on the terms of the policy, the insureds would need to show that the injuries that the victim suffered were not solely due to the use of the motor vehicle. Based on the facts of the case, however, the injuries that the victim sustained arose directly from the minor’s operation of the motor vehicle. Had the minor not operated the vehicle in a negligent manner, the victim would not have suffered injuries.

If you were hurt in a car accident in Boston or elsewhere in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to compensation. We know how overwhelming the legal system can be, especially if this is your first legal case. Our team provides compassionate and responsive legal counsel at each step of the process, from negotiating with insurance companies to defending your rights in court. To set up a free consultation, call us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.