When is an automobile an automobile? When is a car a car?  Turning on that question was whether a daughter was covered by the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in her mother's car insurance policy decided by the Kentucky Court of Appeals in Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Goode, 2008-CA-000350 (February 13, 2009).

Crystal Goode was injured in a one-car motor vehicle accident and later made a claim for underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits under a policy held by her mother. The policy extended UIM coverage to "a relative who does not own an automobile." At the time of the accident, Crystal owned a 1994 Ford Escort at the time of the accident. However, the car had been damaged and unavailable for use for quite some time with no prospect of running again anytime soon. Under Kentucky law "a car that has been retired from service for an indefinite time into the future should not be considered to be a 'passenger automobile' within the meaning of [an] insurance policy." Therefore, the court ruled that Crystal did not own an "automobile" within the meaning of her mother's insurance policy and was entitled to receive the UIM benefits under that policy.

Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in accident cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

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