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Auto insurer refuses coverage for additional driver

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | motor vehicle accidents |

A Maryland auto accident insurer was successful recently in turning back a legal challenge by a woman who sought underinsured motorist benefits for injuries she suffered in a motor vehicle accident. Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals ruled that, even though the woman was named as an “additional driver,” she wasn’t entitled to benefits under the Geico policy.

The Maryland policyowner added her mother, the resident of a nearby state, to the policy as an “additional driver” of the covered automobile. The mother was subsequently injured in an auto accident in which she was a passenger in another car that was not insured under the policy.

After settling with the driver’s insurance company for the policy limits, the mother sought recovery under the insured benefits of her daughter’s policy. When the daughter’s insurance company denied coverage, the mother filed suit in the Circuit Court for Cecil County.

GEICO denied the claim for benefits on the basis that the woman did not fall under the definition of “insured.”

In a two-count complaint, the plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment, requesting that the court find that the coverage extended to her and she also asked for damages for breach of contract.

The circuit court granted summary judgment to Geico, finding that the mother was not an insured entitled to uninsured motorist benefits under the policy. Maryland’s intermediate appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision.

The appeals court ruled that the lower court had not made a mistake when it determined that Roebuck was not entitled to underinsured motorist benefits as a “named insured.”

The coverage under the policy is owed to the “insured,” the court said. It pointed out that the policy defines the “circle of those persons who qualify as ‘insured’ as the policyholder, a relative of the policyholder who is also a resident of the policyholder’s household, any other person in an automobile insured under the Policy, and one who is entitled to damages due to injuries or property damages sustained by an insured.” The plaintiff did not fall within any of these categories, the court said.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is insurance coverage for injuries stemming from a car accident where the other driver is at fault and has coverage limits too low to cover the expenses resulting from the motor vehicle incident. An Ocean City auto accident attorney can provide more details.

Maryland drivers are not required to carry underinsured motorist coverage, but it is a good idea to have such coverage because many people in Baltimore and Ocean City can only afford the state required minimum auto insurance coverage amounts.

Maronick Law, LLC is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh auto accident needs. If you’ve been in a Baltimore motor vehicle accident, you should talk to car accident attorney. An Ocean City motor vehicle accident lawyer can make sure that you are fully compensated for the expenses you face while recovering. If you have access to Zoom, we can meet with you remotely. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.934.3007 or via the website.



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