Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No Insurance Coverage For Accident When Rental Car Driven By Non-Renter

In Geico Indemnity Company v. Shazier, et al (1D09-2595), the First District reversed the trial court's order because "there was no coverage under the policy because the rental car did not qualify as a 'temporary substitute auto'" because the renter let someone else drive the rental car.  The court stated:
Kutasha Shazier owned a Ford Expedition. The Ford Expedition was covered under the policy issued by Geico to Shazier and her husband.  The policy contained a standard “temporary substitute auto” provision which also extended coverage to: [a temporary car if you were authorized to drive it].
When the Ford Expedition began experiencing transmission problems, Shazier rented a Hyundai Sonata (“the rental car”) from Avis Rent-A-Car System, LLC (“Avis”). Pursuant to the rental agreement, Shazier was the only person authorized to drive the rental car...Subsequently, the rental car was involved in an accident while being driven by Tercina Jordan, an unauthorized driver.
Under the policy, in order for coverage to attach in this case, the “temporary substitute auto” must have been used with the permission of Avis. As the owner, Avis had the authority to define the scope of permissible use of the rental car....As evidenced by the rental agreement, Avis did just that. Avis granted Shazier permission to use the rental car so long as she was the only person who did so. Jordan’s use of the rental car automatically revoked the permission granted to Shazier by Avis. Therefore, because it was not being used with Avis’s permission, the rental car did not qualify as a “temporary substitute auto” and no coverage existed under the policy.


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