Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trial Court Properly Held Insured Not Entitled To Defense For Injury In Street & Off Insured's Property

In Elliott v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company (4D09-3887), the Fourth District affirmed the trial court's holding that the insurance company was not obligated to provide representation to the insured because the "the trial court correctly determined that the accident was not covered under the homeowners’ policy, inasmuch as it did not occur on the insured premises." 

"The issue presented is whether a homeowners’ insurance policy covered a golf cart accident that occurred on a private road near, but not on, the insured’s residential property." After suit was filed against the appellant by a person injured on a private street, the appellant sought coverage with State Farm. State Farm denied coverage because "Appellee disputed that the allegations in the underlying negligence action would invoke the coverage of the Elliotts’ homeowners’ policy. Appellee claimed that the accident took place outside of the insured premises and was not covered by the homeowners’ policy."

"The main thrust of appellants’ argument is that the private street, within the development, constituted an “insured location” under the homeowners’ policy, and as such, the “motor vehicle” exception did not apply to the golf cart, and appellee would be liable for the injuries Katie sustained in the accident."

The court conducted an analysis of authority on the issue from across the country and determined that the accident was not covered by the homeowner's insurance policy and affirmed the trial court's judgment.


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