Plevin & Gallucci Company, L.P.A.

Full Coverage Auto Policies: Ohio’s Great Hoax


Cleveland, OH -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/19/2009 -- Exclusions, exclusions and more exclusions --- that is what Ohioans with “full coverage” auto policies have been facing for the last eight years, since the General Assembly passed SB 97 allowing auto insurers to write their own exclusions into policies.

Since then exclusions such as (i) “Family Exclusion” (ii) “Immunity Exclusion” and (iii) “Non-Duplication Clauses” have been surfacing in policies to undoubtedly limit pay outs, and in instances where the exclusions apply, to avoid paying at all. Here’s a quick overview of what it means to you:

Family Exclusion: Members of insured’s family or household are barred from collecting under the policy’s liability coverage if another family member is at fault for accident. Mom crashes family car and injures her passengers (her husband and their three children). Even though their “full coverage” policy includes $500,000 in liability and UM/UIM coverage and $5,000 in medical payments coverage, husband and three children are barred from recovery, except for medical coverage payments of $5,000 per person.

Immunity Exclusion: Fire truck negligently crashes into the family minivan while responding to an emergency call. You and your family are severely injured. Absent reckless or wanton driving at the time of the collision, emergency vehicles responding to a call are immune from liability under Ohio law. That means unless there is reckless or wanton conduct, you cannot sue the fire department. And do not bother filing a claim for UM benefits as the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling in Snyder v. American Family Ins. Co. did away with that claim as well.

Non-Duplication Clauses: You are injured by an uninsured driver and sustained serious injuries. Your medical bills exceed the $25,000 in medical payment coverage you purchased, but you also had $50,000 in UM coverage. Your insurer pays out $25,000 in medical payments. You seek UM coverage of $50,000. Your carrier instead subtracted the $25,000 paid in medical payments and issued a check for $25,000 (balance from UM coverage) rather than the full $50,000.

Admittedly, not all insurance companies writing auto policies in Ohio include these exclusions. However, chances are high that the policy you currently have includes one or more of these types of exclusions. Bottom line for you as the consumer: read the policy, ask your agent for clarification, find a policy that works for you and your family, and most importantly, write your representative seeking change.

Should you have any questions, please contact one of Plevin & Gallucci Co. LPA’s personal injury lawyers. Plevin & Gallucci Co. LPA is a full service personal injury, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and wrongful death firm serving all of Ohio.

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