Most people commonly buy “full coverage” auto insurance thinking that they are getting coverage for all negligent driving – even if it is their family member who negligently causes the accident. Take it from the Toledo car accident attorneys at the Charles Boyk Law Offices however, this is not always the case.
Some auto insurance policies contain an exclusion known as the “Family,” “Household,” or “Intra-Family” exclusion. These types of exclusions are clauses stating that the insurance comany won’t pay for a family member’s death or injuries if another family member causes the initial accident. Essentially, this exclusion limits the bodily injury liability coverage available to family members who are injured as the result of the negligence of a relative.
The intent behind the family exclusion is to prevent two insured family members from colluding to take advantage of the insurance system. Despite these safeguards for the insurance companies, family exclusion clauses often leave families with limited or no coverage after a car accident. The purpose of the family exclusion is to prevent two insured family members from colluding to take advantage of the insurance system. However, the family exclusion means that an auto accident that is your fault can leave your family with limited or no coverage.
Top Ohio injury lawyer Charles Boyk has handled real-life cases that demonstrate the chilling consequences of the family exclusion and can attest first-hand to how devastating the consequences can be. “In one of the family exclusion cases, a husband was responsible for the accident and his passenger, his wife, needed torn rotator cuff surgery on her left shoulder. No recovery was possible due to the family exclusion,” Mr. Boyk explained. “In another case, a husband caused his wife to need physical therapy over a six month time period and she had to be off work for an extended period of time. Once again, no recovery for the pain or income loss was available because of the family exclusion.”
The moral of the story is that the family exclusion in an otherwise full coverage auto insurance policy can leave you and your family open to devastating financial liabilities after an auto accident. Obviously, you want to make sure that the automobile insurance policy that you purchase does not have a family exclusion. A family exclusion typically states something like, “Our coverage will not apply to any insured person for bodily injury to you or a relative.”
Based upon an informal survey conducted by Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC, the companies that do not have the family exclusion (thereby providing coverage for you and your family) include: Grange, Motorist, and Nationwide. Companies that do have the exclusion (and therefore do not protect your entire family in the event of an accident) include: Allstate, Erie, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and State Farm.
However, to ensure that your specific policy meets your coverage expectations, you should ask your insurance agent if your policy contains a family exclusion, and if so, you should consider purchasing additional coverage to ensure that your family members are covered for bodily injury. Communicating with your insurance agent is one way to ensure you do not get caught up in a threat to your family’s financial future.