October 2011 UIM Regular Use Exclusion Update
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, majority opinion by Justice Orie Melvin, in Williams v. GEICO has again upheld the “regular use” exception to underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in Pennsylvania. The regular use exclusion removes insurance coverage where it normally would exist when a vehicle is provided to you for your “regular use.” Here, GEICO argued that the trooper’s patrol car was provided to him for his regular use. This case involved a Pennsylvania State Trooper who was injured while on duty. The driver who caused the accident was underinsured (i.e. he did not have enough liability insurance coverage) and because the Pennsylvania State Police do not provide UIM coverage to their employees, the trooper sought UIM coverage under his own personal policy with GEICO. The GEICO policy contained a regular use exclusion.
The majority of justices on the court upheld the exclusion and the court states that the legislature should create a “special public policy” exception for first responders and other emergency personnel. The court reaffirms its prior decisions holding that the regular use exclusion is not void as against public policy. In siding with the insurance industry, the court finds that to hold otherwise would force insurance companies to compensate for risks they have not agreed to and for which they have not been paid. To read the full opinion, click here.