Does collector car policy cover motorcycle fatality?
Michael Lentini was operating his motorcycle when he was involved in a fatal accident. Lentini’s estate sought uninsured motorist benefits under his American Southern Home Insurance Company policy issued on a 1992 Corvette collector vehicle. The policy contained a provision that limited uninsured motorist coverage to accidents involving the covered collector vehicle.
After American Southern denied coverage, the estate sued. The court entered summary judgment in favor of American Southern. The estate appealed.
On appeal, the estate argued that American Southern impermissibly limited Lentini’s uninsured motorist coverage under a provision of a state statute that governs motor vehicle insurance, uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage, and insolvent insurer protection. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, concluding that the collector vehicle policy must and did not comply with the relevant statutory mandates. American Southern appealed.
On appeal, the state supreme court set forth the provisions of the applicable statute:
No motor vehicle liability insurance policy which provides bodily injury liability coverage shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state with respect to any specifically insured or identified motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state unless uninsured motor vehicle coverage is provided therein or supplemental thereto for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death, resulting therefrom. However, the coverage required under this section is not applicable when, or to the extent that, an insured named in the policy makes a written rejection of the coverage on behalf of all insureds under the policy.
The supreme court said that, as identified by the appellate court in the Lentini case, “nothing in [the relevant statute] excludes collector or antique vehicle policies from its application.” The court stated: “Even though the restrictive language of the collector policy and the reduced premium offered in exchange for those limitations distinguish it from a standard automobile insurance policy, the statutory language … does not make such a distinction between different types of ‘motor vehicles.’ Accordingly, the limiting policy language in the collector vehicle policy at issue violates the statute.”
The decision of the appellate court was approved.
American Southern Home Insurance Company v. Lentini—Supreme Court of Florida—December 19, 2019—No. SC18-320.