The Insured was entitled to indemnification under his comprehensive automobile insurance coverage where his parked car was struck by a moving vehicle. The court held that the Insured’s parked vehicle was not involved in a “collision with” the moving vehicle and, therefore, the collision exclusion in the comprehensive policy was not applicable.

08. July 2005 0

Harnett v. Aney Insurance Brokers Ltd., [2005] A.J. No. 845, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench

On October 15, 2003, the Insured’s vehicle was parked on a residential street in front of his house when it was hit from behind by another vehicle driven by an uninsured driver. The Insured had intended to sell the vehicle and therefore had requested only “park insurance”. He submitted a claim to the Insurer, Economical Mutual Insurance Company (“Economical”), which declined the claim on the basis that the damage was not covered by the comprehensive coverage of the Insured’s policy as the incident qualified as a “collision”. The Insured brought a claim against Economical and the brokers who sold the insurance. This claim was dismissed as against both sets of Defendants. The Insured appealed the decision as against Economical.

The Court of Queen’s Bench determined that the issue at question was the definition of the term “collision” within the comprehensive portion of the Insured’s policy. The appropriate standard of review for the interpretation of the contract was one of correctness.

The court found that the insurance policy did not contain a clause which clearly defined the term “collision”. The court noted that the phrase in the Comprehensive coverage excluded coverage for damage caused by “collision with another object…”. The court cited with approval the following statement from Mallett v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (1984), 5 C.C.L.I. 292 (B.C. Co. Ct):

The word “with” following the word “collision” imparts an active or dynamic quality to the phrase. To collide with something requires the object that collides with another object to be moving.

The court agreed that the use of the word “with” following “collision” imparted an active quality to the term “collision” and held that the insured vehicle must be in operation at the time the impact occurs in order for the impact to be considered a collision. In this case, the Insured’s vehicle was not in operation at the time of the impact. Therefore, the court held that the impact in question was not contemplated by the phrase “collision with” and the Insured was entitled to be indemnified for damage to his vehicle under the comprehensive coverage provision of his policy.

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