A girlfriend is not a spouse or dependent under an automobile policy

08. August 2010 0

A girlfriend of insured is not spouse or dependent for purposes of unidentified driver provisions of an insurance policy.

Pepe v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., [2010] O.J. No. 2138, May 20, 2010, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, D.A. Wilson J.

The Insured brought a motion for a determination of a question of law.  The insured had been driving his car when he was involved in a single car accident whereby his vehicle left the roadway, became airborne, and eventually came to rest in a ditch after impacting with a tree.  His girlfriend at the time was a passenger.  He had purchased the optional protection for losses caused by unidentified motorists up to his own liability limit.  The Insured therefore issued a statement of claim claiming damages from his Insurer pursuant to the unidentified provisions of his policy.

The endorsement the Insured purchased included a section which limited the ability of individuals to make claims against their policy for claims involving unidentified vehicles if there was no independent evidence to corroborate the involvement of a vehicle whose driver or owner could not be ascertained. The individual who corroborated the evidence of the claimant could not be the spouse or dependent of a claimant.  The narrow issue before the Court was whether the Insured’s girlfriend at the time was a spouse or dependent of the Insured.  The Court found that she was not.

This case was digested by Cameron B. Elder and edited by David W. Pilley of Harper Grey LLP.

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