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No Liability Coverage for Massachusetts Tow Truck Driver under Personal Vehicle Insurance Policy – Borden v. Progressive Direct Insurance Company

wreckerMany people are surprised to learn that, just because you “have insurance,” this does not necessarily mean that you have coverage in all circumstances. Insurance policies are contractual in nature, and you only get what you pay for. Sometimes, there are exclusions that result in a lack of coverage in particular situations. For this reason, it is important to have a good relationship with your insurance agent. Ask plenty of questions to make sure that you are fully covered, especially if you have a business.

In the case of Borden v. Progressive Direct Insurance Company, the issue was whether an “automobile business” exclusion in a Rhode Island automobile policy precluded coverage in a certain motor vehicle accident. Both parties sought summary judgment in the trial court, and the trial court ruled in favor of the insurance company.

Facts of the Case

In 2008, a woman bought a tow truck for her boyfriend to use in his towing business. The boyfriend hired a friend to assist him with towing vehicles from sales auctions to dealer lots and vice versa. On the day of the accident that gave rise to the litigation before the court, the friend drove his personal automobile, which was insured by the defendant, Progressive Direct Insurance Company, to the garage where the tow truck was located. On his way to pick up a car for the towing business, the friend struck a car owned by the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s medical expenses were in excess of the amount of coverage held by the woman who owned the tow truck, and the plaintiff sought coverage under the friend’s policy with Progressive. Progressive denied the claim, relying upon an automobile business exclusion contained in the policy. The plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action, and the Superior Court granted summary judgment to Progressive.

The Court’s Decision on Appeal

On appeal, the court affirmed, finding that a person who works as tow truck driver for a business cannot expect to be covered under his personal automobile insurance policy for losses that happen in the course of his employment. The court noted that, generally, the insurer of a personal automobile provides coverage only for an insured’s “occasional or infrequent” use of vehicles other than the one named in the policy. Here, the friend’s regular, business use of the tow truck fell outside the range of ordinary risks contemplated by Progressive.

To Talk to an Experienced Cape Cod Car Accident Attorney

If you have been in a car accident and need to speak to an attorney about your right to seek compensation for your injuries, the Law Firm of John C. Manoog, III can help. Call us at 888-262-6664 to schedule a free initial consultation. We deal with insurance companies every day, and we can help alleviate the worry and frustration that you probably feel when dealing with insurance forms and medical bills. We have offices in Plymouth and Hyannis and serve injured people throughout Massachusetts.

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