WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Policyholder Cannot Be Excluded from Own Policy

Jan 12, 2014

The Illinois Supreme Court is clamping down on a certain type of car insurance policy.

The case is from a fatal accident in 2007.  Ana Reyes is being sued for allegedly hitting two people with her car -- injuring a mother and killing the woman's four-year old son.

At issue in the Supreme Court case is whether insurance company American Access has to defend Reyes and potentially pay up if she loses her case.

Reyes owned her policy, but she was an excluded driver.

American Access argued there are good reasons for allowing this — such as lowering the cost of insurance.

But Keith Rhine, a lawyer for the accident victims’ insurance company, said that doesn’t make sense.

““Who’s then the policy for? That is the person who’s named, paying for the policy, owns the vehicle — that is the person who should be covered by this policy,” said Rhine.

The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that a lone policyholder cannot be excluded from her own insurance. It said allowing such insurance plans would go against the public safety reasoning behind Illinois’ mandatory car insurance law.