Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
Insurance Bad Faith Claim Handling Expert Serving Clients Nationwide

WASHINGTON COURT PREVENTS DUPLICATION OF LIABILITY AND UIM COVERAGES UNDER SINGLE AUTO POLICY

In Thompson v. Progressive Direct Insurance Co., 438 P.3d 53 (Wash. App. 2019) the court held that UIM coverage did not extend to a third party guest passenger in a covered auto under Progressive's policy. The Progressive policy contained an exclusion of the named insured's own covered vehicle from the policy's UIM coverage provision in situations where a guest passenger was seeking benefits for both liability and UIM coverage. Under the Progressive UIM portion of the policy, the policy defined an insured person as including any person occupying, but not operating, a covered auto. The policy also stated that a UIM vehicle did not include a covered auto under the policy unless the person insured was a named insured or relative of a named insured. In effect, the exclusion precluded guest passengers in a covered vehicle from recovering under both the liability and UIM provisions of the policy. The Washington Court of Appeals held that the non-duplication policy definition did not violate Washington law or public policy. The Court upheld the Washington Supreme Court's decision that had themselves upheld the validity of UIM exclusions of third party guest passengers.

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