Ask Andy: Non-owner auto liability insurance - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: Non-owner auto liability insurance

By Andy Wise - bio | email | Facebook

COLLIERVILLE, TN (WMC TV) - A recent auto accident revealed some of our uninsurable citizens may be abusing an insurance policy designed for company fleets and special needs.

Dennis Hatchett e-mailed me to describe what happened to him during one of the recent snowstorms. He said a woman lost control and smashed her car into his, sending him sliding into a telephone pole.

He said she was freaking out, hollering, "Don't call the police! I have insurance!" and waving her insurance card around.

She had insurance alright:  non-owner liability insurance. Insurance agents and regulators told Action News 5 it's designed to cover drivers who are NOT the owners of the vehicles covered under the policy.

In this case, the driver who hit Hatchett IS the owner of the vehicle, so the insurance -- the ONLY insurance she had -- didn't protect her. Or HIM.

"If the owner is driving the vehicle, there is neither active coverage nor liability," said Hatchett in an e-mail. "And since I was hit by the owner driving at the time, their insurance will not cover the damages so my insurance will have to pay."

Hatchett's right.

According to our insurance sources, non-owner liability insurance is supposed to be available only:

FOR DISABLED POLICY-HOLDERS who may need someone else to drive their vehicles.

* FOR COMPANY/GOVERNMENT AGENCY FLEETS. Employees don't own the vehicles, but their liability must be covered.

FOR HOLDERS OF SR22 FORMS. An SR22 form is issued to someone whose license was yanked for a traffic violation or DUI. Non-owner liability insurance would enable someone else to drive that person's car and keep them where they belong -- in a passenger seat.

And that's exactly the case with the woman who hit Hatchett. He said she didn't have a driver's license. That's why she had non-owner liability insurance, but she drove her vehicle in apparent disregard of the policy.

"Mr. Hatchett is going to have to file this with his insurance company under an uninsured motorist claim," said Cordova, TN, Allstate agent Mike Heffernan. "He will have to pay his deductible."

His insurance company may have to sue the woman to collect his loss. 

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