Sep 25, 2010

Dual Residency: Keeping Insurance Coverage In Play

Getting insurance coverage in play is crucial in personal injury cases.  While insurance contracts are never easy to read, it is very important that you spend as much time as you need to understand all the complexities within the insurance contracts at issue.  If you look closely enough, you may uncover strategies to keep coverage in play and your case going forward.

Some insurance policies extend coverage to “residents” of the insured household in addition to the named insureds.  Even if the tortfeasor doesn’t live full-time in the insured house, he or she may still be considered a “resident” of the household for coverage purposes.  This is possible based on the law of “dual residency.”

In Wood v. McQueen, 1995 Ohio App. LEXIS 4071, *17 (Ohio Ct. App., Cuyahoga County, Sept. 21, 1995), the court stated that “courts in this state have examined several factors when there is a question concerning a person's status as a 'resident' in the insured's household, including the amount of time the person spends at the household, the person's age, the person's intent, and whether the insured is ‘legally obligated' to the person’.”

In Malone v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 1986 Ohio App. LEXIS 5436 (Ohio Ct. App., Erie County, Jan. 31, 1986), the tortfeasor was the insured’s son who was enlisted in the military and came home regularly on furloughs.  In determining whether the son had dual residency at his parents’ home as well as his military base home, the court looked at several factors.  One, the son regularly returned to the home on furloughs.  Two, the son’s Army personnel files listed his parents address as his permanent address.  Three, the son's personal possessions were kept at his parent's home and, fourth, the son maintained his savings account with the bank in his hometown.

For more on “dual residency,” read the following cases:

Ziegler v. Workman, 1994 Ohio App. LEXIS 1668 (Ohio Ct. App., Muskingum County, Mar. 30, 1994)
Prudential Property and Casualty Ins. Co. v. Koby (1997), 124 Ohio App.3d 174, 181 (Ohio Ct. App. Trumbull County).
Snedegar v. Midwestern Indemnity Co. (1988), 44 Ohio App.3d 64.
Wood v. McQueen, 1995 Ohio App. LEXIS 4071 (Ohio Ct. App., Cuyahoga County, Sept. 21, 1995)
Malone v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 1986 Ohio App. LEXIS 5436 (Ohio Ct. App., Erie County, Jan. 31, 1986).
Hager v. Hager (1992), 79 Ohio App.3d 239.
Spires v. Spires (1966), 7 Ohio Misc. 197.
Farmers Ins. of Columbus, Inc. v. Taylor (1987), 39 Ohio App.3d 68.

Contact me for further questions!
Simon W. Johnson

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