Car insurance policies in Georgia are filled with exclusions that can void out otherwise valid insurance. If you are involved in a car accident in Georgia and the insurance company denies the claim and points to an exclusion, then you want to read the policy carefully. The insurance contract gives the coverage and the exclusion can take it away. If the insurance company claims there is no insurance coverage due to an exclusion, then your lawyer should analyze whether the exclusion is valid under Georgia law. Some exclusions are thrown out because they go against public policy.
Willful or Intentional Injury
Almost all auto insurance policies exclude coverage for injuries caused by intentional acts. For car insurance coverage to be excluded in Georgia, the driver must have intended to cause injury. For example, chasing someone down in a car with the intent to hit them would remove the liability insurance on the driver. The Court of Appeals found that if the victim had no Uninsured motorist insurance to step up and protect them, that the exclusion would only exclude coverage past the $25,000.00 per person minimum limits established in OCGA 40-9-37 and 33-7-11. Martin v. Chicago Ins. Co. 184 Ga. App. 472 (1987), Auto Owner’s Insurance Company v. Jackson 211 Ga. App. 613 (1994) To sum up; if you get run down by your neighbor on purpose and they have a $100,000.00 liability insurance policy, the coverage will reduce to $25,000.00 under the exclusion unless you have uninsured motorist insurance, in which case the liability policy will disappear altogether. If you have uninsured motorist insurance, you may pursue it for their actions.
The named driver exclusion is typically enforced by the court. This usually occurs where a family member has a lousy driving record so the insurance agent has the insured members sign a paper excluding coverage for the lousy driver in exchange for a better rate. Although some lawyers believe that in the right case with a victim with no access to insurance, the exclusion would be void up to the minimum limits, I have yet to see the appellate case saying so. Cotton States Insurance Co. v. Neese 254 Ga 335 (1985) and Progressive Preferred Ins. Co. v. Browner 193 Ga. App. 864 (1989)
Business Use Exclusion
Oddly, we rarely see insurers trying to enforce the business use exclusion. this provides that if you have a personal automobile insurance policy and you are in the course and scope of your business when you crash, coverage is excluded. Commuting is not in course and scope so it is not affected, but what about driving your personal vehicle between job sites? What if you were driving between job sites? That is probably excluded. Edmund v. Continental Insurance Co. 249 Ga App. 338 (2001) That said, I have only seen one instance in 13 years where the insurance carrier actually raised this defense.