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Common Situation 2 – Husband & Wife as Driver & Passenger, Part 2

Common Insurance Situations in Mass Auto Accidents

Common Situation 2
Does the answer to the first Hypothetical change if Husband is the sole owner and the sole named insured of the involved vehicle? What factors, if any, would cause the answer to change?

Answer to Common Situation 2
Wife will still obtain optional bodily injury coverage under Part 5 from the Husband’s vehicle. However, the answer may be different from Hypothetical 1 for underinsurance purposes. If she has a vehicle on which she is the named insured, she would look to those limits for underinsurance coverage under the statute. For this, she turns to M.G.L. c 113L(5) which states that if injured “while occupying a non-owned motor vehicle registered for highway use [she] may recover only from the policy providing the highest limits of the un[der]insured motorist coverage on which said person is the named insured.”

In this circumstance, it is imperative to note what the underinsurance coverages are for all vehicles in the household since the wife is not bound by the occupied vehicle as she was in Hypothetical 1.

NOTE: As with all circumstances, involving underinsured motorist coverage, there is a “trigger” or offset which reduces the amount available to the injured party.

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