Brandi’s insurance agent wrote her car insurance policy incorrectly. When she was badly injured in a motorcycle wreck caused by a driver with minimum insurance, the insurance agent’s mistake threatened to cost Brandi the underinsured motorist coverage she’d been paying extra for every month. Brandi got BBGA attorney Michael Ruppersburg involved and he was able to secure a $100,000 settlement from the insurance agent, the entire amount of her uninsured motorist coverage.
Brandi and her fiancée were riding their motorcycle one Sunday when a truck pulled out of a driveway right in front of them. Brandi’s fiancée braked but couldn’t stop in time. He and Brandi crashed into the truck and were thrown off the motorcycle. Brandi broke her wrist in the wreck, requiring surgery to repair, suffered compression fractures to several vertebrae in her spine and broke one of her heel bones.
The truck driver had minimum policy limits of $25,000 and his insurance company paid that to Brandi without a fight. But when Brandi tried to make a claim for the uninsured motorist coverage she had on her car insurance, her insurance company denied the claim and that’s when she came to us.
WHAT IS UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is insurance that protects you if you get in a wreck with a driver that doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries. It protects you even if you’re riding in another car or on a motorcycle, like Brandi was in this wreck. Brandi was smart and had $100,000 in add-on uninsured motorist coverage on her car.
AGENT MADE MISTAKE IN WRITING POLICY
When Brandi and her fiancée got engaged, they decided to switch Brandi’s car insurance to her fiancée’s car insurance company. The fiancée’s insurance agent wrote a new policy for Brandi’s Hyundai Elantra, she kept paying the premiums every month, and they thought that was that.
However, even though Brandi owned the Elantra, the agent incorrectly listed Brandi’s fiancée as the owner and only listed Brandi as a “permissive driver.” If the agent had listed Brandi as the owner, she would have been able to make a claim on her underinsured motorist coverage for this wreck. But since the agent listed Brandi as a permissive driver, she was legally unable to make a claim for the $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage that she’d been paying for.
SETTLEMENT WITH INSURANCE AGENT
We subpoenaed internal documents from the insurance agent and insurance company that proved the agent had written the policy incorrectly. Brandi and her fiancée testified that they trusted the agent would handle everything properly, that they did not know the legal significance of Brandi being listed as a permissive driver rather than the owner, and if they had, they would have told the agent to change it. The agent and his insurance company finally agreed to pay Brandi the $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage and the case is now closed.