A case held in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has sent rippled through the auto insurance industry and potentially set an interesting precedent. The ruling says that vehicles taken without consent are classed as “uninsured” even if the owner has insurance.
The decision means you really need to be careful who uses your car. Court records show the case in question was Skunk v Ketash, 2016 ONSC 2019. The court found that uninsured or underinsurance coverage was in the named to a policyholder’s spouse when the vehicles had been used without the owner’s consent.
Skunk, the plaintiff in the case, was a passenger in her husband’s (the insured) car while he was not present. The vehicle was being operated by Ketash, the defendant. The vehicle was involved in a collision and Skunk was injured. The driver did not have any insurance, but the car was insured by Jevco.
The plaintiff attempted to make a claim through Jevco against the uninsured defendant and for coverage for inadequately insured motorists under OPCF 44R. However, the insurance provider refused the coverage after the investigation. The matter was confused by the fact that Skunk’s husband (the insured owner of the vehicle) filed stolen vehicle charges against Ketash, which were upheld.
Jevco insists that a plaintiff cannot make a claim when the vehicle is owned by a spouse. The company cited the auto insurance Act, R.S.O. 1990 c.l.8, which states and uninsured vehicle as “. . . an automobile with respect to which neither the owner nor driver has applicable and collectable bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance for its ownership, use or operation, but it does not include an automobile owned by or registered in the name of the insured or his or her spouse.”
At the Ontario Superior Court, Justice Newton agreed with Jevco. He continued and said his ruling was designed to prevent claims coming from insured owners after using their spouse’s uninsured vehicle.