I spent the afternoon today at the Ohio General Assembly listening to testimony on some good legislation working its way through the legislature.
As it stands, most Ohioans are not covered by their car insurance if a family member is driving. Let me say that again to emphasize the absurdity – you are probably not covered by your own car insurance if you are riding in a car driving by your own family member. This little known policy provision, called the “intrafamily exclusion,” can have draconian consequences in peoples’ lives. The reason given for such a harsh legal rule, believe it or not, is that insurance companies are afraid families will collude with each other to injure themselves just to make an insurance claim. One incredulous Justice has termed this absurd assumption “Munchausen’s Syndrome by Auto.”
Currently, Senate Bill 293 seeks to end this practice as it relates to wrongful death claims only, but not injuries, such as amputations or quadriplegia. Certainly a step in the right direction. A baby step, but a step nonetheless.
What does this mean to you:
Ask your insurance agent or your attorney whether your auto policy covers your family members when you are driving, or if it contains an intrafamily exclusion. You need to know that your own family is protected in case of an accident, not just other people in the wreck.