Insurance Policy Exclusion

Grand Prairie insurance attorneys and those in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield, Grapevine, and other places in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex need to be aware of the exclusions in insurance policies and how to interpret them. Here is a case that deals with an exclusion in an automobile policy.
The style of the case is, “Carl Calvin Futrell v. Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company. This is a 1971, opinion issued by the Houston Court of Appeals. Here is some background.
The case is a suit on medical payment benefits under an automobile insurance policy. The insured sued for medical expenses incurred by his minor son, who was injured while riding a motorbike when it collided with a motorcycle. Futrell contended that the trial court erred in concluding that a motorcycle is not an automobile within the meaning of that term as it is used in the medical payments coverage of the Texas family combination automobile insurance policy.
The parties filed the following stipulation as to the facts of the case:
On or about March 15, 1970, Carl C. Futrell, Jr., age 14, was riding a two-wheel vehicle known in common parlance and in every day usage as a motorbike which belonged to his father and the Plaintiff in the case at bar, Carl C. Futrell. A collision ocurred between the vehicle ridden by Jr., and a motorcycle. Jr. sustained injuries as a result of the collision which necessitated medical treatment and services. This treatment and services exceeded $2,000.
On March 15, 1970, there existed an insurance contract entered into between the Plaintiff and Lumbermens entitled: ‘Family Combination Automobile Policy-Texas.’ The automobile insured was a 1969 Chevrolet and premiums had been paid for the coverage.
A certified copy of the insurance policy was part of the stipulated evidence.
The policy provision in question stated:
Coverage C — Medical Payments. To pay all reasonable expenses incurred within one year from the date of accident for necessary medical, surgical, X-ray and dental services, including prosthetic devices, and necessary ambulance, hospital, professional nursing and funeral services:
Division 1. To or for the named insured and each relative who sustains bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death resulting therefrom, herein called ‘bodily injury’, caused by accident,
(a) while occupying the owned automobile,
(b) while occupying a non-owned automobile, but only if such person has, or reasonably believes he has, the permission of the owner to sue the automobile and the use is within the scope of such permission, or (c) through being struck by an automobile or by a trailer of any type;
The policy contains definitions of ‘owned automobile,” ‘temporary substitute automobile,’ ‘non-owned automobile,’ ‘private passenger automobile,’ ‘farm automobile’ and ‘utility automobile,’ but it does not contain a definition of ‘automobile.’
The court said that it found nothing ambiguous in the term ‘automobile,’ and no indication that it was used in a technical or different sense. Terms used in an insurance contract are given their ordinary and generally accepted meaning unless the policy shows the words were meant in a technical or different sense.
Citing another court, this court pointed out – The term ‘automobile’ is narrower that the terms ‘vehicle’ and ‘motor vehicle.’ In absence of words in the policy which indicate a different meaning, it has been held that the term ‘automobile’ is not broad enough to embrace a motorcycle.
Knowledge of this case by an experienced Insurance Law Attorney aids that attorney in providing proper advice to clients.