Exclusion For Recreational Vehicle

Mineral Wells insurance attorneys handling home owners claim will someday see something similar to the issued dealt with in this 2014, opinion. The opinion was issued by the Houston Court of Appeals [1st Dist.]. The style of the case is, Oleksy v. Farmers Insurance Exchange. Here is the relevant information.
In 2007, Oleksy went snowmobiling in New York with his friend Paul Pochron and several other people. Pochron was seriously injured when his snowmobile collided with Oleksy’s. Pochron and his wife later sued Oleksy.
Oleksy filed a declaratory judgment action against Farmers, his homeowner’s insurance carrier, seeking a declaration that Farmers has a duty to defend and to indemnify him in the lawsuit filed by Pochron. Although his homeowner’s policy includes an exclusion for personal injuries arising from the use of motor vehicles, Oleksy based his claim for coverage on an exception to that exclusion. The relevant policy provisions are:
Section II– Liability Coverage Coverage C (Personal Liability)
If a claim is made or a suit is brought against an insured for damages because of bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence to which this coverage applies, we will:
1. Pay up to our limit of liability for the damages for which the insured is legally liable. Damages include prejudgment interest awarded against the insured; and 2. Provide a defense at our expense by counsel of our choice even if the suit is groundless, false or fraudulent. We may investigate and settle any claim or suit that we decide is appropriate.
Section II– Exclusions
1. Coverage C (Personal Liability) and Coverage D (Medical Payments to Others) do not apply to:
f. bodily injury or property damage arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, use, loading or unloading of:
(1) motor or engine propelled vehicles or machines designed for movement on land, including attached machinery or equipment;
(2) trailers, semi-trailers or mobile homes;
Which are owned or operated by or rented or loaned to an insured.
However, this exclusion does not apply to:
(1) motor vehicles which are not subject to motor vehicle registration and are:
(d) designed and used for recreational purposes; and are:
(i) not owned by an insured; or (ii) owned by an insured while on the residence premises.

Farmers filed a declaratory judgment that Oleksy is not entitled to coverage because the motor-vehicle exclusion applies.
Interpretation of an insurance policy is governed by well-established principles of contract construction. The primary objective is to give effect to the intent of the parties as reflected in the terms of the policy. As with any other contract, the parties’ intent is governed by what they said, not by what they intended to say but did not. Moreover, in cases like this involving a standard form policy mandated by a state regulatory agency … the actual intent of the parties is not what counts (as they did not write it), but the ordinary, everyday meaning of the words to the general public.
Farmers’s motion for summary judgment purported to be a hybrid motion both (1) establishing the applicability of the exclusion as a matter of law and (2) negating the exception because there was no evidence to support it. But its motion relies in part on its contention that snowmobiles are subject to motor-vehicle registration and in part on its contention that Oleksy owned the snowmobile. In light of the Court’s conclusion that snowmobiles are not subject to ” motor vehicle” registration under New York or Texas law, the Court did not agree that Farmers conclusively disproved the applicability of the recreational-vehicle exception. Therefore, it held that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Farmers.

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