Passenger Entitled to UM on Driver's Policy on Non-Involved Auto

Our client was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend, but not owned by the friend, and the friend was at fault. I know we get liability and UM on the vehicle the client was in, and I know we get excess liability on the at-fault friend’s personal auto policy. BUT, can I get UM on the friend’s personal policy even though that car not involved?

Answer: If I am correctly reading your question, I think your client is entitled to recover. Let me restate the question to be sure: your client was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by a non-owner driver. Your client sustained injury due to the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver (maybe the non-owner driver of the vehicle your client was occupying). Your question is whether your client can recover against the UM coverage on the vehicle owned by the non-owner insured but not involved in the wreck.

Under those circumstances, Russell v. American States Ins. Co., 813 F.2d 306 (10th Cir.1987) holds that your client can recover if the non-owner driver’s policy has a provision which includes in the definition of “insured motor vehicle” a vehicle being driven by the named insured. Some policies do and others do not contain that provision. If the policy does provide that provision, then the non-owned vehicle being driven by the non-owner driver becomes an insured motor vehicle under the non-owner driver’s policy and your client becomes an insured under that policy as a person occupying an insured motor vehicle.