South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Homeowner Insurance Applies to Injury Suffered after Unloading Vehicle
Description Maine high court held that an injury suffered when carrying a load from a vehicle into a shed did not involve the vehicle; the homeowner insurance would apply to the injury even though the policy excluded injuries suffered while unloading a vehicle.
Topic Insurance
Key Words Homeowner; Motor Vehicle; Coverage; Operation; Unloading
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Levesque unloaded a washing machine from his pickup with the help of a friend. After they picked it up, and carried it into a shed, Levesque took a couple steps backwards and tripped over something on the floor, causing the machine to fall on him and injure him. He filed a claim with Foremost, his homeowner insurance carrier. The policy excluded coverage for bodily injury arising out of "loading or unloading" a motor vehicle. Foremost filed for declaratory judgment that it was not responsible for Levesque's injuries since, it claimed, the injury arose from unloading the washing machine from a motor vehicle. Levesque and his motor vehicle insurer opposed the motion. The trial court held against Foremost; it appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Exclusions and exceptions in insurance policies are disfavored and are construed strictly against the insurer. In this case, the injury was caused by tripping over something on the floor of the premises. The accident occurred away from the vehicle. So it was not directly involved in the injury and the vehicle insurance policy does not apply. The homeowner insurance applies to this incident.

Citation Foremost Insurance Co. v. Levesque, 868 A.2d 244 (Sup. Jud. Ct., Maine, 2005)

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