Mass. Court Rules for Auto Insurer in ‘Blood Relative’ Household Member Case

October 29, 2018

  • October 29, 2018 at 9:54 am
    Fair Playing Field says:
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    Good read and an interesting topic. I expect the Commerce policy has been in force for years and Oliveira moved into the household after the original inception date, otherwise he would probably have been identified through additional driver discovery.

    If Oliveira was never disclosed or added to the policy, Commerce was unable to contemplate his risk in the premium rating, whereas if he had been disclosed and added or excluded, there wouldn’t be an issue regarding whether coverage was applicable. He’s attempting to be an economic free-rider.

    I see no obligation to provide coverage.

  • October 29, 2018 at 10:27 am
    Big Jim says:
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    So it appears that living in sin is still excluded in some states.

  • October 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm
    Milner says:
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    It’s just a piece of paper until there is a legal question (although at least one judge believes you can have it both ways).

  • October 30, 2018 at 1:52 pm
    Chris says:
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    I assume they don’t have common law marriage in Massachusetts? In Texas they would be considered married.

    • October 31, 2018 at 8:23 am
      Rosenblatt says:
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      Common-law marriages in MA are not recognized because it’s legal to have a same-sex marriage in the state. “‘household member is defined as “anyone living in your household who is related to you by blood, marriage or adoption…’” and they were not legally married. Tough, but correct, ruling IMO.

  • October 31, 2018 at 9:32 am
    Stush says:
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    I agree with the ruling as Fair Play and Rosenblatt opined. The argument about the statutory provision to have insurance only applies to those who own a car and it seems this man did not have a car, let alone insurance and probably never thought he’d need it. Extending coverage in this instance would make insurance meaningless where folks are covered just because they have a relationship with someone who has a policy. Insurers are not in the business of paying claims for perils they did not intend to underwrite. I, too, was in a common law marriage for 18 years until we married but because we both owned cars, we both had insurance and this would never have been a problem. I think it is harsh to say this man wanted to be a free-rider but the fact is that he should have done at least the minimum and alerted the insurer that he was a member of the household.

    • November 2, 2018 at 9:19 am
      Fair Playing Field says:
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      I’m not trying to be harsh, Stush; it’s just an objective observation.

      It was not Oliveira’s responsibility to alert the insurer of his existence but rather the responsibility of the policyholders. If they had disclosed to Commerce that Oliveira and their daughter/step-daughter were living in the household, the policy would list the additional occupants and the policy premium would reflect any increase in risk, or one or both of the additional occupants would have been excluded (provided Massachusetts allows drivers to be excluded from UM). As I mentioned before, if that had happened there wouldn’t be a coverage issue either way.

  • November 1, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    TRUTH says:
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    Husband and wife are related by marriage, their child is related by blood! Now, husband and wife “could be related by blood” as has happened. no further comment……….

  • November 5, 2018 at 11:26 am
    DC says:
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    Moral to the story: Marry your baby momma.



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