American Nat’l. Prop. & Cas. Co. v. Sorensen, 2013 UT App 295 (December 12, 2013)
Dec 12, 2013
The Utah Court of Appeals addressed whether the common area of a planned unit development could be considered an “insured location” under a homeowners insurance policy. An individual was injured when the ATV he was riding tipped over and landed on his leg. The individual sued the ATV’s owner, who made a claim against her homeowner’s insurance policy. The insurance company denied coverage on the ground that the ATV accident and resulting injuries were subject to the policy’s motor vehicle exclusion. The trial court disagreed, concluding that the motor vehicle exclusion only applied to ATV’s operated “while off an insured location.” Id. ¶ 4. Because the accident occurred in a common area of the planned unit development, the trial court reasoned this was “on” an insured location, thus precluding application of the exclusion. The court of appeals agreed. Relying on authority from other states, the court found the insured’s ownership interest in the common area determinative. Moreover, it concluded the definition of “insured location,” which included “‘any premises used . . . in connection with’ the residence premises,” id. ¶ 16, was susceptible to several interpretations. Because that definition was contained in exclusion, the court strictly construed it against the insurer and liberally construed the policy in favor of the insured. The court concluded “the common area [was] an insured location,” thus triggering coverage. Id. ¶ 24.