Beware Of The Regular Use Exclusion

Posted by Scott A. Staples | Jul 07, 2021 | 0 Comments

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Sometimes we write scholarly tomes on topics in this space, and sometimes we just have quick thoughts. This is a quick thought about your auto insurance policy- beware of the regular use exclusion.

What Is The Regular Use Exclusion?

Your auto policy has many useful coverages that can help you in a number of situations- liability for your own mistakes, PIP/medical coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, comprehensive, and the like. You might mistakenly assume that any vehicle you drive or ride in allows you to take those coverages with you. But this is usually not the case. 

In the vehicles listed as insured on the policy, there's usually no problem with coverage. While each policy is a bit different and would require careful scrutiny to be sure, generally speaking, your coverage travels with you to vehicles you may be driving temporarily, which belong to someone else (friends, employers, a newly purchased car, short term rental car, etc.).

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What Is The Problem With Driving Someone Else's Vehicle?

The problems begin when you step into other vehicles that are arguably “available for your regular use” because your policy most likely excludes coverage when you are driving or riding in such a vehicle. Examples might include vehicles you own that are not listed on your policy, a relative's car you have unfettered access to, or a work vehicle you drive regularly for your job. 

You may well be covered in those vehicles by the policies of the vehicle owners, but their coverage may not be sufficient to take care of you if something unfortunate happens. If you do have access to a vehicle not listed on your policy, it's probably a good idea to check with your insurance agent to figure out what can be done to make sure you have adequate coverage when using it. 

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About the Author

Scott A. Staples

Scott Staples came on board in 2006 as a clerk during law school, and joined the firm as an associate attorney in 2007. He was made a shareholder in the firm in 2010. Scott graduated, cum laude, from Washington State University Vancouver with a BA in English, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law, with cum laude honors there as well. He has successfully represented clients in a variety of different types of injury cases, including auto collisions, premises liability, animal attacks, watercraft accidents, and construction site injuries. He has appeared, and won, before the Washington State Supreme Court (Weismann v. Safeco, 2012). Scott has volunteered time for the past several years at the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Housing Justice Project. He has previously served on the new member and membership committees for the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), and has acted as chair and co-chair of the WSAJ Clark County Roundtable. He is a member of the Washington and Oregon State Bar Associations, WSAJ and OTLA (state trial lawyer organizations), and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington and Oregon. Scott was born and raised in Vancouver, attending Vancouver public schools and graduating from Hudson's Bay High School. He enjoys playing recreational basketball and softball, skiing, and spending time with his wife and three children.

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