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A Better Partnership
June 19, 2013

COA holds that a homeowners insurance policy does not cover damages resulting from an accident where the insured's trailer detaches from a vehicle while being towed

In Pioneer State Mut. Co. v. Dells, the COA held that a homeowner's insurance policy did not apply to a trailer that caused a fatal car accident. The liability insurance expressly excludes bodily injuries that arise out of the use of a motor vehicle and trailers, but includes an exception that liability applies to trailers not towed. A trailer towed by a van driven by the defendant, Dells, separated from Dell's van and crashed into another vehicle, killing the driver. The driver's estate brought a claim alleging that Dell's liability policy covered the accident because the trailer was not being towed by the van at the time the trailer hit the other vehicle. The COA disagreed and held that the trailer exception did not apply because the death arose out of the use of a motor vehicle'Dell's van'which is excluded from Dell's liability insurance. The court explained that Dell's van played an integral role in the accident because there would have been no accident if the trailer was not in tow. Therefore, the court held that the vehicle exclusion barred liability coverage, despite the fact that the trailer was not attached to the van when it hit the other vehicle.

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