Father sues insurer over failure to pay for damages to car incurred during high speed police chase involving teen daughter

Sure, I did some crazy things when I was a teenager, plenty of them in fact, as I’m reminded whenever I go back home to Wildrose, North Dakota.  I did, however, draw the line at stuff that was reasonably calculated to: a) get back to my parents; b) force them to yank my chain because it involved substantial property damage or criminal charges; and c) get me killed.  Therefore I cannot conceive of either acting like the teenage woman in this story, or of my dad suing an insurance company if I did.  On the other hand — just trying to find a silver lining, you understand — I will admit it takes all kinds to make the world go round, and that such people make sure there is a demand for the services of insurance litigators like me. 

As to whether it’s covered, it’s always hard to say without seeing either the complaint or the policy.  Generally, auto and other insurance policies contain exclusions for intentional or criminal acts: you’re not going to get property damage coverage if you take a hacksaw and cut your car in half.  I took a brief look at some Georgia cases and my impression is the standard for "intent" is quite high in the state, and may not include acts like speeding and being rammed by police cars, unless there is incontrovertible evidence the ramming was actually intended by the rammee.   Sometimes criminal act exclusions in auto policies are held to be contrary to public policy when a third party is injured, but it strikes me as less likely that a court would fail to apply the exclusion when what is at stake is your own property damage claim. The fact that the case is ready to go the jury indicates the insurer has already failed on a summary judgment motion on these exclusions, and either they have been found inapplicable or factual questions precluded summary judgment. 

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