The “Intentional Act” Exception to Insurance.

During my years of personal injury practice, I have come across situation where someone is injured as a result of some assault or other intentional act.  I would even come across situations where someone was injured in a “road-rage” incident, or when an injury occurs as a result of someone who intentionally hits someone with their car.  When this happens, the concern is whether there will be any insurance coverage for the incident.  The answer to that question depends on the type of coverage you are dealing with, and whether you are the actor or the injured victim.

Liability Coverage:  Every auto insurance policy provides for liability coverage.  Liability coverage covers an individual when that person causes injury or damage as a result of a car accident.  But, every liability policy will have an exception for incidents caused by the “intentional acts of the insured.”  For example, if you have just had an argument with your friends and get into your car to leave, you cannot intentionally hit them with your car.  Not only would this be a crime, you also run the risk that your insurance company will deny you coverage for the injuries you caused.  Not only will you be left exposed to a claim by the injured party without the legal protection of your insurance company, you will not have the benefit of your insurance company trying to resolve the claim or paying any judgment rendered against you.

Other Coverages:  If you are the victim of an intentional act, then you will still have coverage under your own policy, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Uninsured/Under-Insured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).  The key here is that you were not the one who committed the act.  Likewise, your own insurance coverages would still apply to your claims.

For example, if you are intentionally struck by someone’s car and have bodily injuries, you will probably try to make a liability claim under the other driver’s policy .  Their insurance company will likely deny coverage for the other driver due to the fact that the driver acted intentionally in causing the injury.  That driver now becomes an “uninsured motorist.”  Therefore, you can make a claim under the UM portion of your own policy since you did nothing intentionally.

The same is true for PIP coverage.  Because you were injured as result of an automobile collision, you can make a claim under your PIP coverage.  This is because you did not commit the intentional act and are, therefore, not excluded from coverage.

So, it all comes down to this:  If you are the one who acted intentionally, then you will likely not have coverage from your own insurance company for any injuries that you cause.  And you may even be denied coverage for the damage to your own car, leaving you to absorb the entire loss.

7 thoughts on “The “Intentional Act” Exception to Insurance.”

  1. Shirley Richard

    I was involved in a road rage incident, I was not injured by his ramming of the car that I was riding in, the driver of the car shot into the vehicle that I was riding in. Again no damages to my person caused by the ramming of his car, but damage to both legs as a result of his firing shots into the vehicle. What is my recourse of action? Insurance companies are No payment for you ms richard

    1. The “intentional act” exclusion will probably bar any coverage from the other driver’s insurance company. Likewise, the other driver would be considered “uninsured.” But, if the vehicle you were riding in had uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, your can make a claim there. Also, if you had your own auto insurance policy with UM coverage, that would be additional coverage you can go after. You might want to consider calling me to discuss this further. There are probably other ramifications you have to consider, such as how the two insurance policies inter-act together as well as any hospital or health insurance liens.

  2. 2 years ago on auguest 1 2016 i was rammed 9 times off the road and then i was shot by a pump action 12 gauge in my left shoulder he then walked away and murdered my friend. I was told by his insurace he wasnt covered for his intentional act. What do i have to do?

    1. The typical liability insurance policy does not provide coverage for the intentional acts of their insured. From what you describe, this doesn’t sound like a typical “car accident.” It sounds like this person acted intentionally. Your only option would be to file a claim on your own auto policy for uninsured motorist coverage.

  3. On 10-7-18 I had been in a domestic situation where I had to vacate out the front door of a 1870 belt home early am due to being abuse. I defended myself and walked out the front door go on a slanted rotten porch and hit my head on a concrete step. I suffer loss of consciousness a traumatic brain injury. The homeowners insurance of the homeowner that was responsible says that it was intentional act so they are only able to pay $10,000 but not responsible for the medical bills in which were necessary in order to undergo series of treatments for my cognitive and physical well being. I and not recovered and have permanent damage. I was not pushed. Why is the insurance company saying that it is an intentional act.

  4. So a drunk driver intentionally tries to get my husband to hit him, my husband avoids the accident then drunk driver tried again, Hit my husband, and then fleas the scene. Didn’t check on my husband. Police called, they catch the driver, drunk, and he tells them that he was trying to commit suicide and kill my husband he did know my husband at all. His insurance doesn’t cover the claims. He was driving his moms car that lives in Arkansas, he had no license and lives in the state of Texas. Mom gave him a car knowing he had no license. How is this fair.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Had you used my case submission form, I would have gotten back with you much quicker. Nevertheless, I can talk to you about your husband’s case in more detail if he would call me. There is just too much to go over in a simple response to a comment. But, in short, he might have a claim against the owner of the vehicle for negligence entrustment. Call me. The consultation is free. 214-321-8228.

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