8. Collision means the accidental upset of your auto or any physical contact of your auto with another object.

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1 TECH TALK What Happens if... My Client or His Vehicle Gets Hit By a Scooter? September 2012 By Irene Morrill, CPCU, CIC, ARM, CRM, CRIS, LIA CPIW Vice President of Technical Affairs An agent ed a question regarding the prevalence of motor scooters on the road, the potential for causing bodily injury or property damage and the resulting loss to the victim. To Set the Record Straight Technically, there is no such thing as a scooter... except the one you used to kick your way along on as a kid. Vehicle types and classifications are included in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. To be used on public roadways in MA, two- or three-wheeled vehicles must be labeled by FMVSS as one of the following vehicle types: Motorcycle, Motor-Driven Cycle or Motorized Bicycle. Further, the MA RMV has prescribed different types of registrations for different types of vehicles. Motorcycles and Motor-Driven Cycles must be registered either as Motorcycles or Limited Use Vehicles (LUV). Motorcycles and LUVs require plates issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, titles, compulsory insurance, safety inspections, and motorcycle licenses or permits. Motorized Bicycles or Mopeds must be registered by the Registry of Motor Vehicles with a sticker registrations but are not subject to titling, compulsory insurance or safety inspections. Moped operators must have a valid license or learner s permit. Visit to learn more about Limited Use Vehicles requirements or to learn about Moped registraton requirements. Easy Claims First... Collision and Waiver of Deductible Whether your insured s vehicle gets hit by a bicycle, moped, low speed vehicle, limited use vehicle, private passenger auto, pickup, etc. we have collision by definition. 8. Collision means the accidental upset of your auto or any physical contact of your auto with another object. All of these conveyances are objects. If your client s vehicle is contacted by another object then collision or limited collision coverages could apply. The agent then wondered about the waiver of deductible coverage and being struck by a scooter or moped that is not subject to insurance requirements. Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents 91 Cedar Street - Milford, MA TECH Hotline * * * (FAX)

2 2 Waiver of deductible coverage is activated... If your client s vehicle is parked and whacked by an identified person, the deductible is waived. If your client s vehicle is struck in the rear by a vehicle whose owner has been identified, then the deductible is waived. If the other party was convicted of certain motor vehicle violations and your client was not, then the deductible is waived. And the last and most widely utilized waiver of deductible trigger: if your client is in an accident and has the right to recover in court against an identified person, then the deductible is waived. As a previous Tech Talk discussed, there is NO requirement that the identified at-fault party be insured. However, in ALL the situations the other party MUST be at fault which is at least 51% of the cause of the incident in Massachusetts. The other party MUST be identified. When the at fault party is identified, then the deductible should be waived. Whether the company EVER gets reimbursed is NOT the issue. We pay an ADDITIONAL PREMIUM for the RIGHT to NOT have to wait for the completion of the subrogation process. So whether your client s vehicle is whacked by an insured motorcycle or uninsured moped it doesn t matter for collision and waiver of deductible coverage. Your client is hit as a pedestrian... does it matter by what? In Massachusetts we define pedestrian as: 10. Pedestrian includes anyone incurring bodily injury as a result of being struck by an auto in an accident and who is not occupying an auto at the time of the accident A pedestrian is someone who is injured by an auto. SO... what is an auto. The Massachusetts automobile policy defines auto as: Auto means a land motor vehicle or trailer but does not include: A. Any vehicle operated on rails or crawler treads. B. Any vehicle or trailer while it is located for use as a residence or premises. We will consider such a vehicle to be an auto while it is being used on public roads or for recreational use. C. A farm tractor or other equipment designed for use principally off public roads. We will consider a tractor or other equipment to be an auto while it is being used on public roads. D. Any vehicle not subject to Massachusetts Motor Vehicle registration such as a moped, dirt bike, mini-bike, snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Auto requires being subject to MASSACHUSETTS motor vehicle registration Oh, Oh... if it is NOT subject to Massachusetts Motor Vehicle registration, then it is NOT an auto and would NOT activate the issue of pedestrian. So, now we HOPE the vehicle is a low speed vehicle (LSV) or a Limited Use Vehicle (LUV). These types of vehicles have distinct definitions and also certification by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These vehicles must be registered, titled and INSURED per statute effective July 31, This is a GOOD thing. These vehicles also have certain driver s license requirements.

3 3 Donna McKenna, MAIA VP of Communications, has written various articles on the definitions and requirements surrounding these vehicles which can be found at the association website. Mopeds and other two- and three-wheeled vehicles not meeting the LUV definition are STILL a problem. These vehicles may be legal on the road but do NOT qualify for a Massachusetts Automobile Policy. Insurance for the use of these vehicles would require a specialty policy which few,if any, companies are willing to offer. Can an injured individual activate his/her MAP? If it is NOT subject to Massachusetts motor vehicle registration and strikes your client, will your client be able to activate either Personal Injury Protection or Uninsured Motorists Coverage under their own MAP? By definition your client is NOT a pedestrian under his/her MAP. Will Personal Injury Protection coverage apply? In the first paragraph of Part 2 PIP it states: We will pay the benefits described below to you and other people injured or killed in auto accidents oh oh. PIP coverage also discusses when and to whom it will apply: We will pay PIP benefits to or for: 1. You, or any other person, if injured while occupying your auto with your consent. 2. You, or anyone living in your household, if injured while occupying an auto which does not have Massachusetts Compulsory Insurance or if struck by an auto which does not have Massachusetts Compulsory Insurance 3. Any pedestrian, including you, if struck by your auto in Massachusetts or any Massachusetts resident who, while a pedestrian, is struck by your auto outside of Massachusetts oh oh again. PIP benefits are payable due to AUTO accidents. Some of these vehicles scooting along the roadways are NOT autos and therefore will NOT activate certain necessary coverages the client might want to access. Will Part 3 Uninsured Motorists Coverage apply? Part 3 states: Sometimes an owner or operator of an auto legally responsible for an accident is uninsured. Some accidents involve unidentified hit-and-run autos. Under this Part, we will pay damages for bodily injury to people injured or killed in certain accidents caused by uninsured or hit-and-run autos. We will pay only if the injured person is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of the uninsured or hit-and-run auto. We will pay for hit-and-run accidents only if the owner or operator causing the accident cannot be identified. Sometimes the company insuring the auto responsible for an accident will deny coverage or become insolvent. We consider such an auto to be uninsured for purposes of this Part. UM coverage is activated by AUTOS... oh oh... if this vehicle isn t subject to Massachusetts motor vehicle registration, then it is NOT an auto and doesn t activate coverage for your injured client.

4 4 Part 6 Medical Payments... Nope. All the coverages your client purchased to cover them in an automobile related accident will NOT help them when they are walking along and hit by something that is NOT an auto. Part 6 states coverage applies when: We will pay for expenses resulting from bodily injuries to anyone occupying your auto at the time of the accident. We will also pay for expenses resulting from bodily injuries to you or any household member if struck by an auto or if occupying someone else s auto at the time of the accident. Where can coverage be found? Hopefully the moped/scooter owner has a specialty policy because his/her homeowners policy won t apply. All editions of the ISO homeowners polices exclude bodily injury, property damage and defense arising out of owned motorized land conveyances subject to motor vehicle registration. The wording varies somewhat but as a whole the ISO HO policy does NOT want to provide liability coverage for motorized land conveyances which are utilized on public roadways. The ISO HO policy WILL provide liability coverage for vehicles designed for recreational use OFF public roads. So, the ISO HO policy won t provide the owner of these mopeds and scooters with coverage as these vehicles are designed for use ON public roads. Warn your clients and protect yourselves If we know that our clients have bought these RIDICULOUS modes of conveyance we SHOULD put it in writing that their homeowners product will NOT provide liability coverage should there be an incident. We should put it in writing that there is NO liability coverage and corresponding defense should there be an at fault incident. If you have found a market... great... let me know. The homestead act might be a necessary suggestion to protect their home but it won t protect their earning power and bank accounts. As gas prices rise again... people look for cheap modes of transportation. I m glad that winter is coming. Good luck. If I can be of service to you, please call me, Irene Morrill, Vice President of Technical Affairs, at or me at This article has been developed expressly for the members of MAIA. Reprint by other than members without the express permissions of the author is not permitted.

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