An Overview of § 1718 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Section 1718 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) outlines the conditions under which an insurer may withhold benefits from an insured, particularly in instances of intentional self-harm, felony, vehicle conversion, or named driver exclusion.
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Statutory Text

§ 1718. Exclusion from benefits.

(a) General rule.--An insurer shall exclude from benefits any insured, or his personal representative, under a policy enumerated in section 1711 (relating to required benefits) or 1712 (relating to availability of benefits), when the conduct of the insured contributed to the injury sustained by the insured in any of the following ways:

(1) While intentionally injuring himself or another or attempting to intentionally injure himself or another.

(2) While committing a felony.

(3) While seeking to elude lawful apprehension or arrest by a law enforcement official.

(b) Conversion of vehicle.--A person who knowingly converts a motor vehicle is ineligible to receive first party benefits from any source other than a policy of insurance under which he is an insured for any injury arising out of the maintenance or use of the converted vehicle.

(c) Named driver exclusion.--An insurer or the first named insured may exclude any person or his personal representative from benefits under a policy enumerated in section 1711 or 1712 when any of the following apply:

(1) The person is excluded from coverage while operating a motor vehicle in accordance with the act of June 5, 1968 (P.L.140, No.78), relating to the writing, cancellation of or refusal to renew policies of automobile insurance.

(2) The first named insured has requested that the person be excluded from coverage while operating a motor vehicle. This paragraph shall only apply if the excluded person is insured on another policy of motor vehicle liability insurance.

Key Terms:

"Benefit"

The compensation an insured individual is entitled to receive after filing an insurance claim.

"Conversion of vehicle"

Illegal appropriation or misuse of a vehicle without the owner's consent.

"Named driver exclusion"

A provision that excludes certain individuals from insurance coverage when they are operating the vehicle.

Importance to Pennsylvanian Drivers:

This section of the MVFRL helps drivers understand the specific circumstances under which they may be denied benefits. Awareness of these conditions encourages responsible behavior behind the wheel, as violations could limit their access to insurance benefits following an accident.

Importance to Pennsylvania Attorneys:

For attorneys, understanding this section is crucial for providing accurate advice to clients. It outlines potential legal implications, informs the rights of drivers and helps navigate cases involving denied benefits. This section provides a thorough and detailed list of conditions under which insurers can deny claims. The clarity of the language used eliminates ambiguity for both insured individuals and insurers, preventing potential conflicts and litigation.

Advanced Analysis:

The explicit mentions of "intentionally injuring himself or another" and "committing a felony" emphasize the law's intent to discourage fraudulent claims and unlawful behavior.

The subsection about vehicle conversion embeds a strong deterrent against theft and misuse. It does not only deny the offender benefits regarding the stolen vehicle, but it strips them of benefits from any other source except for any existing insurance policy they possess.

The Named Driver Exclusion clause grants insurers and the first named insured the right to exclude any person from receiving benefits under specific circumstances. This principle protects the rights of policyholders and insurers by ensuring that the insurance coverage isn't exploited by unauthorized individuals.

Furthermore, the text makes reference to the Act of June 5, 1968, which relates to the writing, cancellation of, or refusal to renew policies of automobile insurance. This places section 1718 within a broader context of insurance laws, and hints at the interconnectedness of Pennsylvania's auto insurance legislation.

In summary, Section 1718 offers detailed rules on the specific circumstances when an insurer can lawfully deny vehicular insurance benefits to an insured individual. It promotes responsible driving habits and discourages unlawful acts involving motor vehicles while protecting the rights and obligations of both insurers and insured individuals under Pennsylvania law.

About the author
Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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