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Finding Insured Lied in His Insurance Application, Brooklyn Court Dismisses Stolen Vehicle Claim


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1/1/2016
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Although I'm certainly no fan of the insurance industry, I can't blame them for fighting this claim. And I don't blame the Court for siding with them either. Recently, in Rampersant v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co., a Brooklyn  judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by a Kings County man against his auto insurer, which sought money to replace his stolen SUV. And, from all appearances, it was in fact stolen. But the insured was penny-wise and pound foolish. In an effort to save a few dollars off of his insurance premium, he indicated that he resided in North Carolina rather than New York, where he actually lived. When the insurance company investigated his claim that his SUV was stolen from New York and found that he in fact lived, and kept his vehicle, in New York, they found that he made a material misrepresentation (i.e., "lied") in his application for insurance, which led them to underwrite his policy at a lower premium than had he indicated his true residence in New York.  Therefore, in concluding that his policy was issued on fraudulent grounds, (in legalese, "misrepresentation"), the company voided his insurance contract retroactively and denied the claim. Leaving aside the moral component to lying on an insurance application, this insured did something that was patently foolish: the entire purpose of having insurance is to cover you in the event of a loss; but by lying on the application in order to save a few dollars in the short run, he guaranteed that the policy would never cover him. In other words, he just threw money out the window.



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