Friday, May 23, 2008

Raptor Quad Not an "Uninsured Motor Vehicle"

Matter of Progressive Northeastern Ins. Co. v. Scalamandre
(2nd Dept., decided 5/20/2008)

Scalamandre was injured when her automobile collided with a four-wheeled "Raptor Quad" all-terrain vehicle. Progressive insured Scalamandre's car and the ATV was uninsured. Scalamandre submitted a demand for arbitration seeking UM benefits under her Progressive policy. Progressive sought to permanently stay arbitration on the ground that the ATV did not constitute an "uninsured motor vehicle."

The lower court granted Progressive's petition and the Second Department AFFIRMED.

Contrary to the appellant's contention, Progressive's policy is not ambiguous. A plain reading of the language contained in the subject policy leads to the conclusion that a four-wheeled ATV does not constitute a "motor vehicle" for purposes of invoking the policy's UM endorsement (citations omitted). In addition, although UM coverage extends to all "motor vehicles," as defined by Vehicle and Traffic Law § 125 (citation omitted), ATVs are specifically excluded from the definition of motor vehicles set forth therein. Moreover, unlike the situation in Matter of Nationwide Mut. Ins. v Riccadulli (183 AD2d 111), wherein the three-wheeled ATV involved could be considered a motorcycle, thereby rendering UM benefits available, the "Raptor Quad" ATV was a four-wheeled vehicle. Consequently, this ATV does not fit the statutory description of a motorcycle, which is limited to a vehicle with no more than "three wheels in contact with the ground" (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 123; see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 125-a).
Three-wheeled ATVs -- possible UM coverage.
Four-wheeled ATVs -- no UM coverage.

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