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DRAKE v. DONEGAL MUT. INS. CO.

November 16, 1976

Mildred DRAKE, Plaintiff,
v.
DONEGAL MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY and the Travelers Insurance Company, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEBER

 WEBER, District Judge.

 Plaintiff has sued both defendants under diversity jurisdiction claiming that she is entitled to insurance coverage for her injuries from one or the other. The issue of coverage was submitted for trial by the court, and the court makes the following findings.

 Plaintiff was a pedestrian who was struck by an automobile covered for liability purposes by Donegal Mutual Insurance Company under the Pennsylvania No-Fault Insurance Act, 40 P.S. 1009.101 et seq. Plaintiff owns no vehicle of her own and thus is without no-fault "security" of her own.

 Donegal denies that its coverage applies because it claims plaintiff was an "insured" under a policy issued by Travelers Insurance Company to plaintiff's daughter and covered under § 204(a)(2) of the Act.

 The parties have submitted or agreed to all the evidentiary material relevant, including the deposition of plaintiff's daughter, and the Travelers Insurance Company policy. The question of law to be decided is whether plaintiff was an "insured" under the Travelers' policy, either under the Act, or any more liberal terms of the Travelers' policy.

 Sec. 103 of the Act provides that a person "insured" under a policy includes "a spouse or other relative" of a named insured, "not [named] as an insured in any other contract of . . . insurance"; and "in residence in the same household with a named insured."

 
"an individual is in residence in the same household if he usually makes his home in the same family unit, even though he temporarily lives elsewhere."

 An insurance company is free, out of motives of altruism, generosity, or naked commercial advantage, to provide broader coverage than the Act requires, and if it does so, the policy language controls.

 The Travelers' policy provides personal injury protection to an "eligible person." An eligible person is defined as "(a) the named insured or any relative who sustains injury. . . as a pedestrian struck by, any motor vehicle. "

 The policy then defines relative:

 
"'relative' means the spouse and any person related to the named insured by blood . . . residing in the same household as the named insured, whether or not temporarily residing elsewhere."

 The underlining is taken from the printed form of the Travelers' policy. We find no significance to the failure to underline the word relative in the definition of an "eligible person."

 The only difference between the statute and the policy is the omission in the policy of the words of the statute further defining "household" as "the same family unit." We see no difference in the two terms. Webster's New International Dictionary (2nd ed. 1950) defines "household" as "those who dwell ...


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