Underinsured motorist insurance covers the insured who is injured by an automobile even if the insured is a pedestrian. However, the statutorily required underinsured motorist coverage is specifically limited to the “insured.” If a person is not the insured, there is no statutorily required underinsured motorist coverage.
In Berendes v. State Farm a pedestrian was struck and killed by an automobile. She was a rated and listed driver on an insurance policy which named her father as the insured and which covered an automobile owned by her father. She was not an insured under the statutory definition and therefore the statutorily mandated underinsured motorist coverage was unavailable to her heirs.
For purposes of underinsured motorist coverage the “insured” is defined in Insurance Code section 11580.2 as “ the named insured and  the spouse of the named insured and , while residents of the same household, relatives of either while occupants of a motor vehicle or otherwise,  heirs and any other person while in or upon or entering into or alighting from an insured motor vehicle and  any person with respect to damages he or she is entitled to recover for care or loss of services because of bodily injury to which the policy provisions or endorsement apply,” i.e., loss of consortium claimants for injuries to people in other categories.
The court reasoned that the pedestrian was neither a named insured nor spouse of the named insured. Although she was the daughter of the named insured, she did not live in the same household. Since she was a pedestrian at the time of the accident, she was not engaged in an activity related to a covered vehicle. Accordingly, she did not meet the statutory definition of an insured.
Neither did the pedestrian meet the definition of an insured under the applicable insurance policy. The definition of “insured” in the main text did not include a rated or listed driver except when driving or occupying the insured vehicle. The endorsement which added her as a rated and listed driver, and therefore an “insured” for purposes of liability coverage, specifically did not modify the underinsured motorist coverage provisions. Hence, as a pedestrian, she was not an insured under the express non-ambiguous policy terms of the underinsured motorist coverage provisions.
Michael Daymude consults with clients and accepts personal injury cases, including those arising from automobile accidents and and those where insurance coverage is disputed. For other types of cases accepted, please scroll the Home and My Practice pages. If you are seeking a legal consultation or representation, call Michael at 818.971.9409.