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In NJ, Wife Must Reside with Husband to Receive Coverage

January 30, 2013

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In the recent unreported decision of <a href="http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a2382-11.pdf"><i>Torres v. State Farm Insurance Companies</i></a>, plaintiff Dennia Torres appealed a trial determination that State Farm – which provided insurance to Torres’ husband – was not obligated to provide Torres with UIM benefits since she did not reside with her husband in Newark.
Despite being married to Kevin Torres, Dennia Torres lived with her mother in Paterson, New Jersey.  Torres was involved in a motor vehicle accident and her husband’s insurer, State Farm, denied UIM coverage for the loss.  The trial court determined that Torres was not entitled to coverage under the specific language of the policy and she appealed, arguing that the policy was ambiguous.
The Appellate Court agreed that the word "insured" as defined in the State Farm policy was not ambiguous.  Rather, "insured" was defined to include Kevin Torres and his "wife who resides primarily with you."  Based on the fact that Torres resided out of town with her mother, she was not entitled to coverage under the policy.
Thanks to Heather Aquino for her contribution to this post.

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