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Government Employees Insurance Company v. Kligler

Court of Appeals of the State of New York
Jun 9, 1977
42 N.Y.2d 863 (N.Y. 1977)

Summary

In Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Kligler, 42 N.Y.2d 863, 397 N.Y.S.2d 777, 366 N.E.2d 865 (1977), the New York Court of Appeals expressed this doctrine as follows: "While it is true that policies of insurance are to be construed liberally in favor of the insured and strictly against the insurer, where the provisions of the policy are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their plain and ordinary meaning, and courts should refrain from rewriting the agreement."

Summary of this case from Dickler v. Cigna Property and Cas. Co.

Opinion

Argued May 4, 1977

Decided June 9, 1977

Appeal from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department, ANDREW J. DI PAOLA, J.

Patricia D'Alvia for appellant.

Charles E. Closter for respondents.


MEMORANDUM.

The order of the Appellate Division should be reversed.

While it is true that policies of insurance are to be construed liberally in favor of the insured and strictly against the insurer, where the provisions of the policy are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their plain and ordinary meaning, and courts should refrain from rewriting the agreement (State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Westlake, 35 N.Y.2d 587; Johnson v Travelers Ins. Co., 269 N.Y. 401). The automobile liability policy in question affords coverage to the "named insured" in the event of an accident involving the vehicle designated under the policy or, in certain instances, a "temporary substitute automobile" or a "non-owned" vehicle. The named insured is defined to include the party who executed the agreement and his spouse. The policy further provides that a "temporary substitute automobile" includes any automobile not owned by the named insured which is temporarily being used with the permission of the owner. Finally, a "non-owned" vehicle means any automobile, other than a temporary substitute automobile, not owned by the named insured.

In this case the vehicle involved in the accident was owned by the wife of the insured and, hence, by the named insured as that term is defined in the policy. The wife's car, therefore, did not qualify as either a "temporary substitute automobile" or a "non-owned" vehicle. Accordingly, it is manifest that the wife's car was excluded from coverage by the clear and unambiguous language of the policy.

Chief Judge BREITEL and Judges JASEN, GABRIELLI, JONES, WACHTLER, FUCHSBERG and COOKE concur.

Order reversed, with costs, and declaratory judgment granted in favor of appellant in a memorandum.


Summaries of

Government Employees Insurance Company v. Kligler

Court of Appeals of the State of New York
Jun 9, 1977
42 N.Y.2d 863 (N.Y. 1977)

In Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Kligler, 42 N.Y.2d 863, 397 N.Y.S.2d 777, 366 N.E.2d 865 (1977), the New York Court of Appeals expressed this doctrine as follows: "While it is true that policies of insurance are to be construed liberally in favor of the insured and strictly against the insurer, where the provisions of the policy are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their plain and ordinary meaning, and courts should refrain from rewriting the agreement."

Summary of this case from Dickler v. Cigna Property and Cas. Co.

In Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Kligler (42 N.Y.2d 863), the Court of Appeals implicitly recognized the distinction holding that the wife's car was excluded from coverage because it did not meet the definition of a "non-owned" or "temporary substitute automobile" (see, also, Ruggiero v Globe Ind. Co., 66 Misc.2d 948). It is apparent, then, that before the need for an exclusion arises, there must first be coverage within the defined scope of the policy.

Summary of this case from McMahon v. Boston Old Colony Insurance Company
Case details for

Government Employees Insurance Company v. Kligler

Case Details

Full title:GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant, v. MILTON KLIGLER et…

Court:Court of Appeals of the State of New York

Date published: Jun 9, 1977

Citations

42 N.Y.2d 863 (N.Y. 1977)
397 N.Y.S.2d 777
366 N.E.2d 865

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