The Illinois Appellate Court has reversed a summary judgment order that was entered by a Cook County judge in favor of Safeway Insurance Co. In this case, Jeffrey and Stephanie Hadary were injured in a car crash when Carlos Velez was driving a car he rented from Hertz Corp. The Hadarys claimed that they had suffered injuries that amounted to damages in excess of $40,000, which was the insurance limits of Velez’s insurance carrier, American Access Casualty Co., which had limits of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. The Hadarys reportedly declined to buy the “liability insurance supplement” when they rented the car from Hertz.
Under Illinois’ financial responsibility law, Hertz was bound to provide a bond, an insurance policy or certificate of self-insurance that promised to pay judgments against its customers and anyone driving a Hertz vehicle with a customer’s consent. Section 9-105 of the Illinois Vehicle Code required Hertz to provide this liability coverage with limits of (a) $50,000 for injury to one person or damage to property and (b) $100,000 for injuries to two or more persons.
After American Access paid its $40,000 policy limits to Hadarys, who paid $57 as a premium for underinsured motorist coverage from Safeway Insurance Co. with limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence, they alleged that Velez was an underinsured motorist.