Wisconsin Holds College Student Not Insured Under Parent’s Homeowner’s Policy

In Schaefer v. Taylor and Amica Mutual Ins. Co., 2013 AP 2419 (2014), originating in Dane County, Wisconsin, the plaintiff was injured when the defendant struck her while snowboarding. The defendant was 21 and a full-time student. The defendant’s parents held a homeowner’s policy issued by Amica.

The subject policy defined “insured” as “A student enrolled in school full time, as defined by the school, who was a resident of your household before moving out to attend school, provided the student is under the age of 24 and your relative.” The defendant argued that because he was in school full-time, he was an “insured” pursuant to the terms of the Amica policy.

The pertinent facts, however, showed that at the time of the subject incident, the defendant was not living with his parents and had not since he graduated from high school. Instead of immediately enrolling in school as a full-time student, the defendant joined the Air Force, was subsequently discharged, and then enrolled in college. Further, the defendant stated that when he moved out of his parents’ home, his intention was only to “join the service” and then figure it out from there.

The Circuit Court and Court of Appeals concluded that because the defendant did not move out of his parents’ home and immediately attend school but instead joined the Air Force, that even though he eventually became a full-time college student, he was not “moving out to attend school”, as required for coverage as an insured under his parents’ Amica homeowner’s policy.

If you should have any questions regarding this article or insurance coverage in general, please contact Brad Matthiesen at bmatthiesen@mwl-law.com.

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Bradley W. Matthiesen
Partner

Bradley W. Matthiesen is an insurance trial lawyer and partner with the law firm of Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. He is licensed to practice in Arizona and Wisconsin. He has been an insurance defense trial attorney for the past 40 years. He also serves as a mediator throughout the State of Wisconsin and Arizona.