Insurance – filing of transfer documents does not kick in ownership transfer for insurance purposes re individuals as required for dealers: Franklin v. Safe Auto Ins. Co. (COA 5/1/2009)

Franklin v. Safe Auto Insurance Company
2008-CA-000615 05/01/2009 2009 WL 1160357

Opinion by Judge Wine; Judges Dixon and Keller concurred. The Court reversed and remanded a summary judgment in favor of an insurer, wherein the circuit court found that appellants were not the owners of a vehicle at the time it was involved in an accident.

The Court held that the trial court erred by focusing on the fact that the record title was still in the seller’s name at the time of the accident. The Court concluded that the filing of the paperwork was not a prerequisite to transfer of title between the individual seller and the individual buyer. Rather, title to the vehicle transferred upon the seller’s and buyer’s completion of the transfer of title and odometer statement on the certificate of title and delivery of the completed form to the buyer. The Court further held that completion of a vehicle transaction record (VTR) was not necessary because the certificate of title was issued after February 2000, and thus met the statutory requirements for conveyance under KRS 186A.215. Therefore, appellants were the owners of the vehicle for purposes of MVRA and coverage under the insurance policy. The Court also held that any other irregularities in the transaction were not material to the motion for summary judgment. The Court declined to consider the insurer’s argument regarding proof of damages, as the only issue before the trial court was whether appellants were owners and the dispute over the amount and apportionment of damages was outside the scope of the appeal.

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