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Straus v. Allstate Insurance Co.

OPINION FILED JULY 12, 1978.

WILLIAM STRAUS ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN F. HECHINGER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MCNAMARA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiffs brought this class action seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages from defendant Allstate Insurance Company. Plaintiffs maintained that in settling and offering to settle collision claims Allstate breached its contract of insurance by subtracting the deductibles specified in the policies from the actual cash values of the insured vehicles. The trial court denied plaintiff Noparstak's motion for summary judgment and granted Allstate's motion for summary judgment against the named plaintiffs and against the entire class.

Plaintiffs are each insured under automobile insurance policies and declarations issued by Allstate containing identical provisions. These provisions include a deductible amount for collision settlements. In each case, Allstate settled or offered to settle the claim by paying the insured the actual cash value of the vehicle less the deductible amount appearing on the policy declaration. Plaintiffs claim the amounts which Allstate deducted from the actual cash value of the automobiles.

Plaintiff Arthur Noparstak was issued an automobile policy by Allstate on October 31, 1974. Noparstak elected collision coverage providing for a deductible in the amount of $100 for each collision occurrence. On May 22, 1975, Noparstak's insured vehicle was involved in a collision and sustained extensive damage. Noparstak notified Allstate of the collision and demanded indemnification pursuant to the policy. Allstate offered to pay Noparstak the actual cash value of the vehicle on the date of the collision, less the deductible amount appearing in the declarations. Noparstak has rejected the offer.

Plaintiff Patricia Paveza was issued an automobile insurance policy by Allstate on February 25, 1972. She selected collision coverage with a $50 deductible. On June 25, 1972, the insured vehicle was involved in a collision. Allstate settled the claim by paying Paveza the cash value of the automobile less the $50 deductible.

On February 4, 1972, plaintiff William Straus was issued a policy providing for collision coverage with $100 deductible. On December 2, 1975, the insured vehicle was involved in a collision. Straus was given the actual cash value of the vehicle less the $100 deductible.

The insurance policies issued to plaintiffs provide in pertinent part:

"In reliance upon the declarations and subject to all the terms of this policy and for payment of the premium, Allstate makes the following agreements with the named insured:

Coverage DD — Automobile Collision Insurance Allstate will pay for loss to the owned automobile or non-owned automobile, caused by collision, less the deductible amount stated in the declarations, but the deductible amount shall not be deducted with respect to a collision involving the owned automobile and another automobile insured by Allstate.

4. `loss' means direct and accidental loss of or damage to (a) the automobile, including its equipment, or (b) other insured property;

Payment of loss

Allstate may pay for the loss in money, or may repair or replace the damaged or stolen property. However, Allstate may, at any time before the loss is paid or the property is replaced, at its expense return any stolen property to the named insured, or at its option to the address shown in the declarations, with payment for any resulting damage. Allstate may take all or part of the property at the agreed or appraised value and may settle any claim or loss either with the insured or the owner of the property.

Limits of Allstate's liability

The limit of Allstate's liability is the actual cash value of the property, or if the loss is of a part its actual cash value at the time of loss, but not to exceed what it would then cost to repair or replace the property or part with other of like kind and quality; ...


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