Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CH 5060. Honorable Leroy K. Martin, Jr., Judge Presiding.
FOR APPELLANT: Samuel A. Shelist.
FOR APPELLEE: Sheri Shelmadine.
Presiding Justice and Cobbs, Justice concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] In this declaratory judgment action, defendant Enterprise Rent-a-Car (Enterprise) appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff, Founders Insurance Company (Founders). Founders had issued an automobile insurance policy to defendant Sybil Morrison that included liability coverage but not collision coverage. Morrison later rented a vehicle from Enterprise that was involved in a hit-and-run accident, resulting in damage to the rented vehicle. Enterprise sued Morrison for the damage to the rental car in a lawsuit not at issue in this appeal. Founders filed this action for a declaration that it had no duty to defend or indemnify Morrison for the damage. The trial court agreed and entered summary judgment for Founders.
[¶2] Founders made two arguments in support of summary judgment, each of which it renews on appeal. First, it claimed that its liability coverage was not triggered because collision damage to a rental vehicle fell under collision coverage, which Morrison did not purchase from Founders. Second, Founders claimed that, even if liability coverage included damage to the rental vehicle, an exclusion within that liability coverage applied. Either way, it argued, Founders was not obligated to Morrison for the damage to the rental vehicle. The trial court's reasoning is not in the record. But we agree with Founder's second argument and thus affirm.
[¶3] I. BACKGROUND
[¶4] A. The Founders Insurance Policy
[¶5] The relevant facts are not in dispute. Morrison was the named insured on an automobile insurance policy with Founders (the Policy). She paid a premium of $167, which covered her 2010 Hyundai Elantra for the period of March 1, 2012 through September 1, 2012.
[¶6] Founders' comprehensive policy, not all of which Morrison purchased, contains the following parts:
" Part I--Liability" (which included two subparts for bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage);
" Part II--Expenses For Medical Services" (which included medical payments coverage);
" Part III--Physical Damage" (which contained four subparts, including collision coverage);
" Part IV--Uninsured Motorist Coverage" (which included two subparts for
uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage);
" Part V--Underinsured Motorist," and
" Part VI--Non-Owner Coverage."
[¶7] According to the " Declaration Page," Morrison only purchased insurance for " Part I--Liability" coverage and for " Part V--Underinsured Motorist" coverage. (Part V is not relevant to this appeal.) The salient point is that Morrison purchased liability coverage under Part I but did not purchase coverage under " Part III--Physical Damage," which included collision coverage.
[¶8] B. The Enterprise Automobile Rental
[¶9] On May 1, 2012, Morrison rented an automobile from Enterprise, with a return date of May 8, 2012. The rental contract contained a " Collision Damage Waiver Notice," which stated:
" This contract offers, for an additional charge, a Collision Damage Waiver to cover your financial responsibility for damage to the rental vehicle. The purchase of a Collision Damage Waiver is optional and may be declined. You are advised to carefully consider whether to sign this waiver if you have rental vehicle collision coverage provided by your credit card or collision insurance on your own vehicle. Before deciding whether to purchase the Collision Damage Waiver, you may wish to determine whether your own vehicle insurance affords you coverage for damage to the rental vehicle and the amount of deductible under your own insurance coverage."
[¶10] Morrison declined all of the optional waivers and protections offered by Enterprise.
[¶11] On May 6, 2012, Morrison's rental car was involved in a hit-and-run accident, resulting in damage to the rental car. Morrison submitted a claim to Founders for physical damage coverage. Founders denied that claim on the basis that Morrison's insurance policy with Founders did not include collision coverage.
[¶12] As an aside, we note that, when the rental car was involved in that accident, the car was being driven not by Morrison but by her acquaintance, Ariadne Walker. But the fact that someone else was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident is not otherwise relevant to this case, ...