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20 Cumb. L. Rev. 267 (1989-1990)
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Exclusions: A Chronicle of the Alabama Decisions

handle is hein.journals/cumlr20 and id is 281 raw text is: UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
EXCLUSIONS: A CHRONICLE OF THE
ALABAMA DECISIONS
WILLIAM W. WATrS*
INTRODUCTION
Challenges to the validity of the various exclusions found
within the uninsured motorist coverage that, by legislative
mandate, must be included in every automobile liability pol-
icy issued in this state have created one of the most continu-
ously perplexing bodies of case law in Alabama today.' The
recent introduction of mandatory underinsured motorist
coverage in Alabama2 has created further complications and
raised new questions about old precedents. For the practic-
ing attorney, application of the exclusions and the decisions
to concrete questions of coverage can often be a nightmare.
When adopted in 1965, the Alabama statute did not elab-
orate on the scope of the mandatory uninsured motorist
coverage.3 This generality, when set against the numerous
* Partner in Reams, Vollmer, Philips, Killion, Brooks & Schell, in Mobile, Ala-
bama; B.A. 1974, Amherst College; J.D. 1980, University of Southern California.
Member of Alabama and California Bars.
I In 1965 the Alabama Legislature joined a growing number of states in enacting
legislation mandating the inclusion of such uninsured motorist coverage in every au-
tomobile liability policy. 1965 Ala. Acts 86 (codified at ALA. CODE § 32-7-23 (1989))
provides:
No automobile liability or motor vehicle liability policy insuring against
loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury or death suf-
fered by any person arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of a
motor vehicle shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state with re-
spect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state
unless coverage is provided therein or supplemental thereto, in limits for
bodily injury or death set forth in subsection (c) of Section 32-7-6, under
provisions approved by the commissioner of insurance for the protection of
persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages
from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily
injury, sickness or disease, including death, resulting therefrom ....
2 In 1984 the Alabama Legislature amended section 32-7-23 to include within the
definition of an uninsured motor vehicle a vehicle with respect to which the sum of
the limits of liability under all bodily injury liability bonds and insurance policies
available to an injured person after an accident is less than the damages which the
injured person is legally entitled to recover. ALA. CODE § 32-7-23(b)(4) (1989).
3 Section 32-7-23 requires only that the coverage be for the protection of per-
sons insured under the liability provisions of the policy and that the coverage be at
least equal to the minimum limits for bodily injury or death required for liability

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