Plaintiff was injured when his friend’s tractor unexpectedly took off and ran him over. The friend did not have insurance on the tractor or his home, so Plaintiff made a claim under his own car insurance policy’s uninsured motorist’s policy. The insurance company denied his claim. Plaintiff argued that the policy covered injuries caused by a “vehicle used in the business of farming or ranching” and that the tractor was such a vehicle. The insurance company argued that the tractor was not used for business purposes and therefore was not obligated to pay Plaintiff’s claim. The tractor was used to bale hay for the friend’s horses and cows. The friend was not a farmer, and had never sold  his cows or horses, their offspring, or any other farm products.

On summary judgment, the district court found that the tractor was not used for the business of farming, instead it was personal use for the owner. The plaintiff appealed arguing that coverage should be determined by the type of vehicle, not the use of the vehicle when the accident occurred.

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court, finding that the use of the vehicle determined coverage. The policy utilizes the term “used” and not “designed for use” which demonstrates that the proper focus is on the activity of the vehicle, not the type. Further, the policy specifies “business of farming” instead of just “farming” which requires even more analysis on how the vehicle was used when determining if the accident was covered under the policy.  

Haskins v. USAA Casualty Ins. Co., No.23-10411 (11th Cir. Dec. 01, 2023).