Resident Relative

What Is Resident Relative?

Resident relative refers to spouses and other relatives with whom an insured party shares a residence. Resident relatives are given a special status in the language of insurance policies, and, in some cases, are automatically included as an insured party. This coverage applies, even if the resident relative is not a named insured. Homeowner, property, casualty, auto, and personal liability policies often contain language outlining who qualifies as a resident relative.

Understanding Resident Relative

Resident relatives include individuals, typically immediate family members, who share a residence with a policyholder. Generally speaking, anyone who lives in the home and is related to the insured will likely be covered as part of the insurance unless they are for some reason excluded from the policy.

Understanding whether an individual is or is not a resident relative is an important factor in determining insurance coverage. For example, the brother of an individual who has purchased an auto insurance policy would be covered under a Class 1 auto insurance policy. The brother is provided uninsured motorist coverage in all locations at all times. A family friend who does not live with the insured, however, would not be covered. Similarly, a live-in girlfriend or boyfriend does not qualify for resident relative status under homeowner insurance. However, if their situation progresses to a domestic partnership or marriage, then they are covered under the same insurance.

Key Takeaways

  • Resident relatives are covered by certain policies in insurance contracts.
  • While resident relatives are typically spouses or other relatives who live with the insured, the definition in the policy contract is an important factor in determining their inclusion and coverage.
  • It is important to name all drivers for a car in an auto insurance policy to include them for coverage.

Who Is Considered a Resident Relative?

Insurance policies typically require a relative to reside with an insured party in order to be covered. Adult children who visit their parents over the holidays would not qualify as resident relatives because they do not reside at the home on a consistent basis. The language of the insurance contract will define who qualifies as a resident. Typically contracts require that an individual should physically reside at the same domicile, or permanent home, as the named insured. Resident relatives do not have to be a sibling or child. The brother of a spouse who resides with the named insured would qualify as a resident relative as long as he physically lives in the same home as the named insured.

For auto insurance, it is especially important to determine resident relatives for injury coverage, such as personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage. PIP coverage pays for injuries regardless of who is driving the vehicle and who owns the car involved in the accident. This coverage applies to all members of a household who are not excluded from a policy, however some auto insurance companies exclude all drivers from protection who are not explicitly listed by name on a policy. If this is the case, the party insured should make sure anyone who will be driving the car is listed. 

Example of Resident Relative

Anuja's father takes care of her car while she is away touring. Anuja is a full-time musician and is considered a part-time resident of her home. One day, while backing up his own car into the family garage, Anuja's father damages her car. He files a claim with his insurance company. Per state law, Anuja is a resident relative with her father and he is also listed as a driver on her auto insurance. Hence, Anuja's father's insurance company pays for damages to her vehicle.

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