Why is it not Obvious that a Motocross Raceway is Not a Home? Liability Policy Limited to Insured Residence Premises.

AuthorZalma, Barry
Position[ON MY RADAR]

* Houses are often homes. Not all houses are homes. Not all properties with a house are residences or residence premises.

Insurance policies never cover every conceivable potential exposure the in sured faces. By their terms the policy limits its exposure based on the requirements and needs of the insured and the willingness of an insurer to take on that risk.


In Shelley Lynn Yocom v. Ram Mutual Insurance Company, A18-1320, State of Minnesota in Court of Appeals (April 15, 2019) a person seeking indemnify from an insurer claimed that a motocross raceway was part of a residence premises entitling the owner of the property to liability protection although the injury occurred at Midway Recreation Park.

Yocom was struck from behind by a golf cart driven by Jamey Swanson. The property on which the raceway is located is jointly owned by Jack and Cynthia Stamschror, who also serve as officers of the raceway corporation. In addition to the raceway, there is a home on the Stamschrors' 40-acre property.


At the time of the accident, Swanson had homeowner's insurance with respondent RAM Mutual Insurance Company. The policy's In cid ental Liability Coverages include: "Motorized Vehicle Coverage. We pay for the bodily injury or property damage which: a. occurs on the insured premises and is a result of the ownership, operation, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of: (1) a motorized vehicle if it is not subject to motor vehicle registration because of its type or use; or (2) a recreational motor vehicle."

The policy defines "insured premises" to include "that part of residential premises not owned by an insured while temporarily used by an insured." "Recreational motor vehicle" is defined as "a motorized vehicle..., trailer or attached apparatus designed or us ed for recreation, vacation or leisure-time activities."


Following the accident, Yocom sued Swanson, the Stamschrors, Midway Recreation Park, Inc., and the entity that leased Midway Recreation Park for the race. Yocom alleged various acts of negligence with regard to use, maintenance, and oversight of the raceway. She settled her claims against Swanson for his $300,000 liability limit pursuant to a Miller-Shugart agreement. She then sued the insurer to recover that amount from RAM Mutual.

Both parties moved for summary judgment on the issue whether the pol icy affords coverage to Swanson. In support of her motion, Yocom submitted a 2013 county property tax...

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