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Insurance – Auto – Rental Contract – New York Law – North Carolina Liability Limits

Avis Rent A Car Systems, LLC v. Andrews (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-159-17, 14 pp.) (Philip Berger Jr., J.) Appealed from Cabarrus County District Court (William Hamby Jr., J.) N.C. App. Unpub.

Holding: The parties’ New York rental car agreement tried to contract around New York law’s requirements that (1) anyone driving the car with the renter’s permission be covered by the lessor’s insurance and (2) the lessor may not seek subrogation from the driver or lessee. The trial court correctly enforced New York law rather than the contract provisions.

However, according to the contract, the lessor was liable for the minimum coverage requirement of the state in which the accident occurred – North Carolina – and North Carolina law has a minimum coverage requirement of $25,000. Therefore, the lessor was liable for the entire $10,470 in damages caused by the accident, and the lessor was not entitled to recover $470 from the lessee or the driver.

We reverse the trial court’s ruling that plaintiff could recover $470 from defendants; otherwise, we affirm.


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