Bradley Starr by Next Friend Heather Starr-Haller and Heather Starr-Haller, Appellants-Plaintiffs,
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Appellees-Defendants.
from the Hendricks Superior Court The Honorable Stephenie
LeMay-Luken, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 32D05-1501-PL-12
Attorney for Appellants Brian J. Johnson Danville, Indiana.
Attorneys for Appellees Lewis S. Wooten Michael R. Giordano
Lewis Wagner, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana.
of the Case
Heather Starr-Haller, on behalf of herself and her minor son,
Bradley, appeals the trial court's entry of summary
judgment for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
("State Farm") on Starr-Haller's complaint.
Starr-Haller raises a single issue for our review, namely,
whether the trial court erred when it entered summary
judgment for State Farm. We affirm.
and Procedural History
Between December of 2011 and September of 2014, Starr-Haller
had an automobile insurance policy through State Farm for her
1998 Chevy Blazer. State Farm provided Starr-Haller's
coverage in six-month terms. However, State Farm billed
Starr-Haller for her coverage on a monthly basis.
On three occasions between October 2012 and June 2014,
Starr-Haller failed to timely pay the monthly installment due
on her premium. Following each missed installment payment,
State Farm mailed Starr-Haller a "Cancellation
Notice" that stated both the amount due and a coverage
"Cancel Date." Appellants' App. at 147, 149,
151. If Starr-Haller failed to pay her premium by the Cancel
Date, the Cancellation Notices explained that the following
Payment prior to the date and time of cancellation will
reinstate your policies. If paid after that date and time,
you will be informed whether your policies have been
reinstated and, if so, the exact date and time of
reinstatement. There is no coverage between the date and
time of cancellation and the date and time of
Id. (emphasis added).
On each of those three occasions, Starr-Haller failed to make
the installment payment required prior to the relevant Cancel
Date, but she did pay that amount thereafter during the same
policy period. Following each late installment payment, State
Farm mailed Starr-Haller a "Reinstatement Notice."
Id. at 148, 151, 154. Those notices stated again
that, because Starr-Haller had made her installment payments
after the relevant Cancel Dates, "there [wa]s no
coverage between the date and time of Cancellation and the
date and time of Reinstatement." Id.
According to the terms of Starr-Haller's insurance
agreement with State Farm, "if [State Farm] cancel[s]
this policy, then premium will be earned on a pro rata
basis.[ ]Any unearned premium may be returned within a
reasonable time after cancellation. Delay in the return of
any unearned premium does not affect the cancellation
date." Id. at 144. While State Farm accepted
each of Starr-Haller's late installment payments in full,
it did not refund any portion of the premium for the periods
during which her coverage had lapsed.
In August of 2014, Starr-Haller again failed to pay her
automobile insurance installment premium. Accordingly, on
September 3, State Farm mailed Starr-Haller another
Cancellation Notice. According to that Notice, State Farm
would cancel Starr-Haller's automobile insurance coverage
if she did not pay her $430 premium by the Cancel Date,
September 18. As with the prior Cancellation Notices, the
September 3 Cancellation Notice informed Starr-Haller that
her failure to pay the amount due by the September 18 Cancel
Date would result in a lapse of coverage between that Cancel
Date and the date that State Farm reinstated
Starr-Haller's coverage following her payment.
Id. at 156.
Seven weeks later, on October 30, Starr-Haller dropped a
check off at her State Farm agent's place of business,
after business hours, in the amount of $350. Later that
evening, Starr-Haller's minor son, Bradley, was involved
in a one-car accident in the Chevy Blazer that resulted in
injuries to him and totaled the vehicle. Sometime thereafter,
Starr-Haller paid the remaining $80 due. Upon receiving the
total balance due, State Farm reinstated Starr-Haller's
automobile insurance coverage. State Farm did not refund to
Starr-Haller any portion of her premium during that policy
Starr-Haller filed a claim with State Farm for coverage
relating to the October 30 accident. State Farm denied the
claim on the ground that it had cancelled Starr-Haller's
coverage, which had not been reinstated as of the accident
date. On January 21, 2015, Starr-Haller filed a complaint
against State Farm for breach of contract, along with other
claims against other parties. On December 3, State Farm moved
for summary judgment, which the trial court ...