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Insurer must pay for Florida rental car crash

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A car is towed from the back yard of a home  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A car is towed from the back yard of a home (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A rental car customer’s insurer must cover crash injuries, even though an unauthorized driver was behind the wheel.

That’s what the Florida Supreme Court decided in a 5-2 opinion Wednesday.

The majority ruled in the Gadsden County case that the rental car was covered by Katusha Shazier’s insurance policy because it was a “temporary substitute auto.”

The justices rejected Geico Indemnity Co.’s argument that it no longer fell into that category because Shazier had let someone else drive.

The opinion reversed a 1st District Court of Appeal ruling in Geico’s favor.

Justice R. Fred Lewis wrote that the appellate decision conflicted with prior Supreme Court rulings.

Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justice Ricky Polston dissented, saying they found no conflict with the earlier decisions.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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