Unusual STD Case Takes a Turn in Geico's Favor

For now, ruling that insurer owes woman $5.2M is overturned
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2022 1:28 PM CDT
Updated Jan 12, 2023 2:45 PM CST
Moment of Passion Leads to Odd Car Insurance Claim
But have they paid their premiums?   (Getty/AntonioGuillem)
UPDATE Jan 12, 2023 2:45 PM CST

Geico is at least temporarily off the hook in a bizarre case involving an STD. A woman in Missouri sued the company after she contracted HPV, human papillomavirus, in the car of a man who was insured by the company. This week, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that Geico should pay the woman $5.2 million, though the case was sent back to the court for more deliberation, per the AP.

Jun 9, 2022 1:28 PM CDT

Can a gecko blush? Geico may have to pay millions to a woman who says her boyfriend gave her an STD during sex in his car, reports the Kansas City Star. The woman, identified as M.O. in court documents, says she contracted HPV—the human papillomavirus—from her (now former) boyfriend. She says he knew he had the STD but failed to tell her before their encounter, per WebMd. Upon being diagnosed, she asked for $1 million in damages from Geico because it happened in a vehicle insured by the company.

When Geico rejected the claim, an arbitrator stepped in and ruled that the insurance company should pay M.O. $5.2 million. Geico appealed on a number of grounds, including that it is responsible only for injuries that come “out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the … auto,” per the Washington Post. The company also said the woman is at fault, not Geico, because the STD "arose from an intervening cause—namely, her failure to prevent transmission of STDs by having unprotected sex." This week, the state Court of Appeals declined to toss the arbitrator's decision, though the matter is not settled yet.

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Geico is contesting the judgment separately in federal court—arguing that the claim is not covered under its policies—and the outcome of that case will determine whether Geico must pay up. If so, it could be precedent-setting. “This case presents novel and potentially important issues about whether an insurance carrier can be held liable under such policies for the consequences of two adults voluntarily having unprotected sex in the insured’s automobile,” wrote US Magistrate Judge Angel D. Mitchell last year. “Interpretation of these policies could have far-reaching implications for other policies with similar terms.” (More GEICO stories.)

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