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ROBERT L. WILLIS, JR. v. MISSISSIPPI FARM BUREAU MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY

NOVEMBER 27, 1985

ROBERT L. WILLIS, JR.
v.
MISSISSIPPI FARM BUREAU MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY



BEFORE PATTERSON, C.J., HAWKINS AND ROBERTSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

This appeal presents the question whether automobile insurance coverage remained in effect three weeks after expiration of the policy and where the insured has failed to pay timely the renewal premium. The trial judge held that the coverage had lapsed, notwithstanding the insured's tender of the renewal premium following an automobile accident (occurring three weeks after expiration of the original policy) and granted summary judgment for the insurer. We regard that the trial judge has correctly construed the applicable statutes, the provisions of the insurance policy and the renewal and premium due notices sent the insured. We

 affirm.

 II.

 Robert L. Willis, Jr. ("Willis"), an adult resident citizen of Madison County, Mississippi, was the Plaintiff below and is the Appellant here. Mississippi Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company ("Farm Bureau") is an insurance company licensed to do and doing business in the State of Mississippi. Farm Bureau was the Defendant below and is the Appellee here

 For almost 30 years Sara Willis, Robert L. Willis' mother, had insurance of various kinds with Farm Bureau. At one time Willis was covered on the same automobile insurance policy as his mother. On all of these policies apparently premiums were payable annually.

 Willis began picking up speeding tickets as a result of which Farm Bureau insisted that his coverage be rated and written separately. On April 15, 1982, Farm Bureau issued its first policy of automobile insurance directly to Willis with him being the sole insured. This was Policy No. A146658, the effective dates of which were from April 15, 1982 to October 15, 1982.

 The declarations page for the policy provided as follows:

 1 POLICY PERIOD: The term of the policy shall be from the effective date of 4/15/82 to 10/15/82 12:01 a.m., standard time at the address shown below, and for such succeeding terms of six calendar months hereafter as the required renewal premium is paid by the insured on or before the expiration of the current term and accepted by the company.

 The premium for this initial policy period was paid by Willis' mother.

 On or about September 30, 1982, just over two weeks prior to the expiration date of the initial six month period, Farm Bureau mailed to Willis permanent mailing address another declarations page indicating some minor changes in coverage, all in contemplation of Willis renewing his insurance. Language identical to that quoted above was stated in declaration no. 2, except that the effective dates of the policy were shown to be from October 15, 1982 to April 15, 1983. Additionally, on the lower right-hand part of

 declaration no. 2, there was shown to be an amount due of Two and Sixty-Eight Dollars ($268.00) on the policy, and a due date of October 15, 1982. The notation under the boxes the amount due and the due date were indicated provided as follows: "Please pay amount due on or before due date" .

 With declaration no. 2, Farm Bureau also mailed to Willis a premium due notice which indicated that the amount of Two Hundred and Sixty-Eight Dollars ($268 00), the premium for the additional policy period, was due on October 15, 1982. Contained on the premium notice was the following language: "For continuous protection, please mail your payment prior to the date due" . There was further language on the premium due notice which indicated that the proposed new policy would expire six months from the date due "if premium is paid" .

 There is no dispute that, from the time of receiving the premium due notice, together with declaration no. 2, in early October 1982, until the time of the accident on November 5, 1982, neither Willis, nor his mother, nor anyone acting on his behalf, paid Farm Bureau the Two Hundred and Sixty-Eight Dollar ($268.00) premium which was admittedly due.

 On November 5, 1982, Willis was involved in an automobile accident wherein his vehicle sustained property damages allegedly in the amount of somewhat more than Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00). After the accident, on or about November 9, 1982, the premium for automobile coverage for Willis' vehicle was paid, and the policy was reinstated as of that time. Farm Bureau steadfastly maintains that Willis had no coverage in effect between October ...


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