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Intricacies of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

We have stressed the importance of uninsured motorist coverage on this blog in the past. You will want this coverage on your policy in the event you are injured in a hit and run accident, or in the event you are injured by a vehicle that is uninsured or underinsured. If you reject or select uninsured motorist coverage in an amount less than your bodily injury limits, you will have to sign documentation with your insurance company memorializing that decision. That signature will remain valid for any future policy that renews, extends, changes, supersedes, or replaces an existing policy with the same bodily injury limits. If bodily injury limits are changed, then options and selections regarding uninsured motorist coverage need to be revisited.

In the recent case of Mann Insurance v. Allison Chase, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2064a, some intricacies of uninsured motorists coverage and applicable Florida Statues were discussed. In that case, the court discussed the law regarding uninsured motorist coverage when certain changes are made to an insurance policy. The case involves a father and daughter. The father originally purchased the policy in 2001 and named himself as an insured and his daughter as a driver. He selected UM coverage in an amount less than his bodily injury limits and elected to waive stacked UM coverage. He signed documentation regarding same. Years later, his daughter was named as the insured on the policy and he was named as a listed driver. His daughter never signed any documentation regarding UM coverage. When she was injured and her father was killed by an underinsured driver, questions arose as to the extent that their UM coverage would apply. The Court found that even though the policy was changed when the daughter was named as the insured, the father’s selection of lower UM limits still applied because there was no change in the amount of their bodily injury coverage. The Court also found that because the daughter never signed documentation regarding non-stacked UM coverage that the insurance company had to offer her stacked coverage. The Court relied on Florida Statute 627.727 in reaching their decision. The take away from this case is that when any changes are made to your insurance policy that you discuss with your insurance company what if anything needs to be done regarding your uninsured motorist coverage so that you and your family members get the most coverage available.

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