Who is considered a “resident relative” under UM coverage in a Florida auto insurance policy?
Insurance policies usually say that a “relative” includes relationship by blood or marriage
For example, GEICO’s typical car insurance policy says that “relative” means a person related to you by blood, marriage or adoption (including a ward or foster child) who is a resident of the same household as you.
Which Family Members Are Resident Relatives?
The most common examples of resident relatives are people who are related to you by blood or marriage.
Resident relatives include your:
- Father and mother, sisters, brothers
- Grandparents, grandchildren, great grandparents, great-grandchildren
- Aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews
Example #1 – Resident relative by blood
Therefore, John’s UM coverage extends to Lisa because they are relatives of the same household.
UM coverage is possible even if you live away from the insured house
A relative may be able to claim uninsured motorist coverage under the insured’s policy as an insured even if the relative lives away from the insured house.
Whether you are considered a resident relative is determined on a case by case basis.
Let’s go over a few examples where a relative of the insured is entitled to UM coverage even though the relative did not live in the same house as the insured.
- If you are temporarily living somewhere else.
- If you are an insured’s child and you’re living in a condo away from your parents while you are experimenting to see if this situation is right for you.
- A child of an insured who is in the military. But if you are in the military and you marry and live in a different house with your spouse then you are not considered a resident relative of your parent’s house in terms of uninsured motorist coverage.
- A child of parents who are divorced is entitled to UM under both parent’s policies if the parents have shared custody.
- An insured’s relative (through blood or marriage), if living in a rented apartment in a different city while attending college, university or vocational school. General Guaranty Insurance Co. v. Broxsie, 239 So.2d 595 (Fla. 1st DCA 1970).
- A child from another state who is temporarily living with relatives in Florida while attempting to find a job.
- Relatives who are temporarily living with the insured if their house is being repaired.
Are You a “Resident Relative” of a Steprelative?
Although there isn’t an exact Florida law on point, the case law seems to imply that steprelatives are considered “relatives” for purposes of UM.
In Hunt v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company, 349 So.2d 642 (Fla. 1st DCA 1977), Mike Hunt was injured while riding as a passenger in a truck. This wasn’t my case.
It was a one vehicle accident. He settled the case with the driver of the truck and the driver’s liability insurer, Florida Farm Bureau.
Hunt then sued to under two separate car insurance policies issued to his mother, Wilma, and to her husband and his stepfather, James.
Hartford Insured Mike’s Stepdad
Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company insured Mike Hunt’s step-father, James. Hartford’s argued that Hunt wasn’t a relative of the named insured, James.
The language in the Hartford UM policy said that an insured is “the first person named in the declaration and if a resident of the household, his spouse and the relatives of either…”
The court said Hunt is:
- the son of Wilma, the spouse of James.
- a resident of the names insured (James) household
Thus, the court said that Hunt is covered under James’ UM policy with Hartford. Based on this case, I think the following are “relatives” under Florida UIM law.
- Stepchildren (Stepson and Stepdaughter).
- Stepparents (stepmom, stepmother, stepdad and stepfather).
- Stepbrother, stepsister
- Half-brothers, half-sisters.
It is also important to know what Class II insureds are.
Uninsured motorist insurance is a complicated subject. Even attorneys who have practicing 30+ years will agree on this.
I received a call from an attorney from another state. He wanted to see if the resident of his state could qualify under his parent’s Florida uninsured motorist insurance. The claimant’s parent lived in Florida.
The attorney left me this kind 5 star review on my law firm’s Google local business listing:
I am an attorney licensed to practice law in New Mexico. I called Mr. Ziegler’s law office to discuss Florida uninsured motorist law and was able to speak to Justin within seconds. He was very knowledgable and thoroughly answered my questions. It appears that Florida residents are in good hands when they hire Justin to represent them for their personal injury needs.
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