Tip: When you are researching uninsured motorist law, remember that many cases were decided using the older version of this statute. Use the statute that existed when the policy is renewed or issued.
Example – If Careless Driver Has No Insurance; UM Covers You
You are driving a car in Florida. Assume that the car insurance policy that covers the car has UM insurance on it.
A driver of another car rear ends you. You’re hurt.
You send a letter to the careless driver’s insurer asking for the driver’s BIL insurance limits. (The letter should typically ask for additional information but that is outside the scope of this article).
Assume that the careless driver has a Florida auto insurance policy. If so, then within 30 days of receiving your written request, the insurer must tell you, in writing, the limits of BI coverage. Florida Statute 627.4137
If the other driver doesn’t have BIL insurance, you can make a claim for compensation under the UM coverage of the car that you were driving.
What Happens if the Careless Driver Has BIL Insurance, But Not Enough?
Assume that the tortfeasor (careless) driver has BIL insurance, but not enough to fully compensate the injured person or in the case of death, the personal representative, for personal injuries or wrongful death.
You then need to decide if you are willing to release the careless driver from all personal injury liability in exchange for his or her BIL insurance limits. If you are, and you want to make a UM insurance claim, you need to follow a procedure. Florida Statute 627.727(6)(a)
You send a copy of the settlement check, and the written disclosure of BIL insurance limits, to all underinsured motorist insurers that provide coverage. This written notice of the proposed settlement must be sent by certified or registered mail.
The UM insurer has 30 days to match the BIL insurer’s offer, or waive subrogation. Either way, you still have a UM claim against the UM insurer.
Example (Careless Driver is Underinsured; UM Covers You)
Mike is driving a car. Assume Mike is entitled to uninsured motorist insurance coverage. (Perhaps he had UM insurance on the car that he was driving. Maybe he was driving the car of a relative that Mike lived with, and the car had UM coverage on it.)
A driver of another car rear ends you and you are injured.
The other driver or owner has $10,000 in liability coverage, which is the most common scenario in Miami and throughout Florida.
Assume your bodily injury claim is worth $20,000. You can make a claim against the uninsured motorist insurance because the tortfeasor does not have enough liability coverage to pay for your bodily injury.
What Happens if You’re Hurt in Your Car (Without UM), But You Have UM on Another Car That You Own?
Assume that Bob is driving his own car in Florida. He doesn’t have uninsured motorist insurance on it.
Bob is hurt due to the negligence of an underinsured car. If Bob has non-stacking UM on another car that he owns, can he use that UM for this accident?
To answer this question, you have to read the car insurance policy (that has the UM) to see if it has an “owned auto” exclusion. If it does, Bob can’t use his UM from the vehicle that wasn’t involved in the accident.
There was a recent case where a motorcycle was not defined as an auto for the “owned auto” exclusion. Rather the “owned auto” was defined as four or more wheels. Thus, in that instance, there was UM coverage. However, if it had been an auto, there would have been no coverage. (If you know the case name, please let me know in the comments below and I will add it here.)
Would the answer be the same if Bob was injured in Florida, but was visiting from another state?
For example, let’s say that Bob was visiting from Georgia but was driving his Florida car without UM. In this instance, I think Bob’s Georgia uninsured motorist insurance (on the car that wasn’t involved in the accident) wouldn’t pay for his injuries. This is because Bob was driving his own car without UM coverage.
Articles on Florida Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage
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