Under and Uninsured Motorist (UIM) coverage protects individuals if they are involved in an accident with someone who does not have adequate amounts of insurance coverage. In Florida, many insurance companies allow customers to purchase “full coverage” insurance. Despite the name, full coverage insurance does not typically cover UIM coverage; instead, it refers to Florida’s minimum requirements. Moreover, Florida law does not require drivers to purchase bodily injury insurance coverage, which leads to a significant number of motorists operating their vehicles with insufficient insurance. UIM coverage works to protect drivers from having to pay substantial out of pocket costs after an accident.
The law requires Florida insurance companies to provide a UIM coverage option to policyholders. Customers who wish to reject the coverage must provide a waiver in writing. However, in many cases, insurance brokers do not express the necessity of the coverage and are quick to allow a policyholder to proceed with a waiver. As such, many people end up opting out of the coverage without understanding the significant financial repercussions they may encounter.
For example, recently, an appellate court in Florida issued an opinion stemming from a class-action lawsuit against Geico General Insurance Company. The plaintiffs in the class were comprised of Geico policyholders who rejected UIM coverage. The policyholders argued that Geico violated Florida’s UIM rejection coverage process. In Florida, the rejection must be in writing and fully advise the policyholder of the ramifications of opting out of the coverage. Further, policyholders may reject stacked coverage by signing the appropriate form. Here, before 2013, Geico’s online signature process required policyholders to click through screens to get to the electronic signature page. From 2013-2016 the insurance company required customers to view the form two times before signing; however, the form did not comply with state requirements. Finally, in 2016, Geico began displaying the form but did not require policyholders to click any links. In this case, the policyholders all waived UIM coverage during different periods and manner. The court held that the parties did not meet a class-action lawsuit’s requirements because they failed to establish commonality and typicality.
Although the plaintiffs did not meet the requirements of a class-action lawsuit, the case highlights the importance of thoroughly reading and understanding insurance policies. The failure to make an educated decision regarding coverage can have long-term financial consequences and impede a person’s right to recover damages after an accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?
If you have been seriously injured in a Florida car accident and are experiencing difficulties recovering adequate damages from the insurance company, contact Friedman, Rodman, Frank & Estrada. If your insurance company is engaging in bad faith or your policy does not cover your losses, our attorneys can help you understand your rights and remedies. We have extensive experience handling claims stemming from car accidents, truck accidents, defective products, nursing home abuse, and other personal injury accidents. Through our advice and representation, our clients have recovered substantial amounts of compensation for their medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 877-448-8585, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.