Insured’s Election of Non-Stacking Uninsured-Motorist Coverage

The Florida Supreme Court recently issued an opinion regarding whether a Named Insured’s Election of Non-Stacking Uninsured-Motorist Coverage is Binding on Behalf of all Insureds. Many people need to be reminded of the difference between Stacked and Non-Stacking car insurance. Stacked insurance is a method to increase your amount of auto coverage for underinsured and uninsured motorist bodily injury. Stacked coverage will only apply if you have more than one car covered. By stacking insurance, you can take advantage of increased underinsured and uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage for all cars under your policy.

Named Insured's Election of Non-Stacking Uninsured-Motorist Coverage

Stacking Auto Insurance:

Auto insurance stacking is combining coverage for underinsured and uninsured motorist bodily injury when you have multiple cars insured. By combining coverage, you can substantially increase the payment limits of your auto insurance if you have an accident with an uninsured motorist. For example, if you had $100,000/$200,000 coverage and decided to exercise the stacking option for a second car, stacked coverage for both cars would be 200,000/$400,000 (existing coverage times two cars). With three cars, the coverage would increase to $300,000/$600,000 and so forth for additional vehicles.

Non-stacked Auto Insurance:

When you have unstacked insurance coverage and have multiple cars on a policy, you do not have to stack the coverage. Referring to the example above , each car would be covered at $100,000/$200,000 individually. So it doesn’t  matter how many cars you have on the policy, the amount of coverage for each car stays the same. Unstacked coverage saves money in premium, because stacking coverage is more expensive . However, if you were to try to increase the coverage level of each car to the amount the stacked coverage would be, you’d find it even more expensive and more complicated than stacking.

The Benefit of Stacking Auto Insurance

The major gain to stacking insurance is that when you have multiple cars,  you can substantially increase your policy payment limits for uninsured and underinsured bodily injury. As you add coverage for two or three cars, those policy coverage limits will multiply significantly.

Therefore, if you become involved in a serious car accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, the stacked policy limits will increase the availability of coverage for any of your damages or medical expenses related to the accident. If the person who caused the accident does not have enough coverage, having stacked coverage can provide substantial gain for you to meet the gap between their coverage and the coverage you have available through your policy.

The Florida Supreme Court recently discussed the topic of non-stacked auto insurance in the Travelers Commercial Ins. v. Harrington, case. The Court was asked whether the named insured’s election of non-stacking uninsured-motorist coverage is binding on behalf of all insureds.

Is A Named Insured’s Election of Non-Stacking Uninsured-Motorist Coverage is Binding on Behalf of all Insureds?

The Court determined that a named insured’s election of non-stacking uninsured-motorist coverage in Florida is binding on behalf of all insureds under the insurance policy. Allowing additional insureds to stack coverage would have put the additional insureds in a better position than the named insured by giving them a benefit for which they did not pay. Moreover, allowing the additional insureds to stack coverage would have prevents the insurer from receiving the reduced liability risk for which the insurer bargained.

At the time of writing this article, the Traveler’s opinion was awaiting approval for publication. The opinion in this case and others issued by the Florida Supreme Court website.

If you have a question about this post or would like assistance with a contract or a matter in litigation please contact me. My office is located at 115 N. Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, Florida. My telephone number is (850)577-1699. My email address is Max@maxfactorlaw.com

Max Factor is a seasoned trial attorney who provides top-notch legal and consulting services to a broad range of clients including large companies, small businesses, governmental entities, not-for-profit entities, and individuals. He provides personal and detailed attention to each client’s case. Mr. Factor is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts within the State of Florida, State of Georgia, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

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