Stacking Insurance Policies in an Accident Claim

Posted on: May 22, 2018
stacking insurance

The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) provides guidelines to coverage limits of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (“UM/UIM”) policies.

Drivers owning more than one vehicle and responsible for purchase of multiple policies can sometimes benefit from additional UM/UIM insurance coverage in the case of an accident.

Stacking insurance coverage can increase the level of UM/UIM policy compensation in the case of accident when the other party is uninsured, at-fault, and you are injured.

Stacking UM/UIM Claims in Florida

Florida law allows for stacking of insurance policies if an insurer agrees to combined coverage limits, without increasing the amount paid for liability coverage.

Claimants in dispute with insurers for not honoring a stacked UM/UIM insurance claim will often file a lawsuit.

A licensed attorney at law experienced in matters of insurance litigation can assist a client in getting the recovery they deserve on an accident claim in court.

The Legal History of “Stacking”

In a 2018 Florida appellate court ruling that a Geico policyholder could not orally waive stacking of uninsured motorist (“UM”) insurance coverage claims, the district court’s final judgment in favor of the major motorist insurer was reversed (Jervis’ v. Castenada and Geico Insurance Company, District Court of Appeal, Fla. No. 4D17 – 332 (2018)). In the appellate court decision citing Florida law Section 627.727(1), the judge held that to legally limit coverage, the insurer must provide written notice which is “a mandatory prerequisite to an insured’s waiver of the right to UM coverage.”

Without such notice, there would be “no informed and knowing acceptance of the limitations on stacking,” said the court.

Therefore, defense that the insured orally and knowingly rejected stacked coverage was a claim made in the absence of the statutory notice.

The act of omission held that the court ignored the mandate that the notice must precede any denial of the insured’s claim. The appellate court remanded the case for entry of a final judgment in favor of the insured, The Jervises, enforcing their rights to stacked UM coverage.

In another lawsuit against Geico, Brannan v. Geico et al, No. 1:2012cv00238 – Document 134 (N.D. Fla. 2013), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida enforced “stacking” limits, thus capping the compensation the plaintiff was owed after an accident.

The plaintiff held two insurance policies with the company at the time of accident, and argued that he was entitled to the full allowable compensation of $10,000 per the motorcycle insurance policy, plus an additional $300,000 under his automobile policy.

The District Court granted Geico’s motion for summary judgment denying the plaintiff “stacked” UM coverage.

A Florida Supreme Court decision from 1933 in Prudential v. Swindal, citing that the court “may not rewrite a contract of insurance, extending the coverage afforded beyond that plainly set forth in the insurance contract,” supported the defense that “insurance contracts are construed in accordance with the plain language of the policies as bargained for by the parties.”

Contact an Insurance Law Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident and seek recovery on an UM/UIM claim in Florida, a licensed attorney at law specializing in insurance law can represent your case in court.

FL Legal Group is a licensed attorney practice in Florida, with experience in insurance litigation and accident liability claims.

Click here or call 1-800-984-9951 for consultation about an accident related UM/UIM insurance claim.

References

Brannon v. Geico Indemnity Company et al, No. 1:2012cv00238 – Document 134 (N.D. Fla.
2013), Justia, https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-
courts/florida/flndce/1:2012cv00238/67989/134/
Florida DMV, Stacking Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (last visited May 5,
2018) https://www.dmv.org/insurance/stacking-uninsured-and-underinsured-motorist-
coverage.php
Jervis’ v. Castenada and Geico Insurance Company, District Court of Appeal, Fla. No. 4D17 –
332 (2018), Justia (last viewed May 5, 2018), https://law.justia.com/cases/florida/fourth-district-
court-of-appeal/2018/17-0332.html

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Author: FLLegalGroup
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