Insurance Stacking in Florida Car Accidents

July 13, 2020

When someone is injured in a Florida car accident, determining their insurance coverage and potential recovery amount is essential. However, the process may be more complicated when the at-fault driver does not have insurance. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and insurance stacking can come into play and help pay for accident-related expenses when a person is hit by a driver without insurance. While Florida law allows for insurance stacking after an accident, there are limitations depending on the type of insurance issued and the specifics of the accident.

In Florida, insurance stacking is often used to increase a person’s uninsured motorist coverage by combining the limits of each policy on every car insured. For example, if a motorist has stackable UM coverage on a car for $30,000 and stackable UM coverage on a different car for $60,000, they can stack their coverage limits for a combined coverage of up to $90,000 in case of an accident with an uninsured driver. Stacked UM coverage can be helpful to ensure a person’s full expenses are met, as it provides protection whenever or wherever the insured person is injured by an uninsured motorist.

On the other hand, non-stacked UM coverage does not allow the combination of policies, and the UM coverage is solely for the amount listed on each policy. If a person has a non-stacked policy limit for $30,000 for one vehicle, that is the maximum amount the person could collect after an accident. Because of its limited scope, non-stacked UM coverage is often less expensive.

There are limitations to insurance stacking in Florida, as illustrated in a recent Florida appellate court opinion. The court determined that the plaintiffs, who were injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist, were unable to collect from both non-stacked UM coverage benefits of the defendant, an insurance company, and the stacked benefits of their own coverage. Evidently, at the time of the accident, the plaintiffs were driving a car not insured in their names but under a non-stacked UM coverage issued by the defendant. The plaintiffs also had stackable insurance for three other vehicles in their names. After the accident, the plaintiffs wished to stack their UM insurance policies as well as receive benefits from the non-stacked coverage from the defendant. However, the court concluded that because the plaintiffs were injured in a vehicle that was not owned or insured by them, Florida law dictates the plaintiff had to choose either the defendant’s non-stacked UM benefits or the stacked UM policies from their own insurance, but not both. By electing to receive the greater stacked benefits, they automatically elected not to receive the lesser non-stacked benefits under the defendant’s policy.

Because determining insurance coverage after a car accident may be difficult, it is critical to consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can help accident victims navigate the complexities of Florida insurance stacking law.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been recently injured in a Florida car accident, contact the attorneys at the Grife Law Firm. With decades of experience handling even the most challenging personal injury claims, we know what it takes to successfully recover substantial compensation on behalf of our injured clients. Our lawyers work tirelessly to fight for you while explaining complex legal issues so you know what is going on throughout the process. To learn more, and to schedule a risk-free consultation, contact us at 855-998-0770.