This is a disappointment every plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer experiences when learning that a wrongdoer’s bodily injury insurance coverage is negated by a “Named Driver Exclusion.” Hope is crushed like the vehicle in this blog.
The declarations page of a motor vehicle insurance policy will list the primary insured and other named insureds, usually family members with drivers licenses.
Bodily injury, or BI, coverage under the policy is protection, to the extent of the coverage limit, for personal injuries and economic losses sustained by third parties through an insured’s negligence. Coverage information will also be listed in the declarations page. Since BI is not mandatory, a first glance at the dec page with BI coverage provides some consolation to those harmed by a wrongdoer insured’s negligence.
A named driver exclusion quickly dashes any positive feelings. The exclusion is enforceable.
The exclusion does not eliminate property damage liability coverage under the policy, although it will cap the coverage amount to the minimum mandatory limit in Florida, $10,000. For example, a policy with a $25,000 PD – Liability limit will be reduced to $10,000 by the named driver exclusion.
The reason why the exclusion applies to BI but not PD – Liability is because the latter is mandatory while the former is not. See Bankers & Shippers Ins. Co. of New York v. Phoenix Assurance Co., 210 So.2d 715 (Fla.1968). (Interestingly, because BI is mandatory for persons convicted of DUI, the Named Driver Exclusion would not eliminate the coverage.)
Thankfully, we don’t see the exclusion very often. However, just today I had to break the good news/bad news to one of our clients who sustained a fractured hand in a crash. The good news was that he would receive money for the damage to his truck. The bad news was that he would not receive a penny for the damage to his hand.
Florida is one of only a handful of states in the country that does not require BI coverage to operate a vehicle on its streets and highways. Our legislators place more value on motor vehicles than human beings. There’s a push to make BI mandatory, but insurance companies are fighting the idea because it will cut into their profits.
We invite you to contact us toll-free at 866-785-GALE or by email to obtain a free, confidential consultation to learn your legal rights.
Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.