Last Update: 01/13/16
It’s not just the Named Insured who is covered under your car insurance.
After a car accident, you need to know what your auto insurance policy covers regarding personal injury and property damages but even before that question is answered, you need to determine if the person in the wreck is covered as an insured.
Named Insured is Defined in the Car Insurance Policy
The “named insured” in the insurance policy is pretty straight-forward to locate in the insurance contract. Usually it’s the person who is identified as “policyholder” in the paperwork along with his or her spouse. See our earlier post for details.
Additional Insureds Under a Florida Auto Insurance Policy
However, others may be covered whose names aren’t shown as Named Insureds in the policy. These are known as additional insureds and they will also be covered if they are in a traffic accident. It doesn’t matter that they are not identified or named as named insured in the insurance policy.
Who are Additional Insureds?
To find out others who are covered by your car insurance, you must read the insurance policy closely. This is because the insurance policy is a contract you have made with the insurance company. It’s important for you to know and understand what your insurance policy covers (and doesn’t cover). Not all car insurance policies are the same.
Policies sold by different insurance companies are different and have different pricing structures. All insurance policies, however, are contracts between you and the company and they are all regulated by Florida law.
And, all automobile insurance policies operate at their core in the same way: you pay them money, aka premiums, and they provide insurance within the limitations of the agreement.
So, Who is Covered?
To find out, refer to the definitions in the policy where “terms” and “definitions” appear. Here the “named insured” is shown as well as language that describes others that may be covered – like children and grandchildren, for instance.
A common example of an additional insured is a child that has gone off to college and is involved in a collision. Under Florida law, this driver can be considered as being insured under his or her parent’s car insurance policy. Similarly, a relative living at your home and driving your vehicle may be covered even if their name does not appear on the policy. See, State Farm v. Menendez, 70 So3d 566 (Fla. 2011).
Insurance Companies Fight Against Additional Coverage
It may be necessary to fight for coverage when additional insureds are involved in a car accident. The insurance company may deny your claim and later it may be shown that that denial was in error. The carrier may only agree to provide coverage after additional negotiations — or it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to force them to do the right thing.
If you are dealing with an insurance policy that applies to a car accident where the Named Insured was not the driver, then you may need the help and support of a Florida car accident lawyer to advocate for you with the insurance company.
An experienced car accident lawyer most likely will be aware of the tricks and standard defense arguments used by the carrier in the past to try and avoid coverage, and be able to deal with the company’s lawyers and adjusters summarily regarding covering an additional insured.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in an accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.