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Florida Second DCA rules that standard State Farm UM policy language permissibly excludes coverage for injuries sustained by household family members in vehicles for which UM coverage has not been purchased.

On October 5, 2018, in State Farm v. Lyde, No. 2D17-1014, the Florida Second DCA ruled that the standard policy language in State Farm Policy Form 9810A permissibly precluded a family member living in the policy owner’s household from claiming uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for an accident that occurred in the family member’s car, a vehicle not listed under the policy. The State Farm policy includes an exclusion which provides that there is no coverage for an insured (which includes a family member living with the policy owner) who sustains bodily injury while occupying a vehicle owned by either the policy owner or any resident relative if the vehicle is neither named on the policy’s declarations page nor a newly acquired motor vehicle.

The policy in this case included only the mother on the declarations page. The daughter’s vehicle involved in the accident was not a covered vehicle under the policy. After concluding that the policy language in fact excluded the daughter’s claim, the Second DCA went on to conclude that the exclusion was permissible under Florida law, noting that while historically UM protection follows the person and not the vehicle, the Florida Legislature has approved certain limitations on this general application, including a limitation excluding coverage for injuries sustained while occupying a vehicle for which UM coverage has not been purchased and which is owned by an insured under the policy.

See F.S. § 627.727(9). The twist in this case, which was ultimately treated as irrelevant by the Second DCA, is that the daughter’s vehicle did have UM State Farm coverage, simply under another policy and in a much lower amount than the mother’s policy. The Second DCA quoted from a previous decision, Akel v. Dorcelus, 793 So. 2d 1049, 1052 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001), that the intent of subsection (9) “is to exclude coverage under the uninsured motorist provisions of a particular policy when injury is suffered in a vehicle to which the particular policy does not apply."