Although waivers and terms of conditions are extremely long, people worry about signing their rights away if they do not read the waiver in its entirety. This is especially true in the context of insurance. Insurance companies may try to hide a waiver of coverage behind hyperlinks or in small font. However, when this is the case, customers in Florida can hold their insurance companies accountable and file a claim based on the ineffective waiver of coverage. An ineffective waiver of coverage claim argues that the insurance company failed to advise their clients about their coverage, as well as the coverage they were waiving by signing the form.
In a recent Florida appellate court case, the court was tasked with deciding whether an insurance company effectively informed customers they were waiving their right to uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. All of the plaintiffs rejected or lowered UM coverage through the insurance company’s online signature process; however, the process was hidden and made it nearly impossible to know what they were signing away. Because of this, the plaintiffs sued the insurance company, alleging the insurance company’s coverage rejection process failed to comply with Florida law and did not properly advise policyholders of UM coverage options.
Florida law requires insurance companies give customers the opportunity to purchase UM coverage that is at least equal to the amount of bodily injury coverage. If the customer wishes to lower their UM coverage limit or reject the coverage altogether, they must sign a form indicating they are rejecting UM coverage. This is called an M9 form. The heading of the form must state in bold and size twelve font: “You are electing not to purchase certain valuable coverage which protects you and your family or you are purchasing uninsured motorist limits less than your bodily injury liability limits when you sign this form. Please read carefully.”
However, insurance companies often do not make this waiver of coverage clear, making it difficult for consumers to know whether they have UM coverage or not. In the above case, the insurance company kept their M9 form – by which the customer could reject or lower UM coverage – behind a hyperlink. A customer could e-sign the M9 form without ever viewing it. To combat this, potential plaintiffs must show the insurance company’s waiver of coverage was ineffective. A waiver of coverage form is ineffective if it does not present the boldface warning directly to the customer. Because the insurance company hid the warning behind a hyperlink, it was not directly accessible to the customer. Thus, the court ruled that the waiver was ineffective since customers were unaware of the coverage they were signing away.
Because it may be difficult for individuals to factually prove that their insurance company’s waiver of coverage was ineffective, potential plaintiffs should contact an experienced attorney before bringing a claim.
Have You Been Denied Insurance Coverage Following a Florida Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has been tricked by an ineffective waiver of coverage by an insurance company, contact the Florida car accident attorneys at the Grife Law Firm. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping clients financially recover, as well as tirelessly fighting against deceptive insurance companies. You can trust that your case is in good hands when you decide to work with us. To schedule a free initial consultation today, call us at 855-998-0770.