Spousal Immunity and Family Exclusions in Car Insurance Policies

Being in a car accident is bad enough when you’re alone, but if your spouse or family member is in the car with you your concerns may quickly multiply. The top priority is obtaining medical care for all family members’ injuries, and you expect your car insurance company to pay for auto damages and your PIP to cover medical expenses. Some insurance companies include a “family exclusion” however, which can prevent family members injured in an accident in your car from collecting reimbursement, even if you are fully insured. If you have suffered an auto accident and are in dispute with your insurance company over this type of exclusion in your policy, you may want to consider contacting an attorney with the Coye Law Firm immediately. Lawyers at the Coye Law Firm are experienced in Florida car insurance and auto accident injury claims. 


Family Exclusions, aka Intrafamily Exclusions, aka Household Exclusions

Historically, the family exclusion limitation was put into auto insurance policies to prevent and eliminate fraudulent claims. Insurance companies are attempting to decrease the amount of claims filed by two people cooperating in a deceitful way to purposefully cause damage which would be covered and paid for. So, rather than being an accident, the damage is planned in a secret agreement. This type of fraud is known as collusion. 

However, the family exclusion can apply if a married couple , parent and child, or members of the same residence are in a car accident together. If you are the insured driver in an accident where your passengers are family members - or roommates - and they are injured, then your insurance company may restrict the monetary compensation to a percentage of the normal or needed amount, or the insurance payment may be capped at a pre-determined amount, regardless of the actual cost of the person’s injuries. 

Attorneys at the Coye Law Firm highly recommend you thoroughly read and review your insurance policies to see if they include this exclusion for family and household members. We have compiled several common auto insurance policies at our webpage for car insurance for your convenience and reference. You can also find additional information at our Motor Vehicle FAQ page. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident where the insurance company is denying your claim or limiting your payment because of a family exclusion in the policy, you may want to discuss the matter further with an experienced insurance attorney or personal injury attorney at the Coye Law Firm.


Spousal Tort Immunity

According to the online legal dictionary, a tort is “a civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury occurs to another” and immunity is “exemption from penalties, payments or legal requirements, granted by authorities or statutes.” USLegal.com , therefore defines the combination of these ideas between spouses, interspousal tort immunity, as “a common law doctrine which prohibits spouses from suing each other.” 

The laws regarding interspousal tort immunity vary by state. Florida does not have this kind of immunity and allows for spouses to sue one another for negligent or purposeful actions. Therefore, in regards to car insurance and accidents, if you are driving in Florida and are involved in an auto accident which was caused by your spouse, there may be actions of lawsuits that you can take to receive compensation for your damages. If you are a tourist in Florida from another state and injured while visiting here, it is important that you consult a Florida auto accident attorney to understand the local laws and your rights for compensation. 

This clash of Florida tort law and family exclusions in insurance policies from out-of-state companies can become very complicated quickly. The experienced car insurance and personal injury lawyers with the Coye Law Firm know the options for litigation and the specifics of Florida tort law, and may be able to advise you about your rights and the process for seeking compensation for your injuries – regardless of who is at fault for them.


Seeking Legal Counsel

If you’ve been in an automobile accident, you may quickly find auto insurance claims for yourself and others become complex, especially if the passengers are family members and your insurance policy includes a family or household exclusion. Any car accident has the potential to be life-changing, and the attorneys with the Coye Law Firm are dedicated to fighting for consumer rights in personal injury, auto accidents, insurance claims, and tort litigation. They may be able to help you understand your rights and options. Contact a Coye Law Firm attorney today.