Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and “Regular Use” of an Employer’s Vehicle

May 16, 2022 General

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and “Regular Use” of an Employer’s Vehicle

For many years, insurance companies in Louisiana refused to provide uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UM/UIM”) coverage if a policyholder was driving a vehicle provided by an employer for “regular use.” Regular use, for example, might include a situation where an employer provides a vehicle for transportation to and from work every day. However, this refusal to provide UM/UIM coverage for “regular use” of an employer’s vehicle has been abolished here in Louisiana. If your insurance carrier is still including this as a coverage exception or has denied coverage on this basis, your insurance company is violating the law. Here is a brief explanation.

What is Louisiana UM/UIM coverage?

If you are in an accident caused by some other driver, you are entitled to compensation for any and all injuries and damage caused by the other driver. Usually, that compensation is provided by the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.

While all drivers in Louisiana are required, by law, to have insurance, sadly, there are cases where an at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage. When that happens, the accident victim can make a claim against his or her own insurance policy if you have purchased UM/UIM coverage. This is the “uninsured” part of UM/UIM insurance coverage.

Another problem that occurs sometimes is insufficient insurance. So, as an example, instead of the at-fault driver having NO insurance, he or she only has the minimum amount of insurance but that is not enough coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries and damage to your car. When this happens, again, the accident victim can make a claim against his or her own insurance policy. This is the “underinsured” part of UM/UIM coverage.

UM/UIM coverage applies regardless of the vehicle you are driving

If you have purchased it, UM/UIM coverage generally applies regardless of the vehicle you are driving. UM/UIM coverage is a type of insurance that attaches to the driver, not to the vehicle. This means that you have UM/UIM coverage if you are driving a car borrowed from a friend or member of your family or if you are in a rental car.

UM/UIM now also applies if you are driving a vehicle on loan from your employer even if you are allowed to use your employer’s vehicle for “regular use.” As noted, the law recently changed in this respect. Insurance companies are no longer allowed to refuse UM/UIM coverage for a vehicle that is used regularly by a driver. See Higgins v. La. Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co., 315 So.3d 838 (La. Supreme Court 2021). In that case, an AT&T employee was driving his employer vehicle when he was injured in a crash. The at-fault driver had no insurance and AT&T had no UM/ UIM coverage. As a result, the employee sought to use his own UM/UIM insurance coverage. But, his insurance carrier denied coverage since he used the AT&T vehicle on a regular basis. When it reached the high court, the Louisiana Supreme Court rebuked the insurance company and outlawed the “regular use” policy exclusion.

If you are in a fight with your insurance carrier about UM/UIM coverage, contact us for legal counsel and advice.

Our Attorneys Can Help

For more information, contact the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success handling many types of Louisiana personal injury cases, including car accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability accidents, and cases involving nursing care facility abuse/neglect. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.