California Appeals Court Rules Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Policy Did Not Provide Coverage Without Express Endorsement

February 19, 2016

The California Court of Appeal Second Appellate District Div Two on Feb 3, 2016 held that even though an underlying primary policy provides uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage an EXCESS policy will not cover UM/UIM UNLESS it is expressly endorsed to cover same. The case is titled Haering v TOPA Ins 2016 DJDAR 1148. In Haering the insured suffered serious injuries that resulted in the payment of the primary limits of 1,000,000 UM/UIM less the $25,000 policy limit recovery from the underinsured at fault driver. He then demanded TOPA pay the $1,000,000 policy limit in the excess policy arguing it was a 'following form' excess policy which should thus also provide UM/UIM coverage. The court ruled that Insurance Code Section 11580.2 only requires UM/UIM in primary auto policies not excess policies. In the absence of statutory mandate that court looked to the policy and concluded that as written it was an agreement only to provide liability protection NOT first party UM/UIM coverage.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Always request your excess/umbrella policies to be endorsed to provide this IMPORTANT UM/UIM coverage.