2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 22:680 — Uninsured motorist coverage

§680.  Uninsured motorist coverage

The following provisions shall govern the issuance of uninsured motorist coverage in this state:

(1)(a)(i)  No automobile liability insurance covering liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state with respect to any motor vehicle designed for use on public highways and required to be registered in this state or as provided in this Section unless coverage is provided therein or supplemental thereto, in not less than the limits of bodily injury liability provided by the policy, under provisions filed with and approved by the commissioner of insurance, for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover nonpunitive damages from owners or operators of uninsured or underinsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death resulting therefrom; however, the coverage required under this Section is not applicable when any insured named in the policy either rejects coverage, selects lower limits, or selects economic-only coverage, in the manner provided in Item (1)(a)(ii) of this Section.  In no event shall the policy limits of an uninsured motorist policy be less than the minimum liability limits required under R.S. 32:900, unless economic-only coverage is selected as authorized herein.  Such coverage need not be provided in or supplemental to a renewal, reinstatement, or substitute policy when the named insured has rejected the coverage or selected lower limits in connection with a policy previously issued to him by the same insurer or any of its affiliates.  The coverage provided under this Section may exclude coverage for punitive or exemplary damages by the terms of the policy or contract.  Insurers may also make available, at a reduced premium, the coverage provided under this Section with an exclusion for all noneconomic loss.  This coverage shall be known as "economic-only" uninsured motorist coverage.  Noneconomic loss means any loss other than economic loss and includes but is not limited to pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and other noneconomic damages otherwise recoverable under the laws of this state.

(ii)  Such rejection, selection of lower limits, or selection of economic-only coverage shall be made only on a form prescribed by the commissioner of insurance.  The prescribed form shall be provided by the insurer and signed by the named insured or his legal representative.  The form signed by the named insured or his legal representative which initially rejects such coverage, selects lower limits, or selects economic-only coverage shall be conclusively presumed to become a part of the policy or contract when issued and delivered, irrespective of whether physically attached thereto.  A properly completed and signed form creates a rebuttable presumption that the insured knowingly rejected coverage, selected a lower limit, or selected economic-only coverage.  The form signed by the insured or his legal representative which initially rejects coverage, selects lower limits, or selects economic-only coverage shall remain valid for the life of the policy and shall not require the completion of a new selection form when a renewal, reinstatement, substitute, or amended policy is issued to the same named insured by the same insurer or any of its affiliates.  An insured may change the original uninsured motorist selection or rejection on a policy at any time during the life of the policy by submitting a new uninsured motorist selection form to the insurer on the form prescribed by the commissioner of insurance.  Any changes to an existing policy, regardless of whether these changes create new coverage, except changes in the limits of liability, do not create a new policy and do not require the completion of new uninsured motorist selection forms.  For the purpose of this Section, a new policy shall mean an original contract of insurance which an insured enters into through the completion of an application on the form required by the insurer.

(iii)  This Subparagraph and its requirement for uninsured motorist coverage shall apply to any liability insurance covering any accident which occurs in this state and involves a resident of this state.

(iv)  Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this Section and R.S. 22:1406, an automobile liability policy written to provide coverage for a school bus may limit the scope of uninsured motorist liability to only provide liability coverage for damages incurred by reason of an accident or incident involving the school bus, or a temporary substitute vehicle, and such limitation shall limit the uninsured motorist coverage of a named insured in the policy to only damages incurred by reason of such accident or incident.

(b)  Any insurer delivering or issuing an automobile liability insurance policy referred to herein shall also permit the insured, at his written request, to increase the coverage applicable to uninsured motor vehicles provided for herein to any available limit up to the bodily injury liability coverage limits afforded under the policy.

(c)(i)  If the insured has any limits of uninsured motorist coverage in a policy of automobile liability insurance, in accordance with the terms of Subparagraph (1)(a) of this Section, then such limits of liability shall not be increased because of multiple motor vehicles covered under said policy of insurance, and such limits of uninsured motorist coverage shall not be increased when the insured has insurance available to him under more than one uninsured motorist coverage provision or policy; however, with respect to other insurance available, the policy of insurance or endorsement shall provide the following:

(ii)  With respect to bodily injury to an injured party while occupying an automobile not owned by said injured party, resident spouse, or resident relative, the following priorities of recovery under uninsured motorist coverage shall apply:

(aa)  The uninsured motorist coverage on the vehicle in which the injured party was an occupant is primary;

(bb)  Should that primary uninsured motorist coverage be exhausted due to the extent of damages, then the injured occupant may recover as excess from other uninsured motorist coverage available to him.  In no instance shall more than one coverage from more than one uninsured motorist policy be available as excess over and above the primary coverage available to the injured occupant.

(d)  Unless the named insured has rejected uninsured motorist coverage, the insurer issuing an automobile liability policy that does not afford collision coverage for a vehicle insured thereunder shall, at the written request of a named insured, provide coverage in the amount of the actual cash value of such motor vehicle described in the policy or ten thousand dollars, whichever is less, for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of property damage to the motor vehicle described in the policy arising out of the operation, maintenance, or use of the uninsured motor vehicle.  The coverage provided under this Section shall be subject to a deductible in an amount of two hundred fifty dollars for any one accident.  The coverage provided under this Section shall not provide protection for any of the following:

(i)  Damage where there is no actual physical contact between the covered motor vehicle and an uninsured motor vehicle, unless the injured party can show, by an independent and disinterested witness, that the injury was the result of the actions of the driver of another vehicle whose identity is unknown or who is uninsured or underinsured.

(ii)  Loss of use of a motor vehicle.

(iii)  Damages which are paid or payable under any other property insurance.

(e)  The uninsured motorist coverage does not apply to bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death of an insured resulting therefrom, while occupying a motor vehicle owned by the insured if such motor vehicle is not described in the policy under which a claim is made, or is not a newly acquired or replacement motor vehicle covered under the terms of the policy.  This provision shall not apply to uninsured motorist coverage provided in a policy that does not describe specific motor vehicles.

(f)  Uninsured motorist coverage shall include coverage for bodily injury arising out of a motor vehicle accident caused by an automobile which has no physical contact with the injured party or with a vehicle which the injured party is occupying at the time of the accident, provided that the injured party bears the burden of proving, by an independent and disinterested witness, that the injury was the result of the actions of the driver of another vehicle whose identity is unknown or who is uninsured or underinsured.

(2)(a)  For the purpose of this coverage, the terms "uninsured motor vehicle" shall, subject to the terms and conditions of such coverage, be deemed to include an insured motor vehicle where the liability insurer thereof is unable to make payment with respect to the legal liability of its insured within the limits specified therein because of insolvency.

(b)  For the purposes of this coverage the term uninsured motor vehicle shall, subject to the terms and conditions of such coverage, also be deemed to include an insured motor vehicle when the automobile liability insurance coverage on such vehicle is less than the amount of damages suffered by an insured and/or the passengers in the insured's vehicle at the time of an accident, as agreed to by the parties and their insurers or as determined by final adjudication.

(3)  Any party possessing a certificate of self-insurance as provided under the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law, shall be an "insurer" within the meaning of uninsured motorist coverage provided under the provisions of this Section.  This provision shall not be construed to require that a party possessing a certificate of self-insurance provide uninsured motorist coverage or that such coverage is provided by any party possessing such a certificate.

(4)  In the event of payment to any person under the coverage required by this Section and R.S. 22:1406 and subject to the terms and conditions of such coverage, the insurer making such payment shall, to the extent thereof, be entitled to the proceeds of any settlement or judgment resulting from the exercise of any rights of recovery of such person against any person or organization legally responsible for the bodily injury for which such payment is made, including the proceeds recoverable from the assets of the insolvent insurer.

(5)  The coverage required under this Section may include provisions for the submission of claims by the assured to arbitration; provided, however, that the submission to arbitration shall be optional with the assured, shall not deprive the assured of his right to bring action against the insurer to recover any sums due him under the terms of the policy, and shall not purport to deprive the courts of this state of jurisdiction of actions against the insurer.

(6)  In any action to enforce a claim under the uninsured motorist provisions of an automobile liability policy the following shall be admissible as prima facie proof that the owner and operator of the vehicle involved did not have automobile liability insurance in effect on the date of the accident in question:

(a)  The introduction of sworn notarized affidavits from the owner and the operator of the alleged uninsured vehicle attesting to their current addresses and declaring that they did not have automobile liability insurance in effect covering the vehicle in question on the date of the accident in question.  When the owner and the operator of the vehicle in question are the same person, this fact shall be attested to in a single affidavit.

(b)  A sworn notarized affidavit by an official of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to the effect that inquiry has been made pursuant to R.S. 32:871 by depositing the inquiry with the United States mail, postage prepaid, to the address of the owner and operator as shown on the accident report, and that neither the owner nor the operator has responded within thirty days of the inquiry, or that the owner or operator, or both, have responded negatively as to the required security, or a sworn notarized affidavit by an official of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections that said department has not or cannot make an inquiry regarding insurance.  This affidavit shall be served by certified mail upon all parties fifteen days prior to introduction into evidence.

(c)  Any admissible evidence showing that the owner and operator of the alleged uninsured vehicle was a nonresident or not a citizen of Louisiana on the date of the accident in question, or that the residency and citizenship of the owner or operator of the alleged uninsured vehicle is unknown, together with a sworn notarized affidavit by an official of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to the effect that on the date of the accident in question, neither the owner nor the operator had in effect a policy of automobile liability insurance.

(d)  The effect of the prima facie evidence referred to in (a), (b) and (c) above is to shift the burden of proof from the party or parties alleging the uninsured status of the vehicle in question to their uninsured motorist insurer.

(7)  Repealed by Acts 2003, No. 456, §2.

Acts 2003, No. 456, §§1, 2, and 3.

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