Code Section

Insurance Code - INS

DIVISION 2. CLASSES OF INSURANCE [1880 - 12880.5]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )
  

PART 3. LIABILITY, WORKERS' COMPENSATION, AND COMMON CARRIER LIABILITY INSURANCE [11550 - 11895]

  ( Heading of Part 3 amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 373. )
  

CHAPTER 1. General Regulations [11550 - 11629.88]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )
  

ARTICLE 2. Actions on Policies Containing Liability Provisions [11580 - 11589.5]
  ( Article 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )

  
11580.2.  

(a) (1) No policy of bodily injury liability insurance covering liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle, except for policies that provide insurance in the Republic of Mexico issued or delivered in this state by nonadmitted Mexican insurers, shall be issued or delivered in this state to the owner or operator of a motor vehicle, or shall be issued or delivered by any insurer licensed in this state upon any motor vehicle then principally used or principally garaged in this state, unless the policy contains, or has added to it by endorsement, a provision with coverage limits at least equal to the limits specified in subdivision (m) and in no case less than the financial responsibility requirements specified in Section 16056 of the Vehicle Code insuring the insured, the insured’s heirs or legal representative for all sums within the limits that he, she, or they, as the case may be, shall be legally entitled to recover as damages for bodily injury or wrongful death from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle. The insurer and any named insured, prior to or subsequent to the issuance or renewal of a policy, may, by agreement in writing, in the form specified in paragraph (2) or paragraph (3), (1) delete the provision covering damage caused by an uninsured motor vehicle completely, or (2) delete the coverage when a motor vehicle is operated by a natural person or persons designated by name, or (3) agree to provide the coverage in an amount less than that required by subdivision (m) but not less than the financial responsibility requirements specified in Section 16056 of the Vehicle Code. Any of these agreements by any named insured or agreement for the amount of coverage shall be binding upon every insured to whom the policy or endorsement provisions apply while the policy is in force, and shall continue to be so binding with respect to any continuation or renewal of the policy or with respect to any other policy that extends, changes, supersedes, or replaces the policy issued to the named insured by the same insurer, or with respect to reinstatement of the policy within 30 days of any lapse thereof. A policy shall be excluded from the application of this section if the automobile liability coverage is provided only on an excess or umbrella basis. Nothing in this section shall require that uninsured motorist coverage be offered or provided in any homeowner policy, personal and residents’ liability policy, comprehensive personal liability policy, manufacturers’ and contractors’ policy, premises liability policy, special multiperil policy, or any other policy or endorsement where automobile liability coverage is offered as incidental to some other basic coverage, notwithstanding that the policy may provide automobile or motor vehicle liability coverage on insured premises or the ways immediately adjoining.

(2) The agreement specified in paragraph (1) to delete the provision covering damage caused by an uninsured motor vehicle completely or delete the coverage when a motor vehicle is operated by a natural person or persons designated by name shall be in the following form:

“The California Insurance Code requires an insurer to provide uninsured motorists coverage in each bodily injury liability insurance policy it issues covering liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle. Those provisions also permit the insurer and the applicant to delete the coverage completely or to delete the coverage when a motor vehicle is operated by a natural person or persons designated by name. Uninsured motorists coverage insures the insured, his or her heirs, or legal representatives for all sums within the limits established by law, that the person or persons are legally entitled to recover as damages for bodily injury, including any resulting sickness, disease, or death, to the insured from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle not owned or operated by the insured or a resident of the same household. An uninsured motor vehicle includes an underinsured motor vehicle as defined in subdivision (p) of Section 11580.2 of the Insurance Code.”

The agreement may contain additional statements not in derogation of or in conflict with the foregoing. The execution of the agreement shall relieve the insurer of liability under this section while the agreement remains in effect.

(3) The agreement specified in paragraph (1) to provide coverage in an amount less than that required by subdivision (m) shall be in the following form:

“The California Insurance Code requires an insurer to provide uninsured motorists coverage in each bodily injury liability insurance policy it issues covering liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle. Those provisions also permit the insurer and the applicant to agree to provide the coverage in an amount less than that required by subdivision (m) of Section 11580.2 of the Insurance Code but not less than the financial responsibility requirements. Uninsured motorists coverage insures the insured, his or her heirs, or legal representatives for all sums within the limits established by law, that the person or persons are legally entitled to recover as damages for bodily injury, including any resulting sickness, disease, or death, to the insured from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle not owned or operated by the insured or a resident of the same household. An uninsured motor vehicle includes an underinsured motor vehicle as defined in subdivision (p) of Section 11580.2 of the Insurance Code.”

The agreement may contain additional statements not in derogation of or in conflict with this paragraph. However, it shall be presumed that an application for a policy of bodily injury liability insurance containing uninsured motorist coverage in an amount less than that required by subdivision (m), signed by the named insured and approved by the insurer, with a policy effective date after January 1, 1985, shall be a valid agreement as to the amount of uninsured motorist coverage to be provided.

(b) As used in subdivision (a), “bodily injury” includes sickness or disease, including death, resulting therefrom; “named insured” means only the individual or organization named in the declarations of the policy of motor vehicle bodily injury liability insurance referred to in subdivision (a); as used in subdivision (a) if the named insured is an individual “insured” means the named insured and the spouse of the named insured and, while residents of the same household, relatives of either while occupants of a motor vehicle or otherwise, heirs and any other person while in or upon or entering into or alighting from an insured motor vehicle and any person with respect to damages he or she is entitled to recover for care or loss of services because of bodily injury to which the policy provisions or endorsement apply; as used in subdivision (a), if the named insured is an entity other than an individual, “insured” means any person while in or upon or entering into or alighting from an insured motor vehicle and any person with respect to damages he or she is entitled to recover for care or loss of services because of bodily injury to which the policy provisions or endorsement apply. As used in this subdivision, “individual” shall not include persons doing business as corporations, partnerships, or associations. As used in this subdivision, “insured motor vehicle” means the motor vehicle described in the underlying insurance policy of which the uninsured motorist endorsement or coverage is a part, a temporary substitute automobile for which liability coverage is provided in the policy or a newly acquired automobile for which liability coverage is provided in the policy if the motor vehicle is used by the named insured or with his or her permission or consent, express or implied, and any other automobile not owned by or furnished for the regular use of the named insured or any resident of the same household, or by a natural person or persons for whom coverage has been deleted in accordance with subdivision (a) while being operated by the named insured or his or her spouse if a resident of the same household, but “insured motor vehicle” shall not include any automobile while used as a public or livery conveyance. As used in this section, “uninsured motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle with respect to the ownership, maintenance or use of which there is no bodily injury liability insurance or bond applicable at the time of the accident, or there is the applicable insurance or bond but the company writing the insurance or bond denies coverage thereunder or refuses to admit coverage thereunder except conditionally or with reservation, or an “underinsured motor vehicle” as defined in subdivision (p), or a motor vehicle used without the permission of the owner thereof if there is no bodily injury liability insurance or bond applicable at the time of the accident with respect to the owner or operator thereof, or the owner or operator thereof be unknown, provided that, with respect to an “uninsured motor vehicle” whose owner or operator is unknown:

(1) The bodily injury has arisen out of physical contact of the automobile with the insured or with an automobile that the insured is occupying.

(2) The insured or someone on his or her behalf has reported the accident within 24 hours to the police department of the city where the accident occurred or, if the accident occurred in unincorporated territory then either to the sheriff of the county where the accident occurred or to the local headquarters of the California Highway Patrol, and has filed with the insurer within 30 days thereafter a statement under oath that the insured or his or her legal representative has or the insured’s heirs have a cause of action arising out of the accident for damages against a person or persons whose identity is unascertainable and set forth facts in support thereof. As used in this section, “uninsured motor vehicle” shall not include a motor vehicle owned or operated by the named insured or any resident of the same household or self-insured within the meaning of the Financial Responsibility Law of the state in which the motor vehicle is registered or that is owned by the United States of America, Canada, a state or political subdivision of any of those governments or an agency of any of the foregoing, or a land motor vehicle or trailer while located for use as a residence or premises and not as a vehicle, or any equipment or vehicle designed or modified for use primarily off public roads, except while actually upon public roads.

As used in this section, “uninsured motor vehicle” also means 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. An insurer’s solvency protection shall be applicable only to accidents occurring during a policy period in which its insured’s motor vehicle coverage is in effect where the liability insurer of the tortfeasor becomes insolvent within one year of the accident. In the event of payment to any person under the coverage required by this section and subject to the terms and conditions of the coverage, the insurer making the payment, shall to the extent thereof, be entitled to any proceeds that may be recoverable from the assets of the insolvent insurer through any settlement or judgment of the person against the insolvent insurer.

Nothing in this section is intended to exclude from the definition of an uninsured motor vehicle any motorcycle or private passenger-type four-wheel drive motor vehicle if that vehicle was subject to and failed to comply with the Financial Responsibility Law of this state.

(c) The insurance coverage provided for in this section does not apply either as primary or as excess coverage:

(1) To property damage sustained by the insured.

(2) To bodily injury of the insured while in or upon or while entering into or alighting from a motor vehicle other than the described motor vehicle if the owner thereof has insurance similar to that provided in this section.

(3) To bodily injury of the insured with respect to which the insured or his or her representative shall, without the written consent of the insurer, make any settlement with or prosecute to judgment any action against any person who may be legally liable therefor.

(4) In any instance where it would inure directly or indirectly to the benefit of any workers’ compensation carrier or to any person qualified as a self-insurer under any workers’ compensation law, or directly to the benefit of the United States, or any state or any political subdivision thereof.

(5) To establish proof of financial responsibility as provided in Section 16054 of the Vehicle Code.

(6) To bodily injury of the insured while occupying a motor vehicle owned by an insured or leased to an insured under a written contract for a period of six months or longer, unless the occupied vehicle is an insured motor vehicle. “Motor vehicle” as used in this paragraph means any self-propelled vehicle.

(7) To bodily injury of the insured when struck by a vehicle owned by an insured, except when the injured insured’s vehicle is being operated, or caused to be operated, by a person without the injured insured’s consent in connection with criminal activity that has been documented in a police report and that the injured insured is not a party to.

(8) To bodily injury of the insured while occupying a motor vehicle rented or leased to the insured for public or livery purposes.

(d) Subject to paragraph (2) of subdivision (c), the policy or endorsement may provide that if the insured has insurance available to the insured under more than one uninsured motorist coverage provision, any damages shall not be deemed to exceed the higher of the applicable limits of the respective coverages, and the damages shall be prorated between the applicable coverages as the limits of each coverage bear to the total of the limits.

(e) The policy or endorsement added thereto may provide that if the insured has valid and collectible automobile medical payment insurance available to him or her, the damages that the insured shall be entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle shall be reduced for purposes of uninsured motorist coverage by the amounts paid or due to be paid under the automobile medical payment insurance.

(f) The policy or an endorsement added thereto shall provide that the determination as to whether the insured shall be legally entitled to recover damages, and if so entitled, the amount thereof, shall be made by agreement between the insured and the insurer or, in the event of disagreement, by arbitration. The arbitration shall be conducted by a single neutral arbitrator. An award or a judgment confirming an award shall not be conclusive on any party in any action or proceeding between (i) the insured, his or her insurer, his or her legal representative, or his or her heirs and (ii) the uninsured motorist to recover damages arising out of the accident upon which the award is based. If the insured has or may have rights to benefits, other than nonoccupational disability benefits, under any workers’ compensation law, the arbitrator shall not proceed with the arbitration until the insured’s physical condition is stationary and ratable. In those cases in which the insured claims a permanent disability, the claims shall, unless good cause be shown, be adjudicated by award or settled by compromise and release before the arbitration may proceed. Any demand or petition for arbitration shall contain a declaration, under penalty of perjury, stating whether (i) the insured has a workers’ compensation claim; (ii) the claim has proceeded to findings and award or settlement on all issues reasonably contemplated to be determined in that claim; and (iii) if not, what reasons amounting to good cause are grounds for the arbitration to proceed immediately. The arbitration shall be deemed to be a proceeding and the hearing before the arbitrator shall be deemed to be the trial of an issue therein for purposes of issuance of a subpoena by an attorney of a party to the arbitration under Section 1985 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Title 4 (commencing with Section 2016.010) of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applicable to these determinations, and all rights, remedies, obligations, liabilities and procedures set forth in Title 4 (commencing with Section 2016.010) of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be available to both the insured and the insurer at any time after the accident, both before and after the commencement of arbitration, if any, with the following limitations:

(1) Whenever in Title 4 (commencing with Section 2016.010) of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure, reference is made to the court in which the action is pending, or provision is made for application to the court or obtaining leave of court or approval by the court, the court that shall have jurisdiction for the purposes of this section shall be the superior court of the State of California, in and for any county that is a proper county for the filing of a suit for bodily injury arising out of the accident, against the uninsured motorist, or any county specified in the policy or an endorsement added thereto as a proper county for arbitration or action thereon.

(2) Any proper court to which application is first made by either the insured or the insurer under Title 4 (commencing with Section 2016.010) of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure for any discovery or other relief or remedy, shall thereafter be the only court to which either of the parties shall make any applications under Title 4 (commencing with Section 2016.010) of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure with respect to the same accident, subject, however, to the right of the court to grant a change of venue after a hearing upon notice, upon any of the grounds upon which change of venue might be granted in an action filed in the superior court.

(3) A deposition pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 2025.010) of Title 4 of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure may be taken without leave of court, except that leave of court, granted with or without notice and for good cause shown, must be obtained if the notice of the taking of the deposition is served by either party within 20 days after the accident.

(4) Subdivision (a) of Section 2025.280 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not applicable to discovery under this section.

(5) For the purposes of discovery under this section, the insured and the insurer shall each be deemed to be “a party to the action,” where that phrase is used in Section 2025.260 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(6) Interrogatories under Chapter 13 (commencing with Section 2030.010) of Title 4 of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure and requests for admission under Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 2033.010) of Title 4 of Part 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure may be served by either the insured or the insurer upon the other at any time more than 20 days after the accident without leave of court.

(7) Nothing in this section limits the rights of any party to discovery in any action pending or that may hereafter be pending in any court.

(g) The insurer paying a claim under an uninsured motorist endorsement or coverage shall be entitled to be subrogated to the rights of the insured to whom the claim was paid against any person legally liable for the injury or death to the extent that payment was made. The action may be brought within three years from the date that payment was made hereunder.

(h) An insured entitled to recovery under the uninsured motorist endorsement or coverage shall be reimbursed within the conditions stated herein without being required to sign any release or waiver of rights to which he or she may be entitled under any other insurance coverage applicable; nor shall payment under this section to the insured be delayed or made contingent upon the decisions as to liability or distribution of loss costs under other bodily injury liability insurance or any bond applicable to the accident. Any loss payable under the terms of the uninsured motorist endorsement or coverage to or for any person may be reduced:

(1) By the amount paid and the present value of all amounts payable to him or her, his or her executor, administrator, heirs, or legal representative under any workers’ compensation law, exclusive of nonoccupational disability benefits.

(2) By the amount the insured is entitled to recover from any other person insured under the underlying liability insurance policy of which the uninsured motorist endorsement or coverage is a part, including any amounts tendered to the insured as advance payment on behalf of the other person by the insurer providing the underlying liability insurance.

(i) (1) No cause of action shall accrue to the insured under any policy or endorsement provision issued pursuant to this section unless one of the following actions have been taken within two years from the date of the accident:

(A) Suit for bodily injury has been filed against the uninsured motorist, in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(B) Agreement as to the amount due under the policy has been concluded.

(C) The insured has formally instituted arbitration proceedings by notifying the insurer in writing sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. Notice shall be sent to the insurer or to the agent for process designated by the insurer filed with the department.

(2) Any arbitration instituted pursuant to this section shall be concluded either:

(A) Within five years from the institution of the arbitration proceeding.

(B) If the insured has a workers’ compensation claim arising from the same accident, within three years of the date the claim is concluded, or within the five-year period set forth in subparagraph (A), whichever occurs later.

(3) The doctrines of estoppel, waiver, impossibility, impracticality, and futility apply to excuse a party’s noncompliance with the statutory timeframe, as determined by the court.

(4) Parties to the insurance contract may stipulate in writing to extending the time to conclude arbitration.

(j) Notwithstanding subdivisions (b) and (i), in the event the accident occurs in any other state or foreign jurisdiction to which coverage is extended under the policy and the insurer of the tortfeasor becomes insolvent, any action authorized pursuant to this section may be maintained within three months of the insolvency of the tortfeasor’s insurer, but in no event later than the pertinent period of limitation of the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred.

(k) Notwithstanding subdivision (i), any insurer whose insured has made a claim under his or her uninsured motorist coverage, and the claim is pending, shall, at least 30 days before the expiration of the applicable statute of limitation, notify its insured in writing of the statute of limitation applicable to the injury or death. Failure of the insurer to provide the written notice shall operate to toll any applicable statute of limitation or other time limitation for a period of 30 days from the date the written notice is actually given. The notice shall not be required if the insurer has received notice that the insured is represented by an attorney.

(l) As used in subdivision (b), “public or livery conveyance,” or terms of similar import, shall not include the operation or use of a motor vehicle by the named insured in the performance of volunteer services for a nonprofit charitable organization or governmental agency by providing social service transportation as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 11580.1. This subdivision shall apply only to policies of insurance issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 1976.

(m) Coverage provided under an uninsured motorist endorsement or coverage shall be offered with coverage limits equal to the limits of liability for bodily injury in the underlying policy of insurance, but shall not be required to be offered with limits in excess of the following amounts:

(1) A limit of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident.

(2) Subject to the limit for one person set forth in paragraph (1), a limit of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident.

(n) Underinsured motorist coverage shall be offered with limits equal to the limits of liability for the insured’s uninsured motorist limits in the underlying policy, and may be offered with limits in excess of the uninsured motorist coverage. For the purposes of this section, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage shall be offered as a single coverage. However, an insurer may offer coverage for damages for bodily injury or wrongful death from the owner or operator of an underinsured motor vehicle at greater limits than an uninsured motor vehicle.

(o) If an insured has failed to provide an insurer with wage loss information or medical treatment record releases within 15 days of the insurer’s request or has failed to submit to a medical examination arranged by the insurer within 20 days of the insurer’s request, the insurer may, at any time prior to 30 days before the actual arbitration proceedings commence, request, and the insured shall furnish, wage loss information or medical treatment record releases, and the insurer may require the insured, except during periods of hospitalization, to make himself or herself available for a medical examination. The wage loss information or medical treatment record releases shall be submitted by the insured within 10 days of request and the medical examination shall be arranged by the insurer no sooner than 10 days after request, unless the insured agrees to an earlier examination date, and not later than 20 days after the request. If the insured fails to comply with the requirements of this subdivision, the actual arbitration proceedings shall be stayed for at least 30 days following compliance by the insured. The proceedings shall be scheduled as soon as practicable following expiration of the 30-day period.

(p) This subdivision applies only when bodily injury, as defined in subdivision (b), is caused by an underinsured motor vehicle. If the provisions of this subdivision conflict with subdivisions (a) through (o), the provisions of this subdivision shall prevail.

(1) As used in this subdivision, “an insured motor vehicle” is one that is insured under a motor vehicle liability policy, or automobile liability insurance policy, self-insured, or for which a cash deposit or bond has been posted to satisfy a financial responsibility law.

(2) “Underinsured motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle that is an insured motor vehicle but insured for an amount that is less than the uninsured motorist limits carried on the motor vehicle of the injured person.

(3) This coverage does not apply to any bodily injury until the limits of bodily injury liability policies applicable to all insured motor vehicles causing the injury have been exhausted by payment of judgments or settlements, and proof of the payment is submitted to the insurer providing the underinsured motorist coverage.

(4) When bodily injury is caused by one or more motor vehicles, whether insured, underinsured, or uninsured, the maximum liability of the insurer providing the underinsured motorist coverage shall not exceed the insured’s underinsured motorist coverage limits, less the amount paid to the insured by or for any person or organization that may be held legally liable for the injury.

(5) The insurer paying a claim under this subdivision shall, to the extent of the payment, be entitled to reimbursement or credit in the amount received by the insured from the owner or operator of the underinsured motor vehicle or the insurer of the owner or operator.

(6) If the insured brings an action against the owner or operator of an underinsured motor vehicle, he or she shall forthwith give to the insurer providing the underinsured motorist coverage a copy of the complaint by personal service or certified mail. All pleadings and depositions shall be made available for copying or copies furnished the insurer, at the insurer’s expense, within a reasonable time.

(7) Underinsured motorist coverage shall be included in all policies of bodily injury liability insurance providing uninsured motorist coverage issued or renewed on or after July 1, 1985. Notwithstanding this section, an agreement to delete uninsured motorist coverage completely, or with respect to a person or persons designated by name, executed prior to July 1, 1985, shall remain in full force and effect.

(q) Regardless of the number of vehicles involved whether insured or not, persons covered, claims made, premiums paid or the number of premiums shown on the policy, in no event shall the limit of liability for two or more motor vehicles or two or more policies be added together, combined, or stacked to determine the limit of insurance coverage available to injured persons.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 294, Sec. 23. Effective January 1, 2006.)