The New Mexico Court of Appeals recently wrote an opinion regarding New Mexico uninsured motorist coverage waivers. Prior to the recent opinion, it was understood that unless an insurance company could produce a written waiver by their customer specifically asking to exclude uninsured motorist coverage, they were required to provide it.Many of our New Mexico car accident clients have benefited from this law when they were involved in accidents in which the negligent driver did not have insurance. Although the client’s insurance company would initially attempt to exclude uninsured motorist coverage, when they were unable to produce the necessary documents, they had no choice but to provide such coverage and pay our client’s claim.
The recent decision involves a driver who was injured while working for a large company and who sought to stack his employer’s uninsured motorist coverage. The insurance company denied the stacking despite not having a signed waiver. The court did an about-face and concluded that the signed waiver is no longer a requirement and instead the waiver must only be made part of the policy.
Although the court expressly limited its opinion to the specific case, it is hard to imagine that the door has not been cracked open for insurance companies to argue a sweeping change.