One of the many ways car insurance companies seek to limit the amount they have to pay in claims is with fine print that includes so-called "step-down provisions." These are clauses that limit the amount of money available to be paid in certain circumstances.
While the language may vary from policy to policy, in a family step-down provision, the insurance company will limit the amount payable to the insured's family members. These would be individuals who would otherwise be covered, but because of their familial relationship to the policy holder, can only receive the state's statutory minimum in personal injury protection. It's essentially a "step down" from what they would otherwise receive.
So for example, a child injured due to his father's negligent operation of a vehicle would only be able to collect a maximum of $10,000 in damages, even if his parent had an auto insurance policy that he believed covered the child for up to $100,000. The insurer would cite the family step-down exclusion.
Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers know Florida is one of a handful of states that still recognize this provision as not running contrary to public policy (that is, against the public good). So long as the policy language isn't ambiguous, it's likely the family step-down provision will be upheld. However, recent case law in other jurisdictions indicates there could soon be a shift in the legal landscape.
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