My daughter is home from college and would like to use the family car. Do I need to contact my insurance agent and list her as an additional insured under the policy to ensure that there is insurance coverage?
Although the safer approach is to always contact your insurance agent and inform them that your daughter will be driving the vehicle, in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Statute § 63.32(3) requires the insurance carrier to provide coverage to any person using any motor vehicle described in the policy as long as the use of the car is with permission. This statute is referred to as the "omnibus statute." An automobile insurance policy cannot cut off coverage to anyone who uses the car with permission. If the named insured has coverage, then the user of the vehicle with permission has coverage. The intent of the omnibus statute is to make sure that insurance coverage follows the vehicle to provide coverage for individuals that use the vehicle with permission. Insurance companies are prohibited from insuring only certain drivers.
What is a "reducing clause" and how does it affect my underinsured motorist coverage available under my automobile policy?
A reducing clause subtracts or reduces from underinsured motorist (hereafter "UIM") coverage policy limit payments that are made to the insured from other sources. For instance, if you have a bodily injury claim that is worth $200,000.00 and a $100,000.00 UIM policy and the offending driver is only insured up to $50,000.00, then the reducing clause acts to reduce your UIM policy limits from $100,000.00 to $50,000.00. Wisconsin Statute § 632.32(5a) allows insurance companies to reduce from the policy limits amounts paid to the insured from other sources. As a result, even though the declarations page on your policy indicates a certain limit of UIM coverage, when you receive money from other sources, the reducing clause in your insurance policy acts to reduce those limits by the amount that you have received from the secondary source.
FAMILY LAW UPDATE ARTICLE
QUESTION: If a foster parent has had a child in placement for a long time, is there anything the foster parent can do if social services gives notice of its intent to remove the child and place the child with another family or with a birth parent?
ANSWER: Yes. Under Sec. 48.64, Stats., if a child has been in placement with the foster family for more than six months, the county social services unit is required to give notice of its intent to remove the child from the foster home. Once the notice has been received, the foster family has ten days to object to removal. Once the objection is filed, foster parents can request an administrative hearing or a court hearing on the subject of removal. They are entitled to present evidence to the hearing examiner or judge supporting their position that the child should not be removed. Although it may be difficult to overcome the testimony presented by social service department witnesses, foster parents have prevailed in removal cases and ended up adopting or serving as guardians for children in their care. It is essential to act on a timely basis to preserve foster parents' rights when removal is threatened.
QUESTION: If adopting parents are not sure whether the child they seek to adopt is eligible for adoption assistance, should they proceed with the adoption and have the question decided later?
ANSWER: There are times when children are born with certain health or other conditions that may qualify them for adoption assistance payments. We advise adopting parents to withhold finalization of adoption until the issue of adoption assistance eligibility and the amount of assistance payments have been determined. The State of Wisconsin will need to be involved in the determination process. Although there have been limited cases in some jurisdictions which eligibility has been determined on a retroactive basis, as a general rule, adoption assistance activities should be completed before the adoption is finalized or it may be possible to lose benefits that would otherwise have been available.
QUESTION: With an international adoption, is the child automatically a citizen of the United States if adopted by U.S. citizens?
ANSWER: As a result of a federal law passed over three years ago, children adopted by U.S. citizens may automatically be citizens of this country upon adoption. However, the rule applies only to those children that have entered the United States with an IR-3 visa. If the child in question has an IR-4 visa, it will be necessary to make application for citizenship using the long form application process which may take more than two years. When applying for a visa, it is important that the adopting parents receive the proper visa for the child to be adopted. Normally with an IR-3 visa, it is necessary to have seen the child before the adoption occurs. In some cases, it is necessary to have seen the child on two separate dates in the foreign country before the adoption occurs.