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New UIM Stacking Waiver Required.

April 11th, 2017

In Pergolese v. The Standard Fire Insurance Co. 2017 WL 1337943 (April 11, 2017), a split panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that The Standard Fire Insurance Company was required to obtain a new UIM stacking waiver when its insured informed their insurer that they were purchasing a new vehicle, and the new vehicle was added to the policy before the purchase was complete.

The court distinquished this situation from one in which the insured obtains a new vehicle and subsequently notifies their insurer that they wish to add the new vehicle to their policy.  In the latter situation, the policy’s “after acquired vehicle” clause would be triggered.  An “after acquired vehicle” clause is intended to extend temporary, stop-gap coverage until the policy can be amended.   In that situation, the court would be required to determine whether the policy language provided that the coverage under the “after acquired vehicle” clause was continuous or finite.

If the coverage was continuous, a new UIM waiver would not be required; if it was finite, a new waiver would be required.  See Sackett v. nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 596 Pa. 11, 940 A.2d 329 (2007) (“Sackett II).  However, in Bumbarger v. Peerless Indem. Co. 93 A.3e 872 (Pa.Super 2014)(en banc), as in the instant case, the new vehicle was added to the auto policy by way of endorsement immediately after being purchased.

Thus, the court held, the “after acquired vehicle” clause was never triggered, and the addition of the vehicle to the policy constituted a new “purchase” of UM/UIM coverage, and required the execution of a new UM/UIM stacking waiver.  Opinion by Ford Elliott, P.J.E.; Concurring opinion by Strassburger, J., and dissenting opinion by Stabile J.

 

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