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Pa. Superior Court Decides Important UIM Stacking Issue

Posted on Jun 11, 2014

On June 6, 2014 the en banc Superior County opinion announced its decision in Bumbarger v. Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company, focusing on a stacking issue involving the application of the “Sackett” line of cases.  In this case, Bumbarger initially had a 2 car policy in 2007 and rejected stacking.  She then added a third vehicle later in 2007 and a fourth vehicle early in 2009.  At no time when the additional vehicles were added to the policy was a new rejection of stacking waiver signed.  She was then injured in a car accident with an uninsured motorist in December 2009, after all of the vehicles were added.

She made a claim for stacked uninsured motorist benefits by claiming that Peerless owed her stacked coverage because a new rejection of stacking form was never executed after the initial rejection form was signed for the two car policy. Peerless denied that stacking applied because it believed that the vehicles were added by default under a “newly acquired auto” clause. The en banc panel finds that the vehicles were added by an endorsement and not under the “newly acquired auto” clause. Thus, a new waiver form is required. The newly acquired vehicle clause only applies when the company is adding a vehicle to an existing policy and back dated the coverage due to the coverage being automatic.  In this case, the company already knew about the new vehicles before they were added to the policy by endorsement. Thus, under the Sackett line of cases, stacking applies.

For a copy of the opinion please contact Schmidt Kramer Pennsylvania Auto Accident Lawyer Scott Cooper at scooper@Schmidt

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