Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Eastern District Court Rules that Section 1734 UM/UIM Sign Down Form Survives Addition of Vehicles to Policy

In the case of Alcedo v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 18-4215 (E.D. Pa. June 18, 2019 Savage, J.), the court was faced with a declaratory judgment action in which the question was  whether an automobile insurer must obtain a new writing “signing down” uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage from bodily injury liability limits under § 1734 of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) when the insured adds another vehicle to the policy.

The Alcedo court noted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has not decided the issue.

The court also noted that, in a non-precedential opinion, the Third Circuit has held that a §1734 sign down of UM/UIM coverage continues in effect after bodily injury liability limits are increased.

It was also noted that several Pennsylvania district courts have held that a §1731 total rejection, rather than a reduction under §1734, of UM/UIM coverage remains valid even when a vehicle is added to the policy. Based on the rationale of these cases, the Alcedo Court concluded that a §1734 sign down survives the addition of vehicles to the policy.

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.  The companion Order can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney David R. Friedman of the King of Prussia office of Forry Ullman for bringing this case to my attention.

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