Monday, March 4, 2024

Household Exclusion Upheld and Enforced By Superior Court Where Plaintiff Had Waived Stacking

In the case of Major v. Cruz and State Farm, 2024 Pa. Super. 26 (Pa. Super. Feb. 13, 2024 Bowes, J., Stabile, J., Pellegrini, J.) (Op. by Stabile, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed a household exclusion argument in a UIM case.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident and settled the claims against the third party tortfeasor for $15,000.00.

At the time of the accident, the Plaintiff was operating her mother’s vehicle. That vehicle had $15,000.00 in UIM coverage. The Plaintiff secured that amount.

The Plaintiff then sought additional UIM recoveries on her own vehicle which had a $100,000.00 UIM policy limit.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff had rejected stacking on her own policy, which only had one (1) vehicle covered under it. State Farm denied the claim on that policy based upon a household exclusion contained within the policy.

The Plaintiff argued that the exclusion was not valid and that, at the very least, the Plaintiff should be allowed to recover $85,000.00 of that UIM coverage under a coordination of benefits provision contained in the same policy.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the household exclusion remained valid in this case because the Plaintiff had rejected stacking under her own policy.

The court also found that, since the waiver of stacking in this case was valid, the Plaintiff could not make a valid challenge to the validity of the household exclusion under the circumstances presented in this case.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court also ruled that the Plaintiff did not have a valid argument for a recovery of the requested $85,000.00 since the coordination of benefits provision as worded in the policy was not implicated in this case.

In the end, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision to uphold the application of the household exclusion and the finding that the Plaintiff was not entitled to UIM coverage as a result under the State Farm policy.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source of image:  Photo by Matt Hudson on

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