Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Huntingdon County, Civil Division, No. 85-1383
Charles A. Bierbach, Huntingdon, for appellant.
Michael W. Chorazy, Hollidaysburg, for appellee.
Wieand, Olszewski and Tamilia, JJ.
[ 381 Pa. Super. Page 250]
Appellant was involved in an automobile accident on September 13, 1983, allegedly while insured by appellee. She was sued in common pleas court but the case was settled prior to trial for $9,397.49 and appellant now seeks to recover this amount from appellee as well as other costs she incurred which would have been included in her coverage.
The parties stipulated to the following facts. Appellant had automobile insurance, policy # R326631, with appellee for two vehicles she owned, a 1981 Buick and a 1984 American Motors. On May 23, 1983, appellant applied to add a third vehicle and second driver to policy # R326631; she was told the premium would be $166 for the additional insurance coverage and appellee issued her a bill that day to be paid on or before June 12, 1983. The additional vehicle belonged to appellant's son and while he was responsible for the additional premium, the ultimate responsibility for payment under the policy remained with appellant.
[ 381 Pa. Super. Page 251]
On June 17, 1983, appellee sent the July 14, 1983 renewal notice in the amount of $583 in order for appellant to renew policy # R326631, this amount being in addition to the $166 already owed. Appellee received $291.50, one-half of $583, on July 21, 1983, with the balance due 60 days later as per appellee's two-pay plan.
On August 1, 1983, appellee sent a notice of cancellation for non-payment of the $166 additional premium, the cancellation to be effective August 19, 1983. The notice was sent to appellant's current address although she was away for several weeks at a time during this period and made no arrangements to have her mail forwarded. Appellant and her son had agreed, however, that he would hand-deliver a check for the additional premium to appellee's local office.
On September 13, 1983, appellant was in an accident with her 1981 Buick and promptly notified appellee in accordance with her policy. Appellee denied coverage based upon the cancellation notice of August 1, 1983. On October 3, 1983, appellee received the second payment due under the July 14, 1983 policy renewal notice but refunded this amount in addition to $8 which was refunded on September 26, 1983 as unearned premiums for cancellation of policy # R326631.
The parties agree the amount of $291.50 paid by appellant pursuant to the renewal notice was one-half the premium due on the entire policy, namely, coverage for three vehicles and two drivers. The trial court concluded appellee's acceptance of the first renewal payment was insufficient consideration to provide a valid contract of insurance after the effective date of the cancellation notice. The court further found appellee was entitled to cancel policy # R326631 completely for non-payment of the $166 premium.
The sole issue is whether appellee properly denied coverage for appellant's accident based upon the notice of ...