Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vincent F. Baldassano v. High Point Insurance Company

11-08-07 A-2183-06T1

Plaintiff was a passenger in a car involved in a one
vehicle accident. He settled with the driver for the driver's
policy limit of $100,000 but claimed his damages exceeded that
amount and sought underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage from his
auto insurance carrier, High Point Insurance Company (High
Point). The UIM claim was denied because plaintiff's UIM limit
of $100,000 had been met by the driver's insurance policy.
Plaintiff claimed that in 1998 when he first purchased the
policy, the agent failed to explain the coverage options, the
agent checked the boxes on the coverage selection form, and the
agent failed to provide a buyer's guide. Plaintiff renewed the
policy twelve times before the accident without inquiring about
or changing the policy limits and transferred the policy twice
to new vehicles.

We affirmed and held that under N.J.S.A. 17:28-1.9 the
insurer is immune from liability under the circumstances
presented where (1) the insured executed a coverage selection
form on which the coverage selections had been checked by the
agent; (2) the insured renewed the policy twelve times before
the accident; and (3) the insured could not refute the carrier's
claim that the agent provided "a written notice identifying [all
coverage information] and containing a buyer's guide and
coverage selection form" as required by N.J.S.A. 39:6A-23(a) and