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McCoy v. Dairyland Insurance Co.

April 16, 1991

STACI MCCOY, ET AL, APPELLANTS,
v.
DAIRYLAND INSURANCE COMPANY, RESPONDENT



Thompson, J. Green, C.j., and Shields, J., concur.

Author: Thompson

Staci McCoy and Clay Vannoy appeal the summary dismissal of their action for a judgment declaring that a policy issued by Dairyland Insurance Company covers them for damages they suffered in a hit-and-run accident. The court held that Ms. McCoy's execution of an "Underinsured Motorists Coverage Rejection Statement" constituted a rejection of hit-and-run coverage. We affirm.

On August 2, 1989, Ms. McCoy and Mr. Vannoy were injured when a hit-and-run vehicle struck the 1983 Honda Civic in which they were riding at an intersection in Kennewick, Washington. Ms. McCoy is the owner of the Honda Civic, which Dairyland insured.

The endorsement to the Dairyland policy contains an "Underinsured Motorists Coverage Rejection Statement" signed by Ms. McCoy. The statement reads:

I have had the following Underinsured Motorists Coverages explained to me and I fully understand them. I hereby reject such coverages and understand that my policy will not contain the rejected coverages when issued or renewed.

I reject: X Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury

Coverage

X Underinsured Motorists Property Damage

Coverage

The policy includes in its definition of uninsured motor vehicle "a hit-and-run motor vehicle that strikes you, or a motor vehicle you are occupying, if neither the driver nor the owner can be identified." Nevertheless, in an affidavit, Ms. McCoy attests:

Before I signed this statement, no one explained to me that if I signed this statement that my insurance company, Dairyland, would deny me coverage for injuries I might suffer in a hit-and-run accident.*fn1 I did understand that I was rejecting underinsured motorist coverage, but I did not understand that Dairyland would interpret this rejection as being a rejection of hit-and-run coverage. I never intended to waive coverage for any injuries I might suffer in a hit-and-run accident.

The appeal presents the following question: Under RCW 48.22.030, is an insured's rejection of underinsured motorists coverage also a rejection of coverage for damages which the insured is legally entitled to ...


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