When it comes to vehicle insurance, you may have heard the term “stacked insurance”. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between stacked and unstacked insurance.
WHAT IS STACKED INSURANCE, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is commonly referred to as stacked insurance. The term “stacking” refers to the ability to combine coverage limits for several automobiles.
The limit of coverage is the maximum amount your insurance will pay for a covered claim. As a result, combining various coverage limits into a single bigger limit can give extra protection if an accident occurs involving an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) can help cover your accident-related expenses if an uninsured driver hits you. If the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover your bills after an accident, underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) can help.
UM, and UIM coverage comes in a variety of forms:
- After an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, UM and UIM bodily injury coverage can assist pay for your medical bills, and also depending on your state’s legislation, these coverages may be mandated or optional.
- If an uninsured or underinsured driver destroys your property, UM and UIM property damage coverage can assist pay to restore or replace it. Depending on your state’s rules, some coverages may not be accessible on your auto insurance policy.
It’s worth noting that stacking applies only to the bodily injury section of the policy so property damage coverage limits cannot be stacked.
The Stacking Process
State legislation may make stacking mandatory, permissible, or prohibited and even if the law permits it, insurers may include anti-stacking language in their policies.
Your insurance may be stacked but it depends on the legislation in your area:
- For a single auto insurance coverage that covers two or more vehicles
- You have many automobile insurance policies in your name.
Having Multiple Car Insurance Policies
Some states allow you to combine your UM and UIM coverage limitations into one policy.
For instance, suppose you have two automobiles insured under the same insurance, and on each vehicle, you have $25,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage. Your UMBI limits will increase to $50,000 per accident if you stacked your coverage under that policy. So, if an uninsured vehicle hits you, your insurer will help pay up to $50,000 of your medical expenditures.
Stacking Multiple Automobile Insurance Policies
In some areas, UM and UIM coverage limitations can be stacked across multiple automobile insurance policies.
For instance, your name appears on two separate vehicle insurance policies so one coverage covers your car, while the other covers the car of a family member. The UMBI coverage maximum on your policy is $30,000 and the UMBI limit on your family member’s policy with your name on it is $25,000.
If you choose to stack the two policies, your UMBI coverage limit will rise to $55,000 so, if an uninsured driver hit you, your insurer would cover up to $55,000 of your medical expenses after the accident.
You can stack your UM and UIM limits across multiple vehicles to maximize your protection against accident-related expenditures. You may have to pay less out of pocket for a covered claim if your coverage limits are higher.
The Drawbacks of Stacking
In general, more significant coverage limits mean higher premiums so this means that if you combine UM and UIM limits, you may end up paying more for coverage.
WHAT IS UNSTACKED INSURANCE, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
If you have unstacked insurance, your UM and UIM coverage limits do not combine.
Unstacked insurance has several advantages
Unstacked insurance premiums may be less expensive than stacked coverage premiums. Stacking coverage increases the overall limit or the amount your insurer must pay toward a covered claim but keep in mind that the higher the limit, the more expensive your insurance may be (and vice versa).
Unstacked insurance has several drawbacks
If your auto insurance isn’t stacked, you’re more likely to have to pay for accident-related charges out of pocket.
Let’s say a motorist who doesn’t have insurance hits your car and hurts you. You have unstacked UM insurance with a $25,000 limit. If your medical expenditures total more than $25,000, you may have to pay the difference out of pocket. However, if you had stacked UM coverage, you might be able to use the UM coverage from other vehicles to assist cover the rest of your medical costs.
Even with stacked insurance, you may be able to increase your UM/UIM coverage limits on each vehicle separately.