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What is stacked car insurance?

Stacking car insurance is simply a way to increase your uninsured motorist coverage by combining the bodily injury limits of each vehicle on your policy. Stacked car insurance isn't available in all states, and some insurers may not allow limit stacking even in states where it is permitted.

Below we detail the pros and cons of stacked and non-stacked car insurance and explore where it's available.


Stacked car insurance
Stacked car insurance

Stacked car insurance increases your uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), depending on the number of vehicles you own. It allows you to combine — or “stack” — the limits for each vehicle, giving you a greater total amount of coverage.

Unstacked coverage
Unstacked coverage

Unstacked coverage applies your standard coverage limits to one specific vehicle, without combining the amounts of any additional vehicles.


How does stacked car insurance work? 

Stacked car insurance usually works in one of two ways, though the availability of either option is not guaranteed.

  1. Multiple cars on the same auto policy. The limit of each car’s uninsured motorist coverage can be combined to create a higher composite limit, providing more coverage.
  2. Multiple cars on separate policies. The limits of each policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can be combined. However, both policies must be in your name.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage in the event that you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. This can cover your injuries (UMBI) or damage to your property (UMPD) depending on the coverage available.

A stacked car insurance policy may cost a bit more, but the additional coverage can be helpful if you need to use it. If the increase in price seems too steep, you can often find a better price by shopping around for new quotes.

 

Stacked insurance in action

Let's say that you were hit by an uninsured driver, resulting in $30,000 in medical expenses. You own two vehicles, each with $25,000 uninsured bodily injury limits. Without a stacked policy, you would be responsible for the $5,000, provided that the at-fault party can't — or won't — pay.

If your auto policy had stacked limits, you could combine the $25,000 of coverage and claim up to $50,000, which would fully cover your medical expenses. 

Zebra Tip: Know your limits


Learn more about where to find your policy limits and available coverages in our handy guide to reading your car insurance policy.


Do I need stacked auto insurance? 

The unfortunate truth is that there are many uninsured motorists on the road. If you are in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, it can be difficult to get compensation for bodily injury. 

Even if you are hit by a driver who has liability coverage, if they only carry the state’s minimum liability limits then you could still face issues. This is especially true in a state like Pennsylvania where the liability limits are quite low. Such limits can be exhausted pretty quickly if you are seriously injured. This is where underinsured coverage comes into play. 

Underinsured motorist coverage picks up where the at-fault driver’s liability insurance leaves off. It can help to cover medical bills left over from the other party’s drained liability coverage.

You should consider stacked auto insurance if:

  • You have more than one vehicle
  • Your state allows limit stacking
  • You live in an area with a lot of uninsured drivers
  • Your insurance carrier allows stacking
wrecked car

Pros and cons of stacked insurance

Those considering stacking auto insurance coverage should take a look at the pros and cons below:

Pros Cons
Access to higher limits of uninsured motorist coverage Multiple vehicles are required in order to stack limits
Helpful in states with higher rates of uninsured drivers Not allowed in all states
Limits can often be stacked across multiple auto policies Many carriers don't allow stacking
More expensive premiums
Doesn't apply to property damage (UMPD)

Stacked insurance eligibility

Eligibility for a stacked car insurance policy depends on a number of factors. Have a look at some of the requirements below.

  • Not all insurance companies allow stacking: check with your current insurance provider to see if stacked auto insurance is available.
  • The ability to stack car insurance is not available in all states. Of the states who do, some may give insurers the option to opt out of the practice with an anti-stacking provision.
  • You are required to have more than one insured car on your policy to be eligible for a stacked car insurance policy.

If you are uncertain about your eligibility, consult your current car insurance company to find out more.

Stacked insurance limitations

Another important thing to remember is that this coverage does not offer reimbursement if you cause the collision. For uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to apply, the incident must be the fault of another driver. Specifically, a driver who is uninsured or who does not carry enough insurance coverage to properly cover your losses.

Also, no-fault states may require you to go through your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage before UM coverage or UIM coverage kicks in.


Which states allow stacked car insurance?

Stacked car insurance is not available in all states. Below is a list of states that currently allow the practice.

* Stacking is only available with multiple policies.


Stacked vs. unstacked car insurance: FAQs

Find answers to common questions about stacking car insurance below:

Is it better to have stacked or unstacked insurance? Chevron down icon

If your state has low liability limits or has a high rate of uninsured drivers, having a stacked policy raises your levels of coverage to provide even better protection. Remember that not all states or insurers allow stacking, so it's best to check availability at the onset of your policy.

Do I need stacked auto insurance if I have one car? Chevron down icon

You must have more than one car to be eligible for stacked auto insurance. Otherwise there is no other coverage to "stack."

Is stacked insurance worth it? Chevron down icon

While you may have to pay slightly higher premiums for a stacked car insurance policy, being able to effectively double or even triple (depending on how many vehicles or policies you have) the bodily injury limits of your uninsured motorist coverage could very well be worth it.


Stacking insurance: considerations and options

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are great ways to protect yourself in the event of a hit-and-run car accident or a collision with a vehicle driven by an uninsured driver.

Some of the claims that uninsured/underinsured insurance covers may also be covered by your health insurance or — at least in some states — PIP coverage. However, the added peace of mind that these increased limits can bring makes the option appealing to many drivers.

If your insurance company and state allow it — and you can afford the additional cost — stacking your uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance limits can be a great idea.

Find the right policy for your insurance needs today!

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Ross Martin photo
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London and has a background in copywriting and education. As a former teacher, he applies his educational skills to explain insurance concepts in ways that consumers can understand.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, AxiosInvestopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.