Stacked vs. Unstacked Car Insurance
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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Pros and cons of stacked insurance
Those considering stacking auto insurance coverage should take a look at the pros and cons below:
|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.
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?
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?
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?
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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