Stacking is an option to add coverage for different vehicles on top of each other and claim larger sums in one occurrence. It can be a contentious issue at times. It is generally used in relation with Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
Significance of Stacking Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Where allowed this gives the option of adding coverage for each vehicle on top of each other so that you can have one large coverage. For example, you have $25,000/$50,000 limits on your Uninsured Motorists coverage for your first car. When you want to add another automobile onto the same policy you can choose to add the coverage for the second car on top of the first one.
In other words, instead of having two separate coverage for each car you will have the option of having a combined $50,000/$100,000 UM/UIM coverage. If you ever get hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver the injuries and property damages can be large. If you stacked them you can make a twice larger claim in the case of the example above. Considering how expensive hospital costs can be, it wouldn’t be hard to understand the significance of this coverage.
Is stacking Allowed across the USA?
Currently, stacking is not allowed in nearly half of the states. And where it is allowed there may be stipulations on how it could be used. For example, some states may allow you to stack UM/UIM coverage across two separate policies but not allow it under one policy or vice verse. Some of the states that allow stacking are; Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia.
Furthermore, not having provision for stacking in state legislation or not being explicitly allowed to stack didn’t stop some motorist from taking their case to courts and enforcing it. As the legislation changes fast you should check the provision in your state when you are buying coverage.
Is Stacking of UM/UIM Allowed on the Same Policy or Across Policies?
Depending on which state you live, stacking within the same policy, across policies and both may be possible options. If you are stacking UM coverage within the same policy you would have much larger coverage for each incident.
If you decided to stack across policies for different cars you would be able to use the coverage for the other car (that didn’t involve in the accident) when the first one is exhausted. For example, you have $50,000 physical injury coverage on each of your auto insurance policies and you decided to stack them. If you have an accident and your traffic injury related medical bills higher than $50,000 you can use the coverage on the second car as well.
Advantages of Stacking
When you stack Uninsured Motorist coverage you would be able to buy larger level of protection. Normally, states may not allow you to increase your UM/UIM coverage without increasing liabilities coverage in line with it. By stacking you would be able to keep larger coverage without the need to increase liabilities coverage as well. There is a high chance that staking would cost you a little bit more in terms of premiums.
What Is Unstacked Auto Insurance Coverage?
When you have an unstacked auto insurance coverage you keep the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage for each vehicle separate. This means that once the coverage runs out on your vehicle policy you cannot benefit from the coverage of other vehicles, no matter how many other automobile policies or how many other cars on same policy you have.
As a result you may be able to pay lower premiums. However, there would be a chance that you would not have enough coverage if you are hit by an uninsured driver.
Also, if stacking is not allowed in your state you really don’t have much option other than unstacked coverage.