Stacked vs. Unstacked Car Insurance
What is stacked insurance? What is unstacked insurance? Here are the answers – plus how they differ and which is better.
If you have uninsured and underinsured motorist car insurance (UM/UIM) for more than one vehicle, you can “stack” their coverage limits. If an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you, combining the UM/UIM coverage of both vehicles will increase your policy limits.
Read the rest of this article before you contact your insurance company about it, though. Stacking car insurance isn’t always as easy as asking for it.
What you’ll learn here:
- The difference between stacked and unstacked insurance
- How stacked insurance works
- Which states let you stack insurance coverage
- What stacked auto insurance costs
What is stacked insurance?
You have stacked insurance when you combine your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limits on multiple cars or policies.
By combining or stacking your uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage limits, you can boost the amount of protection you have against drivers who either don’t have car insurance or don’t have enough of it.
Basically, stacked auto insurance lets you borrow UM and UIM coverage from another vehicle when needed after an accident.
What is unstacked insurance?
Unstacked insurance is what you have if you only have one car or if you have multiple vehicles but don’t combine their UM and UIM coverage limits.
In other words, if you don’t go out of your way to stack these coverage types, you have unstacked or non-stacked insurance.
What is the difference between stacked and unstacked car insurance?
The difference between stacked and unstacked insurance is that stacked insurance combines the UM and UIM coverage limits of multiple cars or policies while unstacked insurance doesn’t combine them.
What is better – stacked or unstacked insurance?
There are pros and cons to both stacked and unstacked car insurance, so it’s tough to say one is better than the other.
|Stacked Insurance||Unstacked Insurance|
Should you get stacked or unstacked insurance? To answer that question, read through the advantages and disadvantages above. Then contact your insurance provider. Find out if it’ll even let you stack your UM and UIM coverage limits. If it will, get a quote.
Actually, get quotes from a few other insurers, too, and then compare rates. That alone should take you a long way toward figuring out if stacked or unstacked insurance is better for you.
How does stacked insurance work?
When you “stack” your car insurance, you multiply the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limits you have on multiple vehicles or policies.
For example, if you have two cars, you can double your UM and UIM coverage on them. And if you have three cars, you can triple that coverage.
So, if you have two cars and each one has $20,000 of UM and UIM coverage, stacking could raise your limit on both to $40,000.
A few things to keep in mind about stacked insurance:
- You must have more than one vehicle. You don’t need to have more than one policy, though. You can stack multiple cars within a single policy. Or you can stack them across multiple policies.
- You can only use stacked coverage if you get into an accident that wasn’t your fault and the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough of it.
- You need to stack your UM and UIM motorist coverage before you get into an accident, not after it.
- To stack multiple policies, they all have to be in your name.
How do you file a claim with stacked insurance?
How you file a claim with stacked insurance depends on if you get into an accident caused by someone with no insurance or not enough insurance.
If you get into an accident caused by a driver with no car insurance:
- You start by filing a claim against your own UM coverage.
- Should that not cover your medical bills, you can turn to your stacked uninsured motorist coverage.
If you get into an accident caused by a driver with not enough car insurance:
- You start by filing a claim against the other driver’s liability coverage.
- Should that not cover your medical bills, you file a claim against your own UM and UIM coverage.
- If that isn’t enough, you can turn to your stacked UM coverage.
Can you reject stacked insurance coverage limits?
Yes, you can reject stacked uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limits.
If you reject stacked insurance limits, each of your vehicles will have their own UM and UIM coverage limits.
Most insurance companies will make you sign a waiver when rejecting stacked UM and UIM coverage limits.
Which states allow stacked insurance?
Not every state allows stacked car insurance. Alaska and Tennessee are two examples. Still, a lot of states do let you stack UM and UIM coverage limits to increase your protection against uninsured drivers.
Here are the states that currently allow stacked insurance:
|State||Allows Stacking Within a Single Policy||Allows Stacking Across Multiple Policies|
|Alabama||Yes, up to three vehicles||Yes (no limits)|
|Arkansas||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes, but companies can refuse|
|Colorado||Yes, but companies can refuse||No|
|Indiana||Yes, but only in certain cases||No|
|Kentucky||Yes, if a single premium is paid||Yes, if a separate premium is paid for each vehicle|
|New Hampshire||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes, but only in certain cases|
|New Mexico||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes|
|Ohio||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes, but companies can refuse|
|Pennsylvania||Yes, but only members of the insured's household can stack||Yes, but only members of the insured's household can stack|
|Rhode Island||Yes||Yes, if a separate premium is paid for each vehicle|
|South Carolina||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes|
|Utah||No||Yes, but only for UM coverage|
|Vermont||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes, if a separate premium is paid for each vehicle|
|Virginia||No||Yes, but companies can refuse|
|West Virginia||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes|
|Wisconsin||Yes, but companies can refuse||Yes, but companies can refuse|
|Source: American Property Casualty Insurance Association|
All other states don’t allow stacking within a single policy or across multiple policies.
Which companies allow stacked insurance?
Many insurance companies will let you stack UM and UIM motorist coverage if you have more than one car or policy.
Some won’t, though, so the only way to find out one way or the other is to contact a bunch of them and ask.
Start by contacting the best insurance companies. If you strike out there, or if you don’t like the rates they quote you, try smaller or regional providers.
How much does stacked car insurance cost?
The only thing that can be said for sure here is you’ll pay more for stacked insurance than you will for unstacked insurance.
What you pay for stacked insurance depends on several factors, including:
- Your car insurance company
- Where you live
- How much UM and UIM you have or want
Although stacked insurance almost always costs more than non-stacked insurance, it doesn’t always cost a lot more. Keep that in mind as you shop around for this kind of coverage.
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