The Truth About Stacked Coverage Car Insurance

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Stacked auto insurance coverage can be a valuable benefit to consider
  • This type of coverage is not available in all states
  • There are other ways to protect yourself financially if stacked coverage is not an option for you

Stacked auto insurance coverage is an unfamiliar term for many drivers so there are a lot of facts and myths about it. Auto insurance coverage that is stacked has some benefits to the policyholder, for not a whole lot of money. It is also not available to every driver.

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Car insurance is a necessary thing for most drivers, but it can also be very confusing with all of its terms and conditions. You want to make sure you have the appropriate coverage without paying for what you don’t need. Stacking allows you to get more coverage out of your policy.

Only Available with Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Fact



The only insurance coverage that is allowed to be stacked at this time is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The majority of states require that all drivers carry some type of insurance so it would seem that carrying uninsured coverage would be unnecessary.

The Insurance Research Council reports on recent data, however, that shows about one out of every seven drivers does not carry car insurance.

This is a good argument to continue to carry this type of insurance.

There are two aspects to uninsured motorist coverage.

  1. Uninsured Portion – This protects you if you are in an accident with a driver who does not carry any type of car insurance and there is damage to your car or any bodily injury. It also covers damage caused by a hit-and-run driver.
  2. Underinsured Coverage – This type of coverage may be used more often than uninsured coverage. If you are in an accident with another driver who is only carrying the basic minimum coverage that is mandated by the state, there is a good chance that it will not be enough to cover all of the expenses associated with the accident.

If this is the case, you have the right to sue the at-fault party for money to cover the resulting expenses. In many cases, the other party will not have the money or assets to cover what is needed and the burden would fall on your shoulders.

Uninsured motorist coverage is a better choice. After the other party’s insurance contribution has run out, your coverage will cover you up to the limits you have chosen on the policy. This protects you financially, as the industry experts at the Insurance Information Institute agree.

Stacked Coverage is Mandatory: Myth


It is not mandatory to have stacked coverage with your uninsured motorist policy. In fact, not every driver is even eligible for the coverage. The only types of coverage that are mandatory are the ones that your state requires.

In the majority of states, liability coverage for bodily injury and any property damage is the only mandated coverage.

In some, you are required to carry medical coverage as well while others require that you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy. Even in those states, stacked coverage is always an optional choice.

Stacked Coverage Gives You a Higher Level of Coverage: Fact

Stacked auto insurance coverage is a way to increase the limits that you have on your uninsured motorist coverage. How it works is that you can multiply the limit amount times the number of cars that you have.

For example, if you have $100,000 in coverage for your underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance and you have two vehicles with this coverage, you can stack them and have $200,000 in coverage.

This amount is eligible on both vehicles so it doesn’t matter which car is being driven when the accident occurs.

Stacking your uninsured coverage results in a higher coverage level so that you have more protection if you are in a crash with a driver who does not have enough insurance coverage.

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Stacked Coverage is Available in All States: Myth

The caveat of stacking coverage is that it is only available in certain states.

There are about 20 states that allow you to stack your uninsured motorist coverage, so check with your state’s department to see if it is one of them.

Some states that currently allow it are Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Iowa, and Maine.

Even if your state allows stacking, your insurance provider may not. Not all car insurance companies allow you to stack your policy. Check out your policy to see if stacking is allowed or excluded.

Stacked Coverage is Only Available on Multiple Vehicles: Fact

If you have only one vehicle on your insurance policy, you will not be able to stack uninsured coverage. Since stacking refers to adding up coverage of all covered vehicles, stacking only one car will not increase your coverage.

Stacking is beneficial if you have multiple vehicles for different reasons, your spouse has a car, or if you have children with cars insured under your policy. This results in all cars having a higher amount of coverage associated with them.

Stacked Insurance Coverage is Expensive: Myth


In the general scheme of things, stacking uninsured coverage is not that expensive. It is definitely cheaper than the original uninsured coverage but, yes, your premium will increase for each vehicle you add.

The best thing to do is weigh the extra cost with the risk of not carrying the extra coverage. It may be hard to guess, but there are some general indicators.

If you drive nice vehicles and you don’t want to have to dig into your savings to pay for damages, stacking your coverage may be a smart move.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two million individuals were treated in the emergency room following motor vehicle accidents in 2012.

This number doesn’t include those who got medical help elsewhere. Medical costs are sky-high and without additional stacked coverage, you may find yourself having difficulty paying for all of the expenses.

Stacked Coverage Covers All Insured Vehicles: Fact

Parking garage, interior with a few parked cars.

Parking garage, interior with a few parked cars.

When you add stacked coverage to your policy, all the vehicles that you include will be covered with the extra limit amounts.

It doesn’t matter who is driving the vehicle or which vehicle it is, if it is in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver is at fault, it will be covered.

If by chance, you have a vehicle that you have insured separately, for example, a car that you only drive in the summer, there may be less insurance coverage for that vehicle.

If you haven’t included it with the other vehicles when you stacked your coverage, then that particular vehicle will not be covered.

The Number of Vehicles You Can Stack is Limited: Myth

It doesn’t matter whether you have two cars or ten; you can stack coverage for all of them. In fact, the more vehicles you have, the more coverage you will have.

If the limits on each are $50,000 and you are stacking five vehicles, you will have $250,000 in total coverage for each of the vehicles.

Remember that the more vehicles you have, the higher your premiums will be for coverage.

There Are Other Ways to Increase Your Coverage: Fact


Since not all states allow you to stack your uninsured motorist coverage, if you live in one that does not you will need to find other ways to increase your coverage:

  • Increase individual limits of uninsured coverage – Instead of carrying $50,000 for example, increase it to $100,000. You can do this for any of the vehicles you feel that are driven the most. This is also the answer for those households with only one car.
  • Increase limits for bodily injury and property damage coverages – This is used if you are the cause of a crash and there is damage to the other party. If you only are carrying basic insurance, the liability limits are usually fairly low.
  • Purchase umbrella insurance – Another option for drivers with lots of assets and savings is to purchase umbrella insurance. This coverage begins to pay once your liability coverage has been exhausted. You usually are required to carry a certain minimum of liability coverage, such as $250,000 for every $1 million in umbrella coverage.

Umbrella coverage is not recommended for all drivers because if you don’t have much in the way of savings or assets, there isn’t much that can be taken away. A person who owns a house and jewelry or other valuables, however, is advised to carry some amount of extra protection.

If there is not enough money through your insurance policy to pay for all of the damages, you will personally be responsible for the rest. To prevent this from happening, you can increase the liability limits on your policy.

This will increase your premium, but it is usually worth the extra money.

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