Stacked vs. Non-Stacked Auto Insurance Explained

Stacked car insurance coverage allows you to combine the coverage limits of multiple vehicles while non-stacked car insurance coverage simply means that an insured driver has the face amount of coverage on the policy.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses...

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®https://res.cloudinary.com/quotellc/image/upload/insurance-site-images/ciccom-live/41b5e36b-joel-ohman.jpg

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The policy coverage limits are calculated and defined
  • Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection to a driver who is injured in an accident where the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance
  • You want to have as much insurance coverage as you can afford

The difference between stacked and unstacked car insurance is in how the policy coverage limits are calculated and defined. Stacked car insurance is an option available to consumers in Florida who own multiple vehicles.

The car owner can increase the amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage he or she has in place by adding the policy limits for each one together. As a result, the car owner has a higher level of coverage for all of his or her vehicles.

Read on to learn all about stacked and unstacked car insurance and then be sure to enter your zip above for free car insurance quotes!

Uninsured/Underinsured Car Insurance Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection to a driver who is injured in an accident where the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance. The protection offered by this type of coverage also extends to the driver’s family members who are injured in the accident.

Non-related passengers who are in the vehicle are also protected under the insured driver’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

Instead of looking to the at-fault driver’s car insurance company to pay for damages, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and funeral expenses (if the accident was a fatal one), the driver’s own insurance company pays for them, up to the policy limit chosen.

Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play where the at-fault driver has some insurance coverage, but the amount available doesn’t fully compensate the injured person for damages sustained in the accident.

In this situation, the other driver’s insurance company will pay out benefits first, up to its policy limit. The underinsured motorist coverage will then top up the amount of coverage available to pay for the rest of the damages. Again, the underinsured coverage will only pay up to its policy limit.

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Non-Stacked Car Insurance Coverage

Non-stacked car insurance coverage simply means that an insured driver has the face amount of coverage on the policy. A person who owns one vehicle cannot get stacked coverage; it only applies to multi-car customers.

This type of coverage only applies to the uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, not to other types of insurance protection, such as bodily injury liability coverage, property damage protection, collision or comprehensive insurance.

Stacked Car Insurance Coverage

When a customer puts stacked car insurance coverage in place then the level of protection on all the vehicles increases. For example, a person who has two cars with $100,000 in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on each one chooses to stack the coverage.

Under this arrangement, each one of the customer’s vehicles is covered for $200,000.

The level of protection that stacking provides increases by the number of cars that are being stacked in this manner.

Stacking three cars with $100,000 each in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage means that the owner has $300,000 in protection, no matter which car he or she is operating at the time of the accident.

Stacking car insurance coverage will mean paying higher rates. The benefit of getting a higher level of coverage must be weighed against how much the vehicle owner will have to pay for it.

While it may be easy to consider the likelihood of being in a car accident and the chance that the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured is relatively small, the fact is that these situations do happen.

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What if you don’t live in a state that lets you stack your car insurance?

If you live in a state where stacked car insurance is not available, you will simply need to increase your individual vehicles’ uninsured and underinsured car insurance coverage amounts.

According to the Insurance Information Institute’s article on “Compulsory Auto/Uninsured Motorists,” states such as Wisconsin are reducing the monetary amount of liability coverage that motorists need to carry.

While these measures make make it more affordable for some to drive, it will also put countless others at risk.

Unless you live in a state that changes its driving laws to allow policyholders to stack their car insurance policies, you simply will not be able to increase the amount of uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage across the board.

Even though underinsured and uninsured motorists coverage is an added cost, you should consider adding it to your policy if you don’t already have it.

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Have Adequate Car Insurance

Buying insurance means you are paying for something that you hope you never have to use. If you do need to make a claim against your policy, you will want to be sure that you have an adequate level of protection in place.

Ideally, you want to have as much insurance coverage as you can afford.

Your policy will pay out benefits, but only up to the policy limit. If the accident is severe enough and you need a high level of medical care and will be unable to work for a time, you will be glad that you invested in a policy that provides the level of benefits you need.

Stacking your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can give you this protection.

The best way to find a good rate for stacked car insurance is to shop around and consider various options.

If you get quotes from several car insurance companies, you can compare rates and coverage levels to make the right choice for your needs.

Since each insurance company offering stacked insurance has its own criteria for setting rates, the amount you would be expected to pay can vary greatly. Taking the time to compare rates can pay off in better rates.

The insurance quote tool on this page can help you; all you need to do to get started is enter your ZIP code below!

What does unstacked car insurance mean?

  • Stacked auto insurance coverage allows you to combine the coverage limits of multiple vehicles
  • Stacking is not allowed in all jurisdictions
  • Consider uninsured and underinsured motorist protection to make sure you’re not financially liable if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver

Unstacked car insurance coverage is regular protection for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. How much protection you have is what is set out in the policy documents, no matter how many vehicles are covered.

This plan differs from stacked car insurance coverage. In Florida, for instance, a policyholder can get a higher level of coverage for multiple vehicles by stacking the policy.

The same dollar value of insurance for two or more vehicles is added together to give a higher level of protection.

To get online car insurance quotes today, enter your zip code!

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in all states, but it is a good provision to add onto your car insurance policy. It pays out for injuries and damage to your vehicle when the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance coverage.

Under this type of coverage, you, your family members and any other occupants of your vehicle are protected. This protection is not available as a stand-alone policy, but it would be added onto your car insurance policy.

Here’s what it covers:

  • The bodily injury portion of an uninsured motorist policy would pay for medical bills incurred as the result of the accident
  • It would also pay for rehabilitation expenses incurred after you have received primary medical care for your injuries
  • The policy will also provide reimbursement for lost wages directly related to the accident

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Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage pays out when the at-fault driver’s policy limit is not sufficient to pay for the damages he or she caused in an accident. Here’s how it works: the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage will pay out first, up to the available policy limit.

Any damages that remain over the amount of coverage available from the at-fault driver would be paid from your underinsured motorist coverage. You will only be protected up to the policy limit you choose, however.

If, after the at-fault driver’s insurance has paid out, there is $25,000 in damages owing and your policy covers $20,000 of underinsured motorist coverage in place, you would only be compensated for $20,000.

When considering adding underinsured motorist coverage to your policy, consider the minimum level of protection required by the state where you live and the neighboring states.

In a situation where a neighboring state does not require drivers to have a high level of liability protection in place, look at buying an underinsured motorist policy with a higher limit.

Comparing rates is always a good idea when you are looking for car insurance coverage, and you can request pricing information for different levels of protection easily by doing so online.

Stacked Coverage

Stacking car insurance coverage is an effective strategy for getting a higher level of protection.

If a policyholder has three cars insured under his or her policy and each car has $10,000 in coverage, the policyholder has $30,000 in protection in place on each vehicle. If an accident occurs, it doesn’t matter which vehicle he or she is operating at the time.

With unstacked car insurance coverage, you would have the same level of protection, no matter how many cars are included on the policy.

Using the same example of a vehicle owner who had three vehicles to insure and a policy with a face amount of $10,000 for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, he or she would be covered for up to $10,000 only.

Since stacked car insurance coverage is only available in certain jurisdictions, the advantages of getting this type of auto insurance coverage do not apply to drivers in all parts of the United States.

All drivers should take appropriate measures to ensure that they are adequately protected, though.

The cost of adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is not usually a major expense, and shopping around to compare rates from a number of car insurance companies can help you find the right level of coverage at a price you can afford.

It’s worth your while to go online and request pricing information a couple of months before your current policy expires.

Each car insurance company licensed to do business in your area sets its own rates for coverage, and that includes your unstacked car insurance for uninsured and underinsured motorist protection.

By spending a bit of time educating yourself about your options and then getting several quotes, you can avoid spending more than you have to for your coverage.

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Is car insurance stacking worth it?

Stacked car insurance lets you carry separate coverage amounts for different vehicles on your policy. Car insurance stacking laws vary from state to state.

  • Stacked auto insurance coverage is related to the uninsured/underinsured portion of your policy
  • It can be a very beneficial coverage option for minimal cost
  • Make sure you understand what it covers and doesn’t

Should you stack auto insurance? Car insurance stacking is one of those little-understood aspects of car insurance that is typically mentioned in passing as you are finalizing the details of putting a policy in place.

A surprising number of people respond with a quick yes or no to stacked uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage without truly understanding what it is and why a driver would even want to carry it.

Understanding all the different options that you are faced with when looking to get auto insurance coverage is very important.

Knowing whether or not car insurance stacking is worth it is important knowledge to have so you can make the best decision possible for your auto policy.

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Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Stacking

Car insurance stacking applies specifically to uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage.

It allows you to carry individual amounts of coverage on each of the vehicles on your policy that can be combined if you are the victim of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

This provides much higher coverage protection for a lower cost than you would have otherwise paid if you were to simply buy a higher amount of coverage for each vehicle separately.

  • In the case of making a claim, if you are in one of the states that allow you to stack uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage, you have the best chance possible of getting all your medical expenses covered.
  • It means that if you have a stacked policy with more than one vehicle on it, and you are injured through the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can make claims against the coverage for each of your vehicles.
  • In addition, if you have more than one auto insurance policy covering different vehicles, you can make claims against each policy in order to stack your benefits, until all your medical expenses are covered.

There are some intricacies in the use of stacking UM/UIM coverage.

First, you need to be aware of any policy limitations you may be subject to. Even though you may live in a state that allows stacking, an insurer can exclude the right on your actual policy. So do not assume that you have a stacked policy.

You need to understand whether or not you have the option when you are purchasing the policy.

As the victim of bodily injury, you may be able to make a claim against both your Uninsured Motorist coverage and your Underinsured Motorist coverage or make only one claim.

This depends on whether or not your state regards them as two separate forms of coverage or as just one. This is another part of the equation that is important to understand when making the decision to carry stacked coverage.

Depending on whether or not you are the passenger or the driver injured in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured, you may be able to stack coverage even in states that do not allow it.

Passengers often have the right to do this by making claims against their own policy, as well as that of the driver of the vehicle he or she was riding in.

This type of car insurance stacking is not one that incurs an extra cost from the outset but is more situational in nature.

States That Permit Car Insurance Stacking

Regulations concerning car insurance stacking vary greatly from state to state.

In some cases, there are even loopholes in states where car insurance stacking is not permitted that allow passengers to stack coverage from different policies while not allowing drivers to do the same thing.

Before you decide to opt for or against stacking your coverage, make sure you understand the benefits and disadvantages of it, as well as your home state’s rules concerning it.

The states that permit stacking are:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Rates for Car Insurance Stacking

Car insurance stacking is definitely worth the extra cost to include it on your policy.

Typically, the increase in coverage that it provides you is significantly higher than the increase in premium when compared to the breakdown of cost for coverage overall on your car insurance policy.

Therefore, for a relatively small increase in price you get the security of usually double the coverage for medical costs incurred in specific types of accidents.

This insignificant change in premium can mean the difference of thousands of dollars if you were to make a claim.

When you are ready to choose the right stacked policy to meet your car insurance needs, you can do so quickly and easily with a car insurance comparison tool that practically does all the work for you.

Get started now by putting the car insurance comparison tool to work for you!

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What is stacked auto insurance?

  • It allows you, the policyholder, to increase the amount of coverage on the uninsured motorist portion of your policy
  • Less than half the 50 states will allow stacking car insurance coverage
  • You can double or even triple the amount from $10,000 to $30,000 on one vehicle if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you

Stacked car insurance allows you, the policyholder, to increase the amount of coverage on the uninsured motorist portion of your policy.

Depending on the state where this law applies, this is one way motorists cover themselves just in case an uninsured or underinsured driver hits them.

This type of insurance only applies where multiple vehicles are involved.

Stacked car insurance doubles the amount of coverage in the event of an accident. In many states, the average state minimum is not enough to cover extensive injuries.

Extra coverage just decreases the risk of incurring the debt of a hit-and-run driver and offers peace of mind.

To get comparison car insurance quotes today, enter your zip code now!

Stacked Car Insurance: The Basics

The average amount of coverage offered in the uninsured motorist portion of most policies is between $10,000 and $15,000. In an accident that results in extensive injury, medical bills can quickly escalate past $10,000. The average is $30,000 to $50,000 for all injuries and damages in one occurrence.

This amount applies to all passengers of the vehicle.

If there is more than one vehicle in the family home, you are eligible for stacked car insurance.

You may have one policy with a couple of cars and a truck, or multiple policies for each vehicle.

With stacked car insurance, you can double or even triple the amount from $10,000 to $30,000 on one vehicle if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you.

Who needs stacked car insurance?

The family is a prime candidate for stacked car insurance, especially is there are young drivers or related drivers in the home. Businesses might consider stacked car insurance options as well.

Each insurance carrier has its policies and procedures for determining who is eligible for stacked coverage. However, the savings may be worth asking about. Policyholders select this option when they purchase the policy.

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How to calculate stacked car insurance

If a policy has $10,000 worth of coverage for one individual in an accident and $30,000 for all bodily injuries in one occurrence, double stacked coverage for two cars will cover both vehicles with $20,000 for one individual, and $60,000 for all bodily injuries plus damages.

Some states limit the amount of increased uninsured motorist coverage. If the limit in your state is 150/350, stacking allows you to double that amount to $300,000 and $700,000 when multiple parties are involved.

It is also possible to receive stacked benefits if you are the passenger in a car in a state that allows stacking, when your state does not.

Extenuating circumstances may allow you to file a stacked car insurance claim if you are involved in a hit and run accident in a state where stacking is allowed even if your car is registered in a state where stacking is not. Every situation is different and warrants exploration.

You could end up saving thousands of dollars in medical expenses just for asking or filing a claim.

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How to Save on Stacked Car Insurance

You will see the savings if you calculate how much it would cost in medical expenses if an uninsured driver hits you and you pay out-of-pocket, versus purchasing protection coverage, and an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you.

If you state permits stacking, it is more of an opportunity to protect yourself against financial ruin. Less than half the 50 states will allow stacking car insurance coverage. Just to name a few of them who do:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Vermont

An internet search for your state will determine if your state offers stacked car insurance coverage.

Stacked car insurance for your business

Businesses can take advantage of stacking if they are located in a state that permits stacking, and if they have more than one vehicle associated with the business.

Stacked commercial car insurance is very beneficial for transportation businesses where stacking is practiced. It decreases the amount of liability the business is forced to take.

Where to find stacked car insurance

Your current car insurance company representative will know if they will allow you to stack your coverage. Although there is an increase in premiums, the difference is inexpensive for the value. Stacking information is also available at your local DMV.

Further online information is also available about stacking car insurance in your state.

To get information and comparison car insurance quotes now, enter your zip code here!

The Truth About Stacked Coverage Car Insurance

  • 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

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.

Start looking for affordable car insurance rates now by placing your ZIP code into the FREE space provided on this page!

References:

  1. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-make-underinsured-uninsured-driver-insurance-claim.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninsured_motorist_clause
  3. http://www.lewellynlaw.com/lawyer-attorney-1656577.html
  4. http://budgeting.thenest.com/stacked-vs-unstacked-auto-insurance-29632.html
  5. http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/compulsory/

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