- Stacked vs Unstacked Auto Insurance Breakdown
Stacked vs Unstacked Auto Insurance Breakdown
As a responsible driver, you already know there’s no getting behind the wheel of a car without having the right level of auto insurance coverage.
You may be familiar with uninsured motorist coverage, but confused about what stacked uninsured motorist coverage entails or what stacked vs unstacked uninsured motorist coverage means to you.
Unfortunately, you’re not the only person on the road you have to consider when it comes to determining what the right level of auto insurance is in the first place. So let’s take a closer look at how stacked vs unstacked auto insurance coverage works and how it could impact your coverage decision.
What Is Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Stacked insurance coverage allows you to increase the total amount of your auto coverage either vertically within a single policy, or horizontally across multiple policies with the same insurance provider — especially for families with multiple drivers.
If your state or insurance provider allows for stacked insurance coverage, you’ll have the ability to combine the total coverage limit either across vehicles within the same policy, or across multiple policies.
You’re likely familiar with the concept of combined policies with home and auto and stacked insurance works similarly, allowing you to increase the total amount of your auto coverage either vertically within a single policy, or horizontally across multiple policies with the same insurance provider — for families with multiple drivers.
While not all states allow stacking across or within policies, it’s important to understand what a stacked vs unstacked policy offers you before considering if it’s something you should pursue. Here’s a simple breakdown of how both vertical and horizontal stacked uninsured motorist coverage works:
If you have multiple policies with the same insurance providers (where both policies are in your own name), horizontal stacked insurance coverage lets you combine the UM/UIM coverage of all of your vehicles across all of your policies to pay for the damages or loss of a single claim.
If there are multiple cars on your auto insurance coverage policy, each car will have a set limit of UM/UIM coverage (typically between $20,000 and $50,000). Even if the accident only involves one of your vehicles, vertically stacked insurance coverage allows you to combine the coverage limits across all of your vehicles to pay for the expense of a single claim.
What Is Unstacked Insurance?
In simple terms, unstacked insurance is simply your regular auto insurance policy. If you have unstacked coverage but you maintain two vehicles, you’ll have two separate auto insurance policies. Unstacked also has lower coverage that doesn’t come with uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Stacked vs Unstacked Insurance
While most auto insurance policies require some form of uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage, the total amount of coverage is often up to you. In essence, this coverage exists to protect you against drivers who may be out on the road without coverage at all, or without enough coverage to pay for the damages or repairs needed after an accident.
Even without stacking your insurance coverage, some states will also enact coverage limits in terms of how much UM/UIM coverage you’re allowed to take out.
If this applies to you, stacking your coverage may be one of the only ways to help ensure you have adequate protection if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have a large enough policy to cover the cost of damages to your car or the people who may have been injured in the accident.
Stacking coverage can also help you from the added cost of increasing your liability limits to secure additional coverage.
With so few disadvantages to consider, your best bet would be to reach out to your insurance provider to understand if stacked insurance coverage is available on your policy and how much it would cost to adjust your policy for the added protection.
Just because you have stacked or unstacked coverage doesn’t always mean you have enough to cover the full cost of an accident (including bodily injury and repairs) caused by a driver with inadequate coverage. This is where stacked uninsured motorist coverage comes in.
If your existing policy is unstacked or if your insurance provider doesn’t allow for stacked coverage, then you’ll have a single line of coverage for each vehicle you own.
This means that even if you have three cars on your auto insurance policy, each with $20,000 in UM/UIM coverage, you’ll have a $20,000 maximum in coverage for an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
If you have the ability to stack insurance coverage, either vertically within the same policy or horizontally across multiple policies, you have the opportunity to dramatically increase your total amount of uninsured or underinsured coverage if you’re involved in an accident.