Stacked Vs. Unstacked Car Insurance
Published: June 2020
You may have heard the term "stacked insurance" in reference to a car insurance policy. Here's an explanation on stacked vs. unstacked insurance
WHAT IS STACKED INSURANCE?
Stacked insurance typically applies to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Stacking means that you can combine coverage limits for multiple vehicles. A coverage limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay toward a covered claim. So, combining separate coverage limits into one higher limit can offer greater protection in case you're involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) helps pay for your accident-related expenses if you're hit by a driver without car insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) helps pay for your expenses if the at-fault driver's insurance is insufficient to cover your bills after an accident.
There are several types of UM and UIM coverage:
Note that stacking only applies to the bodily injury portion of the coverage. You cannot stack property damage coverage limits.
How Stacking Works
State laws allow stacking:
Stacking On One Car Insurance Policy
Florida allows stacking UM and UIM coverage limits within a single car insurance policy.
For example, You insure two vehicles on the same policy. You have uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage limits of $25,000 on each vehicle. Stacking your coverage within that policy would increase your UMBI limits to $50,000 per accident. So, if you were hit by a driver without insurance, your insurer would help pay your medical expenses after the accident, up to $50,000.
Stacking Across Multiple Car Insurance Policies
Some companies allow stacking UM and UIM coverage limits across multiple car insurance policies.
For example, Your name is listed on two car insurance policies. One policy is for a vehicle you own, and another policy is for the vehicle of a family member in your household. Your policy has a UMBI coverage limit of $30,000. Your family member's policy with your name listed has a UMBI limit of $25,000.
If you choose to stack across the two policies, it would increase your UMBI coverage limit to $55,000. So, if you were hit by an uninsured driver, your insurer would help pay your medical bills after the accident, up to $55,000.
Advantages of Stacking
Stacking allows you to combine UM and UIM coverage limits on multiple vehicles, thereby increasing your protection against accident-related expenses. Higher coverage limits mean you may have to pay less out of your own pocket toward a covered claim.
Disadvantages of Stacking
Generally, you'll pay higher premiums for higher coverage limits. This means when you stack UM and UIM limits, you could pay more for that coverage.
WHAT IS UNSTACKED INSURANCE?
Unstacked insurance means that your UM and UIM coverage limits for multiple vehicles are not combined.
Advantages of unstacked insurance
Premiums for unstacked insurance may be lower than premiums for stacked coverage. That's because stacking coverage increases the overall limit, or the amount that your insurer might have to pay toward a covered claim. Remember, the higher the limit, the more costly your coverage may be (and vice versa).
Disadvantages of unstacked insurance
If your insurance is unstacked, you may be at a higher risk of paying out of pocket for accident-related expenses.
Say you're injured when an uninsured driver hits your car. You have unstacked UM coverage with a limit of $25,000. If your medical bills exceed $25,000, you may have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. If you had stacked UM coverage, however, you may be able to draw from the UM coverage you had on other vehicles to help pay for the rest of your medical expenses. Even if your insurance is not stacked, you may still have the option of increasing your UM/UIM coverage limits separately on each of your vehicles to help increase your protection.
What is Bodily Injury Liability?
If you are responsible for a car accident, bodily injury liability coverage pays for the medical costs of the people who are injured (not including yourself). This coverage also helps cover payment for legal defense in the event you are sued for damages.
Bodily injury liability is a coverage included in most auto insurance policies and required in most states, but be sure to check that yours includes it.
Standard coverage that protects when you’re at fault
What does Bodily Injury Liability cover?
Medical expenses: This includes emergency care services, hospital fees, ongoing care costs, and more.
Legal fees and legal counsel: If the other party decides to file a lawsuit against you, Bodily Injury Liability coverage can help cover the cost of your legal defense and any associated court fees.
Loss of income: If the injured parties need to miss work or are unable to perform their job functions due to their injuries or ongoing medical care, bodily injury liability coverage can help provide compensation for work missed due to accident-related reasons.
Pain and suffering: In some cases, claims may involve payment when there is emotional stress or prolonged pain from an accident.
Funeral costs: In the unfortunate event that an accident results in a fatality, bodily injury liability coverage will help pay for any associated funeral costs.
What else should I know about Bodily Injury Liability coverage?
How much bodily injury liability insurance do I need?
Florida’s Financial responsibility Laws require $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident minimum liability coverage requires that you will need to prove you meet when you register your vehicle. Even if you meet the state’s requirements, you may want to consider opting for even more coverage to protect yourself and your assets financially.
How much does bodily injury liability insurance cost?
The cost of bodily injury liability coverage depends on a variety of factors, including where you live, your driving history, how much coverage you want to purchase, and more.
How do the bodily injury liability coverage limits work?
Bodily injury coverage specifies 2 different limit amounts. Coverage limits are the maximum amount your insurance would pay for a covered claim.
The bodily injury per-person limit is the maximum amount your insurance policy would pay per person injured in an accident that you’re found at fault – up to the per-accident limit.
Per accident limit
The per-accident bodily injury coverage is the maximum amount your insurance policy would per accident that you’re found at fault – regardless of how many individuals are injured.
Let’s say you purchased a policy with $100k per-person and $300k per-accident bodily injury coverage limits. If you were to cause an accident and 1 person was injured, your insurance would pay up to $100k for that person’s medical expenses. If 4 people were injured, your insurance would pay up to $300k total for their combined medical expenses.