Any driver can buy car insurance when they want to be protected against collisions, but even though insurance is required, some drivers still neglect to buy it. If you are involved in an accident with a motorist who has inadequate insurance, you may be in need of uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorists (UIM) coverage.
These types of policies will pay for your medical and/or repair bills if the other driver’s insurance is not adequate. However, the limits on this coverage will depend on whether you have a stacked or an unstacked plan.
Stacked vs Unstacked – What’s the Difference?
Stacking your coverage means that you increase your level of UM/UIM coverage when you have more than one vehicle. Many drivers find that it doubles or triples their limits. When the need arises, they can potentially combine their stacked policies to make a bigger claim.
Unstacked insurance coverage, on the other hand, treats each vehicle’s coverage separately, no matter how many cars you insure.
Advantages of Stacked Cover
When a crash involving an under or uninsured driver takes place, the standard coverage cap may prove inadequate. For example, a $25,000 uninsured motorist policy will likely not supply enough money to fund hospital treatments for a seriously injured driver and multiple passengers. If you buy stacked policies on two cars, this cap increases to $50,000. A third vehicle would add another $25,000. Underinsured coverage limits also rise accordingly.
Advantages of Unstacked
The only major advantage of unstacked insurance is that it costs somewhat less. Insurers must charge significantly more to provide two, three, or even four times as much coverage. Nonetheless, it’s worth taking the time to ask an insurance agent about the difference in price. It varies considerably from one region or insurer to the next. You may find that stacking’s extra expense is easy to afford.
Both stacked and unstacked policies cover the same types of accidents and costs. Regardless of what insurance you choose, the caps reset when a new crash occurs. Any uninsured motorist policy with a $50,000 limit will pay up to $50,000 in costs associated with each separate collision.
Value of Protection
Only approximately 13 percent of U.S. motorists don’t have liability coverage. This means that you’re not particularly likely to suffer a collision with an uninsured driver. It might make more sense to spend the extra cash on comprehensive insurance or better health coverage.
Nevertheless, uninsured motorists remain much more common in some states than others, and the above-mentioned statistic doesn’t include underinsured drivers.
You should think about several different factors when comparing stacked vs. unstacked auto insurance. Such considerations include how often you drive, how much disposable income you have, your state’s laws, and the percentage of uninsured motorists. Stacked coverage holds greater value in states like Florida and Oklahoma, where more than one-fifth of the drivers lack insurance.
You May Only Have One Option
If you own a single vehicle or live in a state that doesn’t allow stacking, and unstacked policy is your sole choice. Slightly more than half of U.S. states permit stacked coverage. Specific rules on stacking also vary; they’re more restrictive in places like Oregon and Kentucky. Experienced insurance agents will be able to provide further details, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a professional about your options.