In many states when purchasing automobile insurance, the customer can choose uninsured/underinsured driver/bodily injury coverage with an option that is known as "Stacking." As a rule, auto policies are the only kind of insurance for which this option is available. So what exactly does the term stacking mean and why do some people choose to pay a bit more for it? Is it worth it?
To begin, this option can be applied only if the auto policy covers more than one vehicle. Simply stated, stacking allows for the coverage limit, as described in the underinsured/uninsured/bodily injury policy, to be increased for every covered vehicle. What this means in simplest terms is that the coverage limit for each vehicle that is included in the policy will be multiplied by the number of insured vehicles. For example: If the coverage limit is $50,00.00 per vehicle and there are two vehicles included in the policy, the maximum amount payable in the event of an accident involving one of the vehicles is $100,000.00.
The primary purpose of UM policies is to cover the insured driver, members of the insured's family, and passengers from injuries and related damages that are caused by an uninsured or an underinsured driver who is at-fault, or by a hit-and-run driver. Even though the party responsible for the accident may not be insured, the policy will cover medical expenses up to the coverage limit. If the policy holder has more than one vehicle and wants to increase the coverage limit, the stacking option will accomplish that goal. Naturally, because the coverage limits are increased, so is the premium cost.
For most people, stacking is well worth the added premium cost. The comparable increase in coverage for each individual vehicle that this option provides would be far more costly if each vehicle were insured for that amount individually. A nominal increase in premium cost can translate into a great deal of money in the case of a claim. The laws regarding making claims under stacked policies are not uniform from state to state in which the option is permitted but, in virtually all of them, having it represents a distinct advantage for the policy holder. Insurance is something that no one wants to use but everyone feels better for having. This is the best way to be protected from an underinsured driver who causes an accident.
Living in a state where stacking is permitted does not automatically mean that it is included in any auto insurance policy. It is an option and must be requested when the policy is purchased. It is advisable to check with an agent to get all of the pertinent facts.