A persistent issue in the area of uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) car insurance coverage is that of stacking.
What is “stacking?”
Stacking simply refers to being able to combine coverage limits, which are the maximum amounts your insurance will pay you for a covered claim, for multiple vehicles. This allows for a greater amount of protection for an insured party should the at-fault party have no insurance or an insufficient amount of insurance to cover any injuries sustained in the collision.
For example, John has 3 cars, and each have the minimum UM/UIM coverage in Alabama of $25,000. If he is seriously injured in a car accident with an uninsured driver,he would have not only the $25,000 worth of coverage for the vehicle he was in, but would also be able to add, or “stack,” the coverage of the other 2 vehicles to give him $75,000 worth of coverage.
How many policies can be “stacked?”
In Alabama, if the vehicle coverages that are being “stacked” are all under the same policy, then only 3 vehicles can be included.
Consider the same example, but assume John now has 4 cars.Each car is insured under the same policy with the minimum UIM coverage in Alabama of $25,000. He would still have $75,000 worth of coverage since you cannot “stack” the 4th vehicle’s coverage.
However, Alabama law allows an insured to stack an unlimited number of insurance policies.
Now, John still has 4 cars, but 2 are under a policy with ABC insurance and the other 2 are under XYZ insurance. Under this scenario, John would be able to stack $100,000 worth of coverage since he is stacking two separate insurance policies.
Who can stack coverage?
When discussing who can stack coverage, there are generally 3 types of classes:(1) the named insured identified in the insurance policy, which can include family members and relatives(the family member or relative must be a resident of the named insured’s household), (2) a person who was occupying a covered vehicle(who may also be able to stack their own policies), and (3) any other person who may be entitled to recover because of bodily injury that falls under the specific policy, such as an employee.
Many instances concerning UM/UIM may require an experienced personal injury attorney to get the insurance company to pay you what you are entitled. The experienced attorneys at Virtus Law Group are here to help you or your loved ones navigate what can be a stressful and complicated issue.