Stacked car insurance allows drivers to utilize the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limit for each vehicle on their policy and add them together. In the event of an accident with an uninsured at-fault driver, this option maximizes coverage towards medical payments for the policyholder and their passengers. The opportunity to stack coverage varies per state and insurance provider. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team, which includes licensed agents, is here to show you the ins and outs of stacked vs. unstacked car insurance.

What is stacked car insurance?

Stacked insurance is a way to increase your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage by combining (or stacking) the limits from each vehicle you own. If you do this, you’ll get a greater amount of financial protection if you get into an accident with a driver who only has your state’s minimum liability coverage (or none at all).

There are two ways to stack your protection — insuring all of your cars on one policy or across policies with vehicles registered under your name but with different insurance providers.

Stacked car insurance on one policy

While not all states allow drivers to combine uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, many states do. To effectively stack car insurance in one policy, you would need to have at least two vehicles on the same policy. In the insurance world, this is referred to as vertical stacking.

For example, let’s say the policy has $25,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury protection. If you stack your coverage and are insuring two vehicles on your policy, your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage would extend up to $50,000 per accident. If you had three vehicles on your policy, it would be up to $75,000 for this coverage per accident.

A way to remember stacking in this scenario is that stacking is your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limit multiplied by the number of vehicles on your policy. This calculated amount would generally be your new, stacked coverage limit.

Stacked car insurance on multiple policies

Some states also allow the stacking of uninsured and underinsured motorist protection for vehicles that are a part of the same household if your name is on both policies (note: this is called horizontal stacking in the industry). For example, if you own and insure two cars, one on your policy and one on your child’s policy, you may be able to combine your coverage if 1) you get into an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver, and 2) your name is on both policies even if you aren’t the primary policyholder for the other policy.

For example, suppose you have $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage, and your child also has the same amount of coverage. In that case, you may be able to have $50,000 worth of coverage after an accident involving an uninsured driver who is found at fault.

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What is unstacked car insurance?

Unstacked car insurance is the opposite of stacked car insurance— meaning your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limits are not combined even if you insure multiple vehicles or live with another driver who insures their vehicle. If your car insurance is unstacked, then you would receive up to the uninsured and underinsured coverage limits listed on your policy’s declarations page.

Though stacking may sound like something everyone should do if given the option, there is a disadvantage to stacking car insurance: you pay a higher auto insurance premium. This is because your insurer will be liable for a higher claims payout if you get into an accident.

The advantage to stacking car insurance is simple: you receive more coverage for you and your passengers’ medical payments if you’re in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver who is found at fault.

What states allow car insurance stacking?

If your state has a high amount of uninsured motorists, it may be worth your while to consider stacking your coverage if possible. This could be especially important if your or any of your frequent passengers don’t have their own health insurance. You may want to speak with your agent to get a quote and see if stacked coverage makes sense for your policy.

    • Alabama
    • Arkansas
    • Colorado
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Indiana
    • Kentucky
    • Mississippi
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • New Mexico
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • South Carolina
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin
    • Wyoming
    • Delaware
    • Georgia
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah

Is stacked insurance worth it?

Some may think that more coverage is always better, but it depends on what is important to you as a driver and what fits your budget as a policyholder. First and foremost, if you have questions about liability coverage, speak with your agent to help you make an informed decision. Here are some factors to review with your agent:

  • Do you have health insurance that you are comfortable using? Your health insurance typically pays for medical bills resulting from a car accident once the uninsured motorist coverage from your insurance policy is exhausted. Drivers with high-deductible health insurance plans may save money by paying for stacked coverage instead.
  • Do you frequently have passengers in your vehicle? Uninsured motorist coverage also pays for your passenger’s medical bills. If you regularly have passengers in your car, stacked insurance is a way to help safeguard them from having to use their insurance in the event of an accident.
  • Does having stacked insurance drastically increase your premium? Depending on your insurance company, amount of vehicles on your policy, driving history and other factors, stacking insurance may slightly raise your premium. Or it could cause a drastic rate hike. Again, it’s a good idea to talk with your insurance agent to see if the numbers make sense for you.
  • Does your policy have personal injury protection(PIP) or medical payments coverage? PIP and medical payments coverage are used as primary coverage—they pay out first at the time of a covered loss. Other insurance coverage on your policy will pay out secondary, so evaluating your other coverage limits can help you decide.

Frequently asked questions

    • The average cost of car insurance varies and is based on many factors, and stacking can add a little or a lot to your insurance premium. Ideally, you will want to balance the amount of insurance you feel you need with a price that fits within your budget. Getting a quote and speaking with your agent will help you narrow down your options.
    • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is the only stackable car insurance coverage. If you need higher limits on other insurance coverage, consider asking your agent to provide quotes at higher policy levels. Also, you can usually increase your policy limits online or through your provider’s app to see the premium difference in real time.
    • Some states require policyholders to reject uninsured and underinsured motorist policy coverage in writing or by completing an electronic rejection form. For car insurance companies that allow stacked vs. unstacked uninsured motorist coverage, this form also allows policyholders to accept uninsured motorist coverage but reject stacking the coverage to save on premiums.