Car insurance is confusing. After a while of shopping, you might just want to click buy and be done with it. But it pays to take some time and understand what you’re buying. For example, choosing between stacked vs unstacked insurance can drastically change the amount of uninsured bodily injury coverage you have available at the time of a car accident.
In this article, we’ll get into the specifics between these two coverage options. We’ll also mention a couple of providers that should be on your car insurance shopping list. In our research, these two providers performed well across multiple categories and are two of the best options for car insurance today.
To go ahead and start comparing car insurance quotes, call our team at (844) 246-8209 or use the tool below.
In this article:
- What Is Stacked Vs Unstacked Insurance?
- How Does Stacked Insurance Work?
- Where Can You Get Stacked Insurance?
- Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
- FAQ About Stacked Vs Unstacked Insurance
What Is Stacked Vs Unstacked Insurance?
You may have heard of stacked vs unstacked insurance, but what are they and why would you choose one over the other?
What Is Stacked Insurance?
Stacked insurance allows you to combine uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) limits between multiple vehicles that you own. If you have two cars with limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident each, you can use combined limits of $50,000/$100,000 for UMBI claims.
|Increased UMBI limits||A bit more expensive|
|Protects against high medical expenses||Not available in all states|
|Some states add more restrictions on coverage|
What Is Unstacked Insurance?
Unstacked insurance does not combine your amount of coverage, applying your standard coverage limits to one specific vehicle. Unstacked car insurance does not boost your UMBI limits and is usually the default in most states.
|More affordable||Must purchase high limits to be protected against expensive accidents|
|Available in any state and from any insurance company||Same coverage with more vehicles insured|
How Does Stacked Insurance Work?
Stacking exists to help cover significant health costs for accident victims. While underinsured and uninsured motorist coverages also pay for property damage (UMPD), that part of the coverage is not affected by stacking.
UMBI coverage comes in two limits: per person and per accident. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll talk about UMBI limits as a single number, but stacking affects both types.
Stack Within One Policy Or Across Policies
There are two ways that stacking can work: within one policy or across multiple policies.
You can stack coverage within one car insurance policy by insuring a number of vehicles on the same policy. Often, you can get a multi-car quote that includes a stacking option right there, which makes things easy. You’ll be able to see the difference in price between stacked vs unstacked insurance coverage on your quote.
Now maybe you have one car on a certain policy and a second car on another policy. For stacking to work, both of these policies need to be owned by the same person, and they need to be provided by the same company. In this case, you could pay slightly more on one car insurance policy to stack coverages together.
Stacking won’t work across multiple policies owned by different people or bought from different companies.
Why Stack Insurance Coverage?
The main reason to stack insurance is to get more uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
Let’s say you have four cars, and each of them has UMBI limits of $50,000. Now, it makes sense that your collision coverage on one car wouldn’t be used for another car. But UMBI coverage is to pay for your own injuries as an accident victim. Stacking lets you access each car’s policy and use all four UMBI limits at the same time. That gives you $200,000 in total.
Of course, stacked insurance coverage costs a little bit more than unstacked insurance coverage on your policy. But it doesn’t cost as much as increasing each car’s UMBI policy to reflect a combined limit, or to $200,000 for each car in this example. That’s what you would have to do to get more coverage in a state that doesn’t allow stacking.
Where Can You Get Stacked Insurance?
A minority of states allow stacked coverage. In some of these states, insurance companies are required to offer stacked insurance coverage in clear language on the policy. In others, insurance companies can conceal this option in the fine print to discourage people from using it. Some states don’t allow stacking, and a few other states don’t have legislation one way or the other on the issue.
Looked at another way, certain states do not allow anti-stacking provisions, while others do. In states that don’t allow anti-stacking provisions, insurance companies are required to offer stacked insurance coverage. Florida is one of these states. So, any car insurance company in Florida will offer stacked insurance, whether that’s Geico or the Florida Farm Bureau.
Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
When looking for stacked car insurance coverage, first find a reliable auto insurance provider and then ask an insurance agent if the company offers stacked insurance in your state. Unless your state requires it, you might not see an option for stacking on your quote.
After doing our homework, we think USAA and State Farm are both great options for car insurance, whether you’re going with stacked or non-stacked car insurance coverage. We recommend getting auto insurance quotes from both and comparing coverage. In addition to the insurance company you choose, factors like your age, vehicle make and model, and driving history can affect your rates, so what’s best for your neighbor might not be best for you.
Use our quote comparison tool below to get started. Or, for an even easier process, call our team at (844) 246-8209 to get free, personalized quotes seven days a week.
USAA Insurance: 4.8 Stars
In our review of USAA, we found there was a lot to like about the car insurance company. It gets high ratings for its claims service, quotes experience, and mobile app. Here are some highlights of USAA:
- A++ financial strength rating from AM Best
- Scored 902/1,000 points from J.D. Power on 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study℠
- Scored 909/1,000 points from J.D. Power on 2021 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study℠
- Discounts for safe driving, military deployment, good driving history, and more
- Extras including gap insurance, accident forgiveness, roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and rideshare coverage
But what about the price? Well, USAA tends to be the cheapest option for many drivers in different states. Sometimes, the price you pay for cheap insurance is bad customer service, but not here.
The only caveat with USAA is that you have to be a member of the military or a veteran, or you have to be a spouse or child of someone who has had a USAA insurance policy (auto or home).
Read more in our full review of USAA auto insurance.
State Farm Insurance: 4.6 Stars
For the rest of us, State Farm car insurance is another great option. We rated the company as the best option for students, but it also offers low prices to many other types of drivers. Here are some things to know about State Farm:
- A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and an A rating from the BBB
- Scored 869/1,000 points from J.D. Power on 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study℠
- Discounts including defensive driving, good student, Steer ClearⓇ program, Drive Safe & Save™ program, multi-car, and more
- Extra coverage options including classic car insurance, travel expense coverage, rental coverage, rideshare insurance, and roadside assistance
In particular, the good student discount can give young drivers up to 20 percent off of their premiums. Combine that with the educational app Steer Clear for another discount, and that makes for affordable coverage for teens and students.
Read more in our full review of State Farm auto insurance.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.
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