If you have more than one vehicle insured under the same insurance policy and you are involved in a collision where the at fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can "stack" the uninsured/underinsured (um/uim) coverages of up to two more insured vehicles on top of the vehicle involved in the collision. For instance, let’s say that you have four vehicles covered under one policy and the um/uim limits for each is $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. In that instance, you would "stack" the coverages of two more of your vehicles, raising the total amount of um/uim coverage available to $300,000 per person and $900,000 per incident.
Let’s work through an example. To make it simple, I will not consider the at fault driver’s "per incident" limits of liability coverage. Using the coverages above, father, son and daughter are driving to the store in dad’s car when another driver runs the red light and collides with dad’s vehicle. That driver has liability insurance with a $50,000 limit. At the trial of that case, the jury awards father damages of $60,000, son damages of $200,000 and daughter $400,000. Who gets what? As to father, the at fault driver’s liability coverage pays it’s $50,000 limit and dad’s um/uim carrier pays the remaining $10,000 of the judgment. Son would get the full $200,000 ($50,000 from at fault driver and $150,000 from um/uim). Daughter, however, would have her damage award capped at $350,000 ($50,000 from at fault driver and $300,000 from um/uim) because she got the limits from each.
There is one twist to "stacking." If the four vehicles owned by dad were insured by the same insurance carrier under four separate policies, the coverages for each policy would be available to dad and his kids. Tomorrow, we will talk about damages.
Cum Laude graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Pet Mackey is a civil trial litigation expert who represents plaintiffs in business and consumer tort, contracts and construction, employment disputes and insurance. He is board certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Certified Alabama Mediator, and an “AV” rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.