Your auto insurance policy coverage may be higher than you think, due to the ability to stack multiple insurance policies. In fact, if you’re injured in an accident, and the other driver is at fault and has multiple policies, or the driver has multiple vehicles covered under one policy, stacking may be available. Both Kansas and Missouri allow for policy stacking in personal injury cases, but the rules are different in each state.
We’ll discuss the basics of policy stacking in each state and how you can find out if your policies can be stacked.
What is Policy Stacking?
Essentially, policy stacking is combining the coverage limits of two different vehicles to increase the coverage available after auto accident. There are two main ways to do this:
- One policy on multiple vehicles: In this scenario, you have one auto insurance policy that covers both of your vehicles, for $25,000 each in property damage liability. You get into an accident and are liable for $50,000 in damages. You use the $25,000 from the first vehicle, and then the $25,000 from the second vehicle to just cover your costs. In states where stacking is not allowed, the second $25,000 would not be available to you. The policy language will also dictate whether stacking is available.
- Multiple vehicles and multiple policies: In this scenario, you have two vehicles and have purchased two separate auto insurance policies, one covering your first vehicle for $25,000, the other for your second vehicle for another $25,000. Both policies are in your name. You get into an accident with one vehicle and are responsible for $50,000 in damage. You stack the policies to cover the total $50,000 in costs, even though only one of your vehicles was involved in the accident. Again, the policy language will also dictate whether stacking is available.
Policies that have the potential to stack include:
- Liability coverage
- Medical payments coverage
- Uninsured coverage (UM)
- Underinsured coverage (UIM)
When injured in an accident where another driver is uninsured or can’t be found, or the other driver is underinsured, it is important to know whether your UM and UIM coverage stack. If they do, you will have additional protection.
Some states do not allow any policy stacking at all, but both Kansas and Missouri allow some degree of stacking.
Rules for Policy Stacking in Kansas
Kansas specifically has statutes that prohibit the stacking of uninsured coverage, underinsured coverage, and personal injury protection benefits. Thus, even if you or the at-fault driver who hit you has multiple policies or more than one vehicle covered by a policy, the coverage amounts cannot be combined to cover your damages. For that reason, it is especially important for you to invest in additional uninsured/underinsured coverage. Otherwise, you may not have any enough coverage if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
On the other hand, Kansas does not prohibit stacking the liability policies of the at-fault driver who hit you. However, the policies need to be examined because if the policies prohibit stacking (which is usually the case), those anti-stacking provisions are enforceable (unless there is some ambiguity in the policy language).
Rules for Policy Stacking in Missouri
Missouri is less stringent about policy stacking than Kansas and has no statutes prohibiting stacking. Thus, the courts will rely on the specific language in the insurance policies to determine whether stacking is allowed. Anti-stacking language with respect to uninsured coverage is prohibited, but the policies can reduce the coverage of UM benefits to $25,000 per policy. Anti-stacking language with respect to underinsured coverage is enforceable so long as it is not ambiguous. Many insurance providers include anti-stacking provisions in their auto insurance policies to prevent stacking.
But, if there is any ambiguity about stacking in your insurance policy, those ambiguities are construed against the insurance company who drafted the policy. When involved in an accident, it is important to obtain an excellent personal injury attorney who can review the policies to determine whether stacking applies to your case.
Get a Lawyer’s Guidance on Stacking Policies
If you have been injured in an accident, it may appear that the coverage is not sufficient to cover your injuries. If that’s the case, it’s important to determine whether stacking of policies is available (and the amount of underinsured coverage available). If you have been involved in a car accident, or if you want to talk with an attorney about adequate insurance coverage, call Aaron House today for a free consultation at 816-875-4260.