Call Us Toll Free: 1-855-430-7753
Go To Top
Get Personalized Car Insurance Quotes
Currently Insured?

What does stacked and non-stacked mean?


Question:  What does stacked and non-stacked mean?

Answer: Stacking normally refers to an option you can select for uninsured motorist bodily injury (UM) and/or underinsured motorist bodily injury (UIM) coverages. 

Stacking uninsured motorist coverage and/or underinsured motorist policies is an option that allows you to increase the limits you select for your UM/UIM bodily injury coverage. Limits increase based on the number of cars you are insuring. For this increased level of protection, you will pay a higher car insurance premium.

Here is an example of stacking:

John has limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident (written as 100/300) for his uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and is insuring two vehicles. If he leaves them "unstacked," or non-stacked as you called it, John's limits would stay at 100/300. Instead, if John chose to stack his UM coverages, then his limits would double to $200,000 per person and $600,000 per accident (200/600).

By selecting stacking for your uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, you simply increase your limits for each of these coverages by the number of cars you're insuring. Generally, there is not a limit on the number of vehicles that can be insured and, thus, stacked this way.

The Property Casualty Insurance Association of America (PCIAA) lists nearly 30 states whose statutes, rules, and/or case law either do not address the issue or specifically allow stacking. However, in many states that allow stacking, auto insurers are permitted to include policy language that prevents policyholders from stacking UM/UIM coverage. So while your state might permit stacking, if your policy explicitly forbids it, you will not be able to stack your benefits.

Since laws in each state vary widely for UM/UIM stacking in accordance with each situation, and sometimes depending upon case law plus state insurance laws are continually being changed and update, it is best to check with your state's insurance regulator or  your insurance agent to find out if you can stack your UM/UIM benefits.

Stacking on one policy and stacking among car insurance policies

When you stack UM and UIM coverages, you have two options: stack within one policy or stack across policies.

Stacking within one policy means that you are able to stack your uninsured and/or underinsured bodily injury coverage when you have more than one car on the same policy. So, if you have four cars on your auto policy, each with UM limits of $100,000, you can choose to stack these and combine the coverage limits for a total limit of $400,000.

Stacking across policies works if you have two or more separate auto policies for your household vehicles. If you have $100,000 per person UM limits on each vehicle and are hit by an uninsured driver, you can file a claim under each car’s policy. Thus, if you have two separate policies in this scenario and your damages come to $150,000, you can make a $100,000 claim under the first car’s UM coverage and then a second claim for the remaining $50,000 under your second car’s UM coverage. 

A reason to stack your coverages is to obtain much higher limits for UM and UIM coverage. However, if you’re pinching pennies, you may want to hold off on stacking since you’ll pay more for the privilege (because your car insurance company could possibly have to payout more if you used your UM/UIM coverage). 

Leave a Comment
Ask a Question
Tell us your thoughts
Leave a Comment

18 Responses to "What does stacked and non-stacked mean?"
  1. Charles T. Moore

    Very helpful explanation on stacked and non-stacked coverage and that it applies to UM/UIM only. Thanks.

  2. Visitor

    I understood the answer after being confused for so long, so thanks.

  3. Anonymous

    This explanation was helpful. With 4 cars in my household, I am reducing the UM coverage but selecting the stacked option.

  4. Anonymous

    I would have like to have an advise related to this issue

  5. Anonymous

    last paragraph was precise

  6. Anonymous

    Excellent explanation. Just a short note, I have had Progressive Insurance for three years and they have charged me for stacked benefits the whole time, even though I only own one vehicle. Years ago, I had stacked with another company when I did own two vehicles, and just continued to ask for it, not knowing what it really meant. You would think the insurance company whould advise me when it is not necessary. The only way I found out was by going insurance shopping and found several quotes on line would not offer me stacked coverage, and rightly so. Very annoyed that Progressive never informed me that I did not need it. Thank you for your excellent explanation.

    1. anonymous August 09, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      My insurer has been charging me for stacked for four years and I have only ever owned one vehicle. Not till I just change insurers did I find out that I didn't need it. Read over your policy people!

        Reply »  
  7. Anonymous

    The answer was clear and the examples were spot on.

  8. Anonymous

    It got right to the point and answered my question without having to find it hidden somewhere in the middle of a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

  9. Anonymous


  10. Anonymous

    You thoroughly answered the question and cleared up the confusion

  11. Anonymous

    Very clear, gave me more information than i needed. thanks-

  12. Anonymous

    Because I still not understand to which car apply the uninsured policy. It is to my car or to the other car that hit my car that do not have any coverage?

  13. Anonymous

    (AIG) Now 21st Century insurance was pretty vague in details and explanations of this option when mailed its waiver for us to sign or reject

  14. Anonymous


  15. Anonymous

    All my answers were stated clearly.

  16. Anonymous

    made more sense and very helpful

  17. Anonymous

    This sure explained it better than Progressive did.

Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided are for information purposes. They are not intended to substitute informed professional advice. These responses should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide financial or legal advice. Please refer to your insurance policy for specific coverage and exclusion information. Please read our Terms of Service.

Ask Your Question Now


Penny will do whatever research it takes to find your answer ASAP.