When Can You Stack Insurance Benefits After an Auto Accident?

October 28, 2015

 

It is in the best interests of all drivers to purchase underinsured motorist coverage in the event of an accident with someone who has inadequate coverage. UIM coverage is extra auto insurance coverage that you can purchase to protect you if an at-fault driver does not carry enough insurance to compensate you for all of your injuries sustained in an accident.  There are many reasons why UIM is an extremely important piece of your auto insurance policy, and next to ensuring you are made whole after a car accident, stacking is the most important reason why you should purchase UIM coverage with your auto insurance policy.

What is Stacking?

Stacking allows you to be paid all of the coverage available from the insurance policy covering the car that was at fault, including the car in which you were riding, and then get paid from the UIM coverage on other cars in your household.  This goes on for as many cars that are in your household with UIM coverage, until you are fully compensated for your claim (or all the UIM coverage in your household is exhausted).  In any event, however, it is a benefit from UIM coverage that can provide a major source of compensation for damages caused in an accident, when the driver at fault is underinsured.

A Stacking Example

Imagine that you and your wife own four cars (two that you drive, two that your children drive).  The insurance policy for each car carries $100,000 of UIM coverage.  This means that if you or your wife or your children are then involved in a serious car accident while riding in any of those cars, you could have access to an additional $400,000 in insurance coverage, if the car at fault is underinsured.  This can be a huge relief, knowing that most drivers in the state of South Carolina are carrying only the minimum liability coverage required by law of $25,000.

Figuring Out How to Stack Policies Can Be Challenging

Stacking is not easy, and the eligibility to do so is governed by extremely intricate rules. To stack UIM coverage, you must be able to prove that the accident in question involved an automobile that is covered by the UIM policy you want to stack.  You must also prove that you are either the holder or the spouse of the holder of the UIM policy you want to access, or that you are a relative that lives in the same household.

Each of these issues can be fact-intensive and require evidence be provided.  It is unfortunate, but when you try to stack UIM coverage, your insurance company is not on your side.  In many cases, they actively fight against your legal right to access the UIM coverage.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have been in a serious car accident that you believe requires stacking of at least one UIM policy, it is in your best interests to discuss your case with an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer, who is used to dealing with insurance companies and lawyers for insurance companies.  Call or email David Aylor Law Offices now if you were in an accident in Charleston, North Charleston, or Walterboro, South Carolina and would like to explore whether or not you are eligible to stack your UIM policy or policies.  

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