What is Stacking, How Does It Affect a Boynton Beach Auto Accident Claim?

by May 27, 2021Auto Accident, Car Accidents, Insurance Policy

What is Stacking, How Does It Affect a Boynton Beach Auto Accident Claim?

by May 27, 2021Auto Accident, Car Accidents, Insurance Policy

What is Stacking, How Does It Affect a Boynton Beach Auto Accident Claim
What is Stacking, How Does It Affect a Boynton Beach Auto Accident Claim

How Can Stacking Affect Your Boynton Beach Auto Accident Claim?

When you buy car insurance, you should bear in mind how you will pay your medical bills and recoup your lost earnings and ability to earn if you’re injured at the hands of a careless driver. One such consideration for you is stacked vs. unstacked insurance. Below, we explain the benefits and limitations of stacking and how a Boynton Beach auto accident lawyer uses stacking to get you the compensation you deserve.

You Must Have Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

To stack insurance, you must carry uninsured (UM)or underinsured insurance (UIM) on your vehicles. Insurers must offer you at least $10,000 per person and $20,000 per crash in uninsured motorist coverage. Such policies pay your losses from personal injuries when the at-fault driver does not have bodily injury liability insurance at all or does not have enough of it.

Florida generally does not require motorists to have bodily injury liability insurance. The Insurance Information Institute reports that, in 2019, one in every five Florida drivers were not insured. To be eligible to claim as to your underinsured policies, you must exhaust the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. To be eligible to make a claim under your uninsured policy, the at-fault driver must not have any liability coverage. However, the difference between underinsured motorist and uninsured motorist policies is in name only.

In addition to exhausting any bodily injury liability coverage, you must prove fault by the other driver to get UM or UIM payments. When you proceed under the uninsured or underinsured coverages, your own insurance company effectively is defending your claim. The company may seek to prove that the other driver was not at fault or that you were at least partly at fault.

Stacking Takes Two Vehicles

By definition, stacking coverage involves having at least two vehicles. If you own a single car, then you must resort to asking your insurer for higher limits on your personal injury protection insurance or the uninsured or underinsured provisions. This translates to higher costs.

Stacking typically involves two alternative approaches. In the vertical method, you place two or more vehicles on the same policy. Each vehicle carries its own policy limits. For instance, if you own three vehicles on the policy and each has $50,000 limits, you get $150,000 by vertical stacking. With one insurer providing UM or UIM benefits, a Boynton Beach auto accident attorney deals with one company.

For horizontal stacking, you rely on multiple policies on each vehicle you own. You combine the limits on each policy to reach the maximum for your Boynton Beach auto accident claim. Subject to the specific provisions of your policy, you might combine policies from different insurance companies. With multiple insurers being stacked together may come disputes especially between the insurers about contribution. Insurers’ battles over who and how much each should pay may complicate or delay your compensation.

You Have More Funds Available For Your Boynton Beach Auto Accident Claim

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 18,063 people suffered incapacitating injuries in Florida motor vehicle crashes in 2019. These injuries include broken bones, severed limbs, significant injuries to internal organs, traumatic brain injuries, and other conditions that necessitate transport to the hospital. Such injuries cause extended time from work and may render you disabled on a long-term or permanent basis.

When you can stack coverage, you have more funds available for compensation for these severe or long-lasting injuries. Personal injury expenses include past bills for emergency room or hospital visits, the ambulance, surgeries, prescriptions, and rehabilitation. You may have future medical expenses because of the need for continued physical therapy, pain management, more invasive treatments such as surgeries, and continued medication.

Unstacked Insurance Follows Only the Vehicle You Drove

Your decision on stacked vs unstacked auto insurance may depend on having flexibility as well as more dollars available for your Boynton Beach auto accident claim. By stacking, your ability to recover uninsured or underinsured is not tied to a particular vehicle. In other words, you can access the benefits of a policy on a vehicle that you were not driving when the crash occurred. Otherwise, you must show that the vehicle either was involved in the crash or that some provision under your UM or UIM allows you to recover as a passenger in another vehicle or as a pedestrian.

Premiums Normally Are Higher With Stacked Policies

The higher policy limits you obtain from stacking mean more risk for your insurer. To get more coverage, you can expect higher premiums to account for your insurer’s greater exposure.

Consider Your Alternatives to Stacking

You might not have a choice on stacked vs unstacked auto insurance. Your policy might prohibit the practice altogether, or you only have one vehicle. A Boynton Beach auto accident attorney reviews your insurance policies, assesses the available coverage for you, and finds alternative sources of payment if you cannot stack.

If you are involved in a multi-vehicle crash, you might look to the liability insurers for each of those drivers. You can hold multiple drivers liable if their individual acts of carelessness contributed to the crash and your injuries. Such a scenario may arise where you experience two rear-end impacts from two vehicles who fail to reduce speed or keep a proper lookout. A careless driver may have t-boned or collided with you head-on, and your vehicle’s airbag failed to deploy. In such a scenario, you may have claims against both the at-fault driver and the manufacturer of the vehicle you were driving.

Have Other Insurance to Handle Property Damage

You may only stack uninsured and underinsured coverage for bodily injury claims. Stacking does not avail you of damage to your car, home, fence, or other property from an at-fault driver. You should not rely on other drivers to have liability coverage for property damage. Consider purchasing collision insurance to cover the costs of repairs or replacement of your vehicle. Your homeowners’ policy may pay for damage to the structure, fence, or yard from a vehicle not kept in proper control.

Contact a Boynton Beach Auto Accident Attorney Know and Pursue Your Options

The amount of insurance you can reach is important to your auto accident claim. If you’re injured in an automobile wreck, obtain from the other drivers and parties all of their insurance information. Our legal team will review your insurance policies and those of the other parties to determine how we can stack and maximize your benefits.

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