What Is “Stacking” Under Florida Insurance Law?

Florida has one of the highest rates of car accidents involving uninsured or underinsured (UIM) drivers in the country. Car accidents with drivers without appropriate insurance can have long-term medical and financial consequences on a car accident victim, and Florida drivers must protect themselves.

Florida requires that motorists maintain two types of auto insurance, personal injury protection (PIP), and property damage liability (PD). Florida’s designation as a “no-fault” state means that a motorist’s PIP coverage will cover covert medical expenses up to $10,000, without consideration of fault. However, Florida does not require motorists to carry bodily injury coverage; this coverage pays expenses the other party incurs because of an accident. The only time this does not apply is if the responsible driver has been convicted of DUI.

In response to these potentially devastating situations, Florida insurance law requires insurance companies to offer motorists the option to purchase UIM coverage. Thus, although UIM coverage is not mandatory, insurance companies must offer coverage to policyholders. The insurance protects the insured if they are involved in an accident with another motorist who does not have any or enough bodily injury insurance. However, policyholders must understand that UIM coverage is only an option if they carry bodily injury coverage in an amount higher than the UIM coverage. Florida’s minimum bodily injury coverage is $10,000 per person and $20,000 per occurrence.

The two types of UIM coverage are stacked and nonstacked. Stacking insurance increases a motorist’s UIM coverage relative to the number of cars they insure. Policyholders can choose to stack across policies or within one policy, and this is typically known as horizontal stacking and vertical stacking. To illustrate, horizontal stacking may occur when a policyholder is using the same insurance company and decides to file a claim against an uninsured driver on more than on policy. This applies even if the policies are for different vehicles.

In contrast, vertical stacking occurs in situations such as when a person owns multiple cars within one policy. For example, if a motorist has a UIM limit of $50,000, they may choose to stack the policy on each vehicle, and if they are involved in an accident in one of the cars with an underinsured driver, they can file a $50,000 claim for every vehicle, totaling $250,000.

Stacking coverage allows motorists to benefit from having higher coverage limits if they are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist in Florida. When a person does not stack coverage, they may need to increase liability limits to get the same coverage. Although, this type of coverage may have higher premiums, it provides motorists greater protection. Unstacked automobile coverage treats each car’s coverage separately, regardless of how many people the person insures. Although, the motorist may pay a lower car insurance premium, their limits may be too low to cover their actual expenses.

Have You Been Involved in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a Florida car accident, contact the injury attorneys at Friedman Rodman & Frank, P.A. The attorneys at our office have a rich and successful history of fighting for Florida injury victims. We have represented clients since 1976, and our lawyers have almost 100 years of combined experience advocating on behalf of Floridians. Our attorneys possess both extensive legal knowledge and fierce litigation skills and have recovered significant amounts of compensation for our clients. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our firm.

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