Understanding insurance and dealing with insurance claims can be a daunting task. As you navigate through this website, you will find answers to many of your questions regarding life, auto, and other forms of insurance coverage as well as practical applications to help you make the right decisions. Check out our blog here.
Why Should I Stack My Uninsured/Underinsured Auto insurance Coverage?
It is often recommended that drivers carry at least $100,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. However, if you are seriously injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver and have to be off work for a long period of time, or require extensive knee surgery and hundreds of thousands of dollars in future medical care, your $100,000 of uninsured/underinsured coverage may fall way short of providing the coverage that you actually need. But, by stacking your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may have access to even more coverage than you need.
Read further for more information concerning why should stack your uninsured/underinsured auto coverage.
A Brief Overview Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance
It is against the law to drive without insurance, but people still do. Even more drive without enough insurance (underinsured).
If you are involved in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may not be able to recover enough to pay for medical expenses, damage to your car and lost wages. This is why many drivers choose to purchase underinsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).
UM/UIM motorist coverage is additional insurance coverage that you purchase to pay you if the person at fault for the accident has no insurance or has insufficient insurance to cover you claim. In essence, it acts as if it was the other person’s insurance.
For example, if the driver is insured only up to $25,000 and your losses total $50,000, your UIM policy will pay the $25,000 difference, assuming you have purchased at least $25,000 in coverage.
UM/UIM coverage is surprisingly affordable and one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself when buying auto insurance
What it Mean to Stack Your Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Coverage
If you purchase a UM/UIM policy, you have a choice to make as to whether you want to the insurance stacked or unstacked.
Each car has its own policy limits that can be added (stacked) all together to be applied to one claim, in some circumstances. So, if you choose to stack your UM/UIM coverage you can dramatically increase the amount of coverage you have by adding all the policy limits together.
So, if you have policies on 5 vehicles for $100,000 of UM/UIM coverage each, you are essentially adding the policy limits up to a sum of $500,000 of coverage on any car. However, if you choose not to stack, you will be limited to the $100,000 of coverage that each policy states.
Now granted, you are charged and extra premium for stacking. But this extra premium is relatively inexpensive considering the dramatic increase in coverage it affords you. So, you may be able to go from $100,000 in coverage to $500,000 of coverage for a negligible increase in your insurance premiums.
So, you should stack your uninsured/underinsured auto coverage because it’s relatively inexpensive to dramatically increase the amount of coverage available to you in the event that you, a passenger or a family member happens to be injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Although most states do not require you to purchase them, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in addition to your basic auto insurance policy is a good idea to be discussed with a knowledgeable professional who can help you determine what is best for you and your family.
When you are negotiating a settlement with an insurance company, it is often a good idea to establish a good rapport with the insurance adjuster in order to facilitate a smooth negotiation and hopefully a fair settlement. However, it is very important that you always maintain control of how, what, and when information gets shared with the insurance company.
When it comes to sharing information with an insurance adjuster, there are 3 particular things you should not do:
Typically, early on during the case, the insurance adjuster will contact and you for a statement––usually a recorded statement. You should feel more than welcome to give them a short statement, but you should refrain from giving them any recorded statement or discussing anything about your injuries until you have received an in-depth medical consultation. This is because the facts might change and you may be diagnosed with a different medical condition as you continue to be evaluated. So, you don’t want to get locked into any statement regarding your injuries early on in the case.
Often the insurance adjuster will tell you that they can save you the hassle of having to collect your medical records if you allow them access to do it for you. However, when you do this, you are given access to your medical documentation to a party who is determined to find ways to deny you coverage and/or compensation for your medical needs.
If the insurance adjuster finds anything in your medical records that can be used to limit the amount of money they have to pay you for your claim, they will most certainly use it against you. So, do the legwork on your own. Collect your own medical records and only turn over what you think is relevant to your case and to receiving the compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies will often tell you that it is mandatory for you to give them your social security number due to some Medicare requirement, for example. But if you read the Medicare laws carefully, you will find that there is nothing there that requires the mandatory disclosure of your social security number to your insurance company. If you are a recipient of Medicare, you do have to give your Medicare Number, but you don’t have to give your Social Security Number.
If you do turn your Social Security Number over to the insurance company, they will use it to dig through all of your personal information in order to find ways to limit your claim and pay you less for your injuries. So, never give your Social Security Number to the insurance adjuster.
Maintaining control the information in your personal injury case is vital to ensuring a fair settlement from the liable insurance company. So, whenever you are negotiating with an insurance adjuster be mindful of what, when and how you share information regarding your injuries, your medical history and your personal life. Whenever in doubt about what you are required to share with an insurance adjuster, contact a qualified personal injury attorney for guidance.