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What is “stacking?”
If an individual is badly hurt in a car accident, the limits of liability from the at fault driver may be insufficient to cover their damages. Even worse is if the at fault driver did not have coverage at the time of the accident. An injury victim may then want to look at their own insurance policy to see what options they have, either through an underinsured motorist claim or an insured motorist claim. If a policy holder has underinsured motorist coverage on multiple vehicles or uninsured motorist coverage on multiple vehicles, they may want to attempt to stack the limits of each policy.
Stacking refers to an insured’s ability to obtain multiple insurance coverage benefits from an injury from more than one policy. This usually occurs when the insured has two or more separate vehicles under separate policies, or from multiple coverages provided for within a single policy, as when an insured has one policy that covers more than one vehicle.
Whether or not one can stack depends upon the language used in the policy. “If the policy language is unambiguous in disallowing stacking, the anti-stacking provisions are enforceable.” Ritchie vs. Allied Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 307 S.W.3d 132, 135 (Mo. Banc 2009). “If, however, the policy language is ambiguous as to stacking, it must be construed against the insurer, and stacking will be allowed. Id. “The burden is on the insured to show coverage is provided under the policies at issue.” Manner vs. Schiermeir, 393 S.W. 3d 58, 63 (Mo. Banc 2013).
It is up to the plaintiff to show that the policy language allows for stacking of policies. In that event, an injury claimant may be able to recover the limits from multiple vehicles, likely drastically increasing their settlement. Stacking does not occur that often but is a very big deal to those who have suffered injuries serious enough to warrant it.
If you were injured in a car accident call Attorney Stephen Gerring today at (314)-222-0066 for a free case consultation. Attorney Gerring will thoroughly analyze your situation and tell you all the avenues of recovery you may have available to you.