Understanding insurance coverage is a crucial part of any Maryland car accident case. After an accident, many unfamiliar terms may come up, potentially confusing an accident victim. Insurance stacking refers to a coverage option that some states allow policyholders to obtain to protect themselves if they are in a car accident with an under or uninsured motorist (UIM). Stacking enables policyholders to make claims under two policies or make two claims from different vehicles under the same policy. To obtain stacked insurance coverage, the policyholder must live in a state that allows this type of coverage.
State laws vary on whether policyholders are permitted to stack insurance policies. For example, Maryland does not permit policyholders to stack with multiple policies or within one policy if the language is clear and unambiguous. Whereas, Virginia allows drivers to stack policies unless there is clear and unambiguous language prohibiting stacking. Additionally, policyholders who wish to get this coverage must have UIM coverage on two cars under one policy or two separate policies on two vehicles. This coverage allows motorists to increase their bodily injury coverage if they are involved in an accident with a UIM.
States that allow stacking remove some unfair and burdensome barriers that motorists face when they are involved with a negligent uninsured driver. For example, a state appellate court recently issued an opinion in a case stemming from a car accident involving an underinsured driver. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff purchased a car insurance policy for two of her vehicles. She initially waived her right to stack her UIM coverage but then increased her coverage and was not presented with the same waiver at that time. Several years later, she was involved in an accident with an underinsured driver, and the insurance company attempted to limit her coverage and claimed that she waived stacking when she increased her coverage. The appellate court found that it was the insurance company’s responsibility to provide her with a new waiver; otherwise, it could not be said that the plaintiff waived her right to the coverage.
Maryland does not permit stacking, and as such, car accident victims must find different avenues to recover for damages when they are involved in an accident with a UM. And while Virginia does permit stacking, insurance companies will often find ways to deny or limit coverage. Maryland and Virginia car accident victims should retain dedicated attorneys to ensure that recovering much-deserved compensation is as smooth as possible.
Have You Been Involved in an Accident with an Under or Uninsured Motorist in Maryland?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries after a Maryland car accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen understand that injury victims need compassion and zealous advocacy. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients and continuously fight for the rights of injury victims. Our team of attorneys can help you navigate the complexities that these lawsuits present and can overcome the hurdles insurance companies frequently impose. Contact one of our Maryland injury attorneys at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation.