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Review Your UM/UIM Limits. Are They Sufficient For You?

You want to be sure your damages are covered in a serious accident.

Every auto insurance policy in Virginia must contain uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. However, insurance coverage is only as adequate as its policy limits.

One way of ensuring sufficient coverage is to buy stacked UM/UIM coverage. With stacked coverage you can receive payments from more than one of your auto insurance policies that cover each of your cars.

For example, when you have a policy that covers $75,000 in bodily injury per person on two of your cars, you can collect up to $150,000.

Not all states allow UM/UIM stacking, but Virginia does under the rule established in the case Goodvile Mutual Casualty. Co. v. Borror. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that “the stacking of UM coverage will be permitted unless clear and unambiguous language exists on the face of the policy to prevent such multiple coverage. Under principles previously embraced, any ambiguity contained within a policy will be construed against the insurer.”

To benefit from what you believe is a stacked insurance policy, you must make sure your policy clearly states the amount of UM/UIM coverage per person ($75,000 in our example) for each covered vehicle. In a recent case (2013), Ronnie Steve Dooley v. Hartford Accident and Indemnity, the policy renewal did not state the coverage amount, which the court deemed unambiguous and therefore applied the anti-stacking provision.

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