Current Issues in Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance Coverage in Missouri

Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage – Stacking

Stacking insurance coverage allows the insured to obtain coverage from more than one policy. Ritchie, 307 S.W.3d at 135. Multiple policies can exist in the form of separate policies for separate vehicles or from a combined policy with multiple vehicles under one policy. Id. The ability to stack underinsured coverage stems from the contract policy language. Id. As there is no statutory requirement for underinsured coverage, no public policy prohibits the insurer from including provisions preventing stacking within the insurance policy. Id. Therefore, unambiguous anti-stacking provisions are enforceable. Id. Conversely, ambiguous anti-stacking provisions are construed against the insurer and the insured will be allowed to stack the policies. Id. (holding an ambiguity existed that allowed the insured to stack where the insurance policy contained conflicting policy provisions); Chamness v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 226 S.W.3d 199,
207 (Mo. App. E.D. 2007); American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ragsdale, 213 S.W.3d
51, 57 (Mo. App. W.D. 2006); Niswonger v. Farm Bureau Town & Country, 992 S.W.2d
308, 314 (Mo. App. E.D. 1999); Hopkins v. Am. Economy Ins. Co., 896 S.W.2d 933, 938
(Mo. App. W.D. 1995); Nolan v. A. States Preferred Ins., 851 S.W.2d 720, 723-24 (Mo. App. S.D. 1993).

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