Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • Car insurance overlap means you are paying premiums on multiple policies
  • Car insurance coverage overlapping and stacking are against the law in most states
  • Take the necessary steps when buying a new car insurance policy to avoid a coverage overlap

As a consumer, it is always better to have knowledge and information when buying something such as a car insurance policy.

There are a lot of nuances when it comes to a car insurance policy as you have to think about the coverage limits, the deductible, when the policy is going to go into effect and expire, what drivers and cars are covered, and so on.

What happens, though, when you have two car insurance policies in effect at once? How is this type of overlap actually handled by an insurance carrier or carriers when a claim is filed in instances such as this?

When you are talking about a car insurance policy overlap, it essentially means that you are paying for two car insurance policies at the same time.

You have two policies, maybe not with the identical coverages, but two policies that are in effect and covering the same drivers and same automobiles simultaneously.

You are paying for two premiums, one for each of the policies, and this will continue until one of them expires. What does this mean for you, though as a consumer?

Make sure you have the right coverage for the best price. Compare car insurance quotes today using our free rate tool.

Creating the Car Insurance Overlap

The most common reason as to why a car insurance overlap is created is when a consumer decides that they want to change their car insurance provider mid-term.

Halfway through your car insurance policy’s effective period, you may decide you want to get a new carrier for one reason or another.

You go out and you purchase a new car insurance policy from a brand new carrier. You may forget to cancel your old policy or there could be times when you need to give a 30-day cancellation notice or something to that effect before it can be canceled.

This can create a coverage overlap with the two policies.

Another common example is when two individuals get married. They originally had two car insurance policies, but now that they are married they are going to purchase just one policy.

Those individual policies may still be in effect and this can also create duplicate in-force policies going in sequence.

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Issues With Two Car Insurance Policies

There can be a lot of problems that arise when you have two car insurance policies that are in force at the same time, issues that extend far beyond you just paying two premiums.

In many states in the country, it is illegal to have coverage that is either stacking or overlapping. What this means is that it may be illegal for you to have two policies and file claims on both of those policies should you get into a car accident.

When you have two car insurance policies overlapping and you try and file a claim on both, your car insurance providers are going to begin to talk to one another. Even in the event that you are in a state where having overlapping coverage is legal, these discussions will take place.

The goal of each carrier, in most cases, is to be sure they are not paying out more than they should. You want to avoid a claim denial due to duplicate coverage.

There is something in the insurance world known as unjust enrichment clause.

The clause is in most car insurance policies and states that it is not allowed to have two policies simultaneously as a consumer may be able to profit off of a claim, rather than just being indemnified or made whole again.

Avoid Duplicate Coverage

You want to avoid coverage overlaps whenever possible so that you do not run into any of the issues that come up with having multiple policies.

In the event that you have a car insurance policy and want to switch providers, be sure that your current policy is canceled, effective the day that the new policy is going to begin.

This creates a clean break between your old policy and the new policy that is going to go into effect.

In the event that it is not possible to have this all lined up, you can also get quotes and bind new coverage with a new carrier.

What can then happen is that you can go to your insurance carrier and actually cancel the coverage, having the cancellation backdated to when the new policy effective date began.

Every insurance carrier is required, in the law, to backdate coverage cancellations by request when a new policy has been purchased. They simply cannot say no.

You always want to have a good understanding of where you are in terms of your car insurance coverage or coverages. When you have two car insurance policies it can lead to a lot of headaches and can also be illegal in many states across the country.

Knowing this should help put you in the driver’s seat so that you can take care and avoid these unique situations before they arise.

Take charge of your insurance premium and find the best rate for the coverage you need. Enter your zip code in our free comparison tool below.