You’re a responsible driver, you follow the rules of the road, and, of course, you have auto insurance.
It’s the law. So, if some guy rear-ends you or runs a red light and crumples the side of your car, their insurance will cover your costs, right?
That depends on how responsible the other driver is – whether they followed the law and purchased insurance for their vehicle and whether they purchased enough insurance to cover the damages…
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance, you should still be covered to some extent, because South Carolina requires you to have uninsured motorist coverage (UM).
On the other hand, if the at-fault driver has skimped and bought only the minimum required auto insurance, their policy may not cover the costs of your property damage and injuries.
This is where underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) comes in. In South Carolina, UIM is not required, but you should buy it to protect yourself.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage in SC?
UM coverage protects you if you are in an accident with a driver who has no insurance, doesn’t have a policy that meets the minimum liability limit set by the state, or whose insurance company refuses to pay the claim.
UM coverage also protects you if you are in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.
There are two kinds of UM coverage:
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage pays for damage to vehicles or other property; and
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that result from an auto accident.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
UIM coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver’s liability limits are too low to cover the costs of the accident.
The at-fault driver’s insurance should cover all damages up to their policy limits. Your UIM coverage will then cover the rest of the costs – but only up to limits of your policy.
It is important to buy UIM coverage, because the costs of a car accident often exceed the at-fault driver’s liability policy. UIM coverage protects you from having to absorb these costs. If you don’t already have UIM coverage, you can add it to your policy.
UM and UIM coverage apply to you and to any passengers in your vehicle. They also apply to other people listed on your policy if they are in other vehicles.
Is UIM Coverage Really Necessary?
There are a lot of people who drive without any or enough auto insurance.
While the state has taken some measures to protect law-abiding drivers by requiring UM coverage, you must take responsibility for protecting yourself against underinsured drivers by purchasing UIM coverage.
SC Personal Injury Lawyers at Coastal Law
If you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your SC auto accident attorney at Coastal Law can help you to determine sources of compensation and how to either make a claim or file a lawsuit for damages.
Call us now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.