After you have been involved in a car accident, one of the first considerations most people face is determining if there is insurance to cover the bodily injury expenses and the property loss. By statute, South Carolina requires certain types of automobile insurance found under Chapter 38, Title 77 of the South Carolina Code.
Every driver is required to carry liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. Liability insurance covers those instances where the driver is at-fault, allowing an injured party to make a claim for recovery from the liability insurance carrier. Under the South Carolina statute, every insurance policy issued must also provide underinsured motorist coverage which applies when he at-fault driver does not have insurance or the at fault driver is unknown, such as a hit and run accident.
The laws of South Carolina also allow for various types of additional insurance. Below is some of the additional insurance coverage applicable in South Carolina:
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage – Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to adequately compensate the victims for the loss. Underinsured Motorist, abbreviated UIM, is additional insurance on your own policy and will help out if the if the at-fault party’s insurance policy is not high enough to cover all the damage.
- Personal Injury Protection/ Medical Payments – Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments coverage are both available in South Carolina. Each is designed as no-fault insurance, meaning it will pay on a claim regardless of who was at fault. This type of insurance usually covers some of the medical expenses associated with the accident.
While having uninsured motorist coverage and/ or medical payments coverage is not required, most would agree it is strongly encouraged. Having these extra layers of insurance help provide protection for you and your family.
In South Carolina, the minimum amount of automobile liability insurance a person is required to carry is a 25/50 policy, which means if you cause an accident, your insurance company will pay up to $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident. Just because the policy will pay up to that amount does not mean it must pay that amount, that’s just the maximum it will pay under most circumstances. Every policy must also carry at least 25/50 uninsured motorist. In addition, insurance companies are required to offer purchasers of insurance an option to purchase Underinsured Motorist Coverage, but insured drivers are not required to purchase the Underinsured Motorist Policy.
Lastly, South Carolina automobile insurance laws allow insured drivers to carry property insurance usually called comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. Usually, these property damage issues resolve themselves without the assistance of a lawyer, but most lawyers are happy to provide assistance depending on the circumstances.
John I. Henderson practices law in Charleston, South Carolina. His primary practice areas are personal injury law, family law, and business law. For more questions about insurance coverage issues, contact his office at 843-212-3188 or email his office at Henderson@hhlawsc.com.