Charleston Underinsured/Uninsured Motorists
Car accidents can be stressful enough. You have to deal with your injuries and figure out how to get a car repaired or replaced, and there may be a lot of medical bills to pay. Worse, what happens when the at-fault driver in the accident doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your expenses? Worst of all, what if the at-fault driver has no insurance? Our team of skilled attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve if an uninsured/underinsured motorist hits you.
Figuring out insurance after a car accident can be complex, and you should avoid going it alone. You will want to hire a knowledgeable and experienced Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist law firm to help you navigate the road ahead.
Car Insurance in South Carolina
South Carolina requires drivers to have automobile liability and uninsured insurance coverage. There are several components to car insurance in South Carolina. The first two pieces apply if you are the at-fault party in the accident. The last one applies if you are not at fault.
- Liability Insurance For Bodily Injury – Drivers must have at least $25,000 for each person and $50,000 for each accident for this type of insurance. This type of insurance is used to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses like pain and suffering of the other party if you are negligent.
- Liability Insurance For Property Damage – Drivers must have at least $25,000 in property insurance. This type of insurance pays for any property damage to the other driver if you are negligent.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage – You must have the same amount of this type of insurance as the first two. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, this part of your policy will pay for your losses.
You can buy underinsured motorist insurance if your policy has the minimum liability coverage. But, this type of insurance is optional. South Carolina does not make you buy this type of insurance. Yet, having Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist insurance can make a big difference if you get into an accident.
If you get hit by a car, and the driver lacks insurance to cover your injuries, your underinsured motorist coverage gets triggered. If you do not have this type of insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket for the rest of your injuries. That is why we always recommend that our clients add underinsured motorist coverage to their auto policy.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
You might need clarification on the difference between uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and underinsured (UIM) coverage.
Generally, these types of insurance cover you if you are not the at-fault driver. If the other driver does not have enough liability insurance to cover the costs of the accident or has no insurance, one of these parts of your policy kicks in. UM and UIM coverage protects you from paying all your costs after an accident. If the at-fault driver has little or no insurance, they will not have the money to pay for all your expenses.
UM and UIM insurance are secondary insurance, meaning you first file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. Once those policy limits get exhausted, your policy will kick in and pay the rest of the damages.
Of course, if the at-fault driver doesn’t have a policy for you to file a claim on, your uninsured coverage will start.
Stacking Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policies
South Carolina insurance law allows for the stacking of uninsured and underinsured policies. If your family has two cars, you can stack the UM insurance so that it would pay out double in the event of any accident to one of the vehicles.
You should also note that, under South Carolina law, you cannot buy uninsured motorist coverage that is higher than the amount of your liability coverage.
Hit-and-Run Drivers and Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you get hit by a hit-and-run driver, you don’t know if they have insurance. If this happens, your uninsured motorist coverage kicks in. But there are three requirements to using your UM insurance for hit-and-run situations:
- You must report the accident to the police within a reasonable time after the accident. This rule is a no-brainer because you should always call the police after a car accident.
- You are not negligent in not identifying the at-fault driver.
- There must have been contact between your car and the car that hit and ran.
When involved in a car accident, we always stress the importance of documenting the scene. You should always speak to eyewitnesses and take as many pictures and videos as possible This is especially important during a hit-and-run accident.
Increased Premiums For Using Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
Clients often ask whether their insurance premiums will increase if they use UM or IUM coverage in their policies. While some states do not allow insurance companies to increase premiums for using these parts of the insured’s policies, South Carolina does not have such a law. If they want to, insurance companies can raise insurance premiums for South Carolina residents after they use UM or IUM insurance.
That doesn’t mean they will raise premiums, only that they can do it legally. That said, any raise in your premiums will be less than what your UM or IUM policies will pay out, so paying for the coverage is still worth it.
Contact Our Charleston Underinsured/Uninsured Motorists Lawyers
We understand that car accidents can be stressful, and the insurance companies can make it more difficult. Don’t try to deal with the insurance companies alone. Your job is to recover from your injuries. Let us work with the insurance companies.
The attorneys at Crantford Meehan understand what you are going through. We have worked with clients involved in car accidents and helped them to wade through what could be an insurance nightmare. Our 50 years of combined experience dealing with car accident victims make us an excellent choice for lawyers who know how to get results.
Call us at [phone-number linked=true] and speak with one of our experienced attorneys today. We fight for your rights and only get paid if you do.
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