Posted on behalf of Harbin & Burnett on Mar 16, 2018 in Auto Accidents
In South Carolina, it is mandatory that drivers carry liability and uninsured motorist coverage in at least the prescribed minimum amount. Currently, that means a policy that provides, at a minimum, $25,000.00 per person injured in an accident, $50,000.00 total per accident, and $25,000.00 in property damage. And there is also underinsured coverage, which is optional.
Although uninsured and underinsured insurance sounds similar, they are different and it is important to understand this difference when deciding if you need underinsured coverage.
Uninsured coverage provides coverage for you, up to the limits that you have purchased, if another driver is at fault in an accident and is not insured.
Underinsured coverage provides coverage for you in cases where another driver is at fault but does not have insurance sufficient to cover your damages. For example, if you are in an accident due to the negligence of another driver and you incur $40,000.00 in medical bills as a result, if the other driver has a minimum limit policy, the most you can collect from the insurance company would be $25,000.00, leaving you with unpaid bills. And although you may be able to collect additional money from the other driver, it will depend on whether that driver has assets that you can seize to satisfy any judgment you may get at trial. Regardless, you are looking at a lengthy and expensive process. However, if you have underinsured coverage, it would be available once the other driver's policy paid. So, in the above example, if you had $25,000.00 in underinsured coverage, you could make a claim against that policy as well.
Underinsured coverage can also be useful in cases where there are multiple injured people. A minimum policy only provides for $50,000 in coverage total. So if several people have serious injuries, the amount available to them will be significantly less than $25,000.00.
It is a good idea to call your agent and get a quote for underinsured coverage. You may find it is well worth the additional premium.