Making Sense of Insurance Laws in Your South Carolina Car Accident Claim

December 18, 2016

In South Carolina, the laws and requirements for auto insurance are clear cut and based on fault. Whomever is at fault for the auto accident is liable for the damages, and that driver’s auto insurance is tasked with covering the expenses and damages associated with the accident and injuries. Yet, the power of auto insurance policies to cover those expenses is limited to the amount of coverage carried by the at fault driver. There are legal requirements for minimum coverage amounts, but this is not always enough to cover all of the associated damages. Then, there are circumstances in which it is necessary to actually file a lawsuit to receive compensation, rather than simply filing an auto insurance claim. Ultimately, the value of your claim will be improved with the guidance of a South Carolina auto accident attorney like those at the Connell Law Firm. Contact us to schedule your free consultation, today.

Minimum Requirements for Auto Insurance Coverage in South Carolina

All South Carolina drivers must meet the minimum requirements for auto insurance coverage, set forth by the state. This insurance is then available to cover the injuries and losses of anyone who is injured in an auto accident caused by the driver’s negligence. These minimum requirements are applied to liability coverage, property damage coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Because South Carolina is a fault-based state, you do not have to turn to your own auto insurance policy if the accident was caused by another party. Rather, you will turn to the auto insurance policy of the at-fault driver. The minimum requirements for liability insurance coverage are as follows:

  • $25,000 per person per accident – bodily injury liability coverage.
  • $50,000 per accident for multiple injured parties – bodily injury liability coverage.
  • $25,000 per accident – property damage liability coverage.

These minimum requirements are intended to address any medical expenses, lost wages and future earning potential, pain and suffering, repairs or replacement of property, etc. However, the minimum requirements may not be enough to cover all of your damages. If this is the case, then you may have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to cover the rest of your damages, or you may be able to turn to your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage) to address the difference.

Choosing to Purchase Additional Coverage on Your Auto Insurance Policy

While many South Carolina drivers will only purchase the minimum requirements of auto insurance coverage on their policies, there are options for purchasing additional coverage. You can speak to your insurance company about the availability of collision coverage or comprehensive coverage, neither of which are a legal requirement, but both of which could be beneficial if an accident should occur.

Collision coverage is intended to address any expenses associated with repairs to property damage or compensating the value of a totaled vehicle. This coverage will address any damages associated with any kind of collision, whether the accident involves another vehicle or an object, like a tree or a sign. Comprehensive coverage, as the name implies, is far more comprehensive of various forms of damage that can occur to a vehicle. This includes any damage caused by a fires or flooding, by theft or vandalism, or by random occurrences, such as falling objects. If someone’s air conditioner falls out of their window and onto your vehicle, comprehensive coverage would address this. This is the best coverage to have to ensure that you are completely covered, even in odd situations. This will also cover you if you happen to hit an animal in the road, which is much more common than many people realize or prepare for.

 UIM Coverage for Uninsured or Underinsured Driver Accidents

In South Carolina, all auto insurance policies have to include a minimum amount of UIM coverage in case you are in an auto accident caused by someone who fails to carry auto insurance at all or who doesn’t have enough auto insurance coverage to address all of your expenses. When this happens, you can turn to your own insurance policy for UIM coverage.  The minimum requirements for UIM coverage for South Carolina drivers are as follows:

  • $25,000 per accident for property damage.
  • $25,000 per person for auto accident injury or death.
  • $50,000 per accident for injury or death of multiple persons.

Your auto insurance provider is also required to offer additional underinsured coverage, though you do not have to have it. Even so, the more insurance you have, the better prepared you will be.

Schedule a Free Consultation with the Connell Law Firm’s Auto Accident Attorneys

If you are the victim of someone else’s negligence in an auto accident, then the best thing that you can do for yourself and your family is to seek a free consultation with an experienced Columbia, SC auto accident attorney at the Connell Law Firm. We are happy to evaluate your claim and guide you through the process.