What is South Carolina Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage? Do I Need It?

Category: Personal Insurance

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage provides coverage if you are in an accident and the other driver is both legally responsible for the accident and is not insured. It is an addition to a standard auto insurance policy that is required in some states and optional in most others.

An uninsured motorist is someone who has no insurance, does not have insurance that meets the minimum liability limits set by the state, or whose insurance company is unwilling or unable to pay the claim. A hit and run driver would also be considered an uninsured motorist.

You need uninsured motorist coverage to protect you in the event of an accident with another driver who has no insurance, or who does not have sufficient insurance to cover the costs of damage he or she has caused.

There are two types of uninsured motorist coverage.

  • Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage pays for damages to your car or property.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage pays for covered medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

The requirements for uninsured motorist coverage vary by state. In South Carolina, drivers are required to have the following uninsured motorist coverage limits:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage extends coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by a motorist with insufficient insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage provides the injured party with compensation beyond what is available from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

UIM protection pays you for damage that exceeds the payment limits carried by a driver who is underinsured and is at fault for an accident. It will pay only up to the limits of your policy after the amount paid by the other driver’s insurance, meaning that the amount listed as your UIM limit is the total amount paid by both insurance companies—not an additional amount your insurance company will pay after the other driver’s insurance pays.

Underinsured motorist coverage is not required in South Carolina, but it is affordable and we recommend that you add it on to your auto insurance policy.

Both UM and UIM apply to you and any passengers in your car and to you and others listed on your insurance policy when in other cars.

Do I Need UM/UIM?

Most states require drivers to have some form of auto insurance, but assuring complete compliance with these laws is difficult. Other drivers on the road might only purchase the minimum coverage required by the law, and this may not be enough to cover the costs of injuries and other damage caused by an accident.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are vital to ensuring that you receive proper compensation if you are in an accident with a driver who is not properly insured. UM/UIM coverage is affordable, and it will be worth every penny should the worst happen.

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