Understanding Your Automobile Insurance Coverage

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Automobile Insurance Coverage protects you and your family in the event you are involved in an accident. South Carolina law requires that you purchase liability and uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally in the state[1]. You are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 property damage coverage for accidents where you are at fault, which is liability coverage. South Carolina also requires you to carry the same minimum amounts of uninsured motorists (UM) coverage (25/50/25) as liability, which protects you and your family in the event you are involved in an accident with an individual who does not have insurance coverage and who is at fault for the accident.

According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 14.0 percent of motorists, or about one in seven drivers, were uninsured in 2022 and 14.2 percent in 2021[2]. A study by the Financial Responsibility and Insurance Committee of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators found that 82% of uninsured drivers indicated they can't afford insurance[3], leaving their families unprotected unless they have purchased coverage of their own and as required by law. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is additional coverage that your insurance company has to offer, however, this coverage is entirely voluntary. UIM coverage permits insureds, at their option, to purchase insurance coverage for situations where they are injured by an at-fault driver who does not carry sufficient liability insurance to cover the insureds' damages. Burgess v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 373 S.C. 37, 644 S.E.2d 40 (2007).

It is important to discuss your policy coverage and elections with your insurance agent to ensure that you, your family, and your personal assets are protected in the event of an accident. You should also obtain a copy of your entire policy from your agent or insurance company and educate yourself on what losses are covered, as well as any exclusions contained within the policy. Oftentimes, auto policies exclude coverage if the vehicle involved in the accident was used without the owner’s permission or used outside the scope of the owner’s permission. Another common exclusion is when vehicles are used for a business purpose (ex. Door Dash) unless the vehicle has been designated for this use and an additional premium has been paid for additional coverage.

[1] https://www.doi.sc.gov/588/Automobile-Insurance

[2] https://insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/IRC%20Uninsured%20Motorists%20Summary%20Page.pdf

[3] https://content.naic.org/cipr-topics/uninsured-motorists

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. The policy is a very long and complex document. KD Trial Lawyers is comprised of experienced and competent personal injury attorneys, who will work hard to ensure that you receive the benefits due under your policy. We want you to be knowledgeable about your policy and ensure you receive the benefits agreed upon by you and your insurance company.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident or if you have questions regarding your auto insurance coverage, please call me at (864) 660-0465.

Knowledge is Power! Sir Francis Bacon

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