Understanding your Auto Insurance Coverage
When you are involved in an auto accident in Upstate South Carolina, you will turn to one or two types of coverage to cover your losses: The at-fault driver’s liability insurance and, possibly, your own auto insurance.
It is important to understand both types of coverage. You also need to know how to deal with insurance companies when it comes to filing a claim.
The lawyers of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., present the following guide to help you work through auto insurance issues that may arise in your case.
Seeking Compensation through Liability Insurance Coverage
First, let’s look at the other driver’s insurance coverage.
You must buy liability insurance to operate a vehicle legally in South Carolina. This coverage pays for the damage you cause to another vehicle or the bodily injury you cause another person to suffer in an accident.
South Carolina requires you to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person for bodily injury you cause, or a minimum of $50,000 for all persons injured in one accident. Claims for bodily injury may include medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
You must also carry a minimum of $25,000 in property damage liability insurance. This pays for any damage you cause to another driver’s vehicle as well as other property, including walls, fences or equipment.
You can, of course, buy more coverage than what is required by law.
If you are injured or suffer vehicle damage in an accident that was caused by another driver, you would seek compensation through that driver’s liability insurance coverage.
The other driver’s insurance company would use either an in-house lawyer or hire an outside lawyer to represent the driver in any legal action. Your lawyer from Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., would negotiate with this attorney when seeking a settlement on your behalf.
Your Own Insurance Coverage
In South Carolina, you also are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage (UM) in the same amounts as the liability coverage explained above. This coverage protects you if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident or hit by a driver with no insurance. Again, you can purchase coverage in higher amounts than the minimum required by law.
If you file a claim for UM coverage with your own insurer, it is advisable to get help from an attorney. Although your insurer is supposed to be on your side, the insurer may challenge your claim or refuse to pay you the full amount that you deserve.
You may also file claims for insurance coverage through optional policies you have purchased. These policies include:
- Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) – All auto insurers in South Carolina must offer this coverage. You can reject this coverage (but that is not advisable). You can file a UIM claim with your insurer if the other driver’s liability insurance doesn’t fully cover your losses. This is a situation that often occurs. You may also be able to “stack” UIM coverage based on the number of vehicles you have covered under this policy.
- Collision coverage – This pays for physical damage to your car if you collide with an object such as another car or a tree. Even though this coverage is not required under South Carolina law, the lender providing you with a car loan may require it.
- Comprehensive coverage – This covers damage to your car, including damage to the windshield, from falling objects, collisions with animals, vandalism, fire, flood or theft.
Again, your insurer may delay or deny your claim under these policies. If so, it is important to get help from a lawyer with experience in dealing with South Carolina auto insurance issues and with attorneys from insurance companies.
Our Upstate South Carolina Lawyers Can Help with Your Auto Insurance Issues
Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., can provide a free review of your car accident case. We will review the auto insurance issues and help you to determine your options moving forward.
We have years of experience in dealing with auto insurance companies and their lawyers. We will stand up for your rights and seek the maximum amount in your claim.
Get started by contacting us today by phone or through our online form.
For More Information
• Auto Insurance FAQs, South Carolina Department of Insurance