How to Read an Auto Insurance Policy

South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Helping Clients Injured in North Charleston, Clinton, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach

If you were recently involved in a car accident in Clinton, SC and sustained injuries along with damage to your vehicle, you are probably in the process of trying to understand how your auto insurance policy works. Auto insurance policies can be confusing, yet it is extremely important to understand what kind of coverage you need to have under South Carolina law, and how you can file a claim through your insurer in the event of an accident. At the Joye Law Firm, we know how frustrating it can be to try to read an auto insurance policy in the aftermath of a serious motor vehicle collision. If you have questions about filing a claim for compensation or if your claim was denied, an experienced Clinton car accident lawyer can assist you.

In the meantime, we would like to discuss some key points of South Carolina auto insurance policies and how you can become a better reader of your insurance documents.

Understanding the Different Parts of Your Auto Insurance Policy

There are numerous sections in every auto insurance policy, and it is important to understand what each includes. While policies can vary based on coverage options and other factors, generally speaking, auto insurance policies will include the following sections:

  • General information about your policy: typically, every auto insurance policy will have a general information section. In this part of the document, you will see who is named as an “insured” on your policy, as well as physical contact information. This section of the policy typically will list your policy number (which you will need in the event that you have to file a claim), as well as the specific terms of your policy (such as when it begins and ends). If you have children or a spouse listed on your insurance policy, such persons should be identified as a “named insured,” an “additional named insured,” or an “additional insured,” depending on the person.
  • Vehicle information: there will be another section of your insurance policy that provides specific information about the automobile(s) that you and the other insureds on the policy will be driving. The vehicle information should be accurate, providing the make, model, and year of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Coverage information: this can be a particularly complicated part of the policy to understand, but it is among the most important given that it provides information about what you are covered for (and what you are not covered for). Often, insurance policies list all available coverage options, and if you are paying for that particular coverage, there will be a premium associated with the coverage (or, in other words, the amount you are paying for that specific type of coverage).

Learning More About Your Policy Components

Now, to learn more about how to read your insurance policy, we are going to discuss in detail the components of your policy that will fall within the “coverage information” discussed above. It is important to know what types of coverage are required under South Carolina law in order to know what you are reading in your policy. The South Carolina Department of Insurance lists the following as requirements in drivers’ insurance policies:

  • Liability insurance: this type of insurance has three types of liability insurance, including bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage. Under South Carolina law, a driver in Clinton must have at least:
    • $25,000 per person for bodily injury, and $50,000 total for all persons injured in a single accident;
    • $25,000 for property damage in a single accident; and
    • Uninsured motorists coverage equal to the minimum amounts listed above for bodily injury and property damage (underinsured motorists coverage—distinct from uninsured motorists coverage—is optional, and as such you may decide to pay a premium for it but are not required to do so under the law).

In addition to underinsured motorists coverage, what are some other optional coverage types that you may see in your auto insurance policy as you read through it?

  • Physical damage insurance: in the event that your own vehicle gets damaged in an accident, this type of insurance coverage can provide you with compensation. There are typically two types:
    • Collision coverage, which pays for physical damage to your car that results from a collision with an object (anything from another vehicle to a tree); and
    • Comprehensive coverage, which pays for physical damage to your car that results from causes other than a collision (such as flooding, theft, vandalism, or fire).

Contact a Clinton Car Accident Attorney

If you still have questions about a term in your insurance policy, or if you need help filing a claim, a car accident lawyer in Clinton can assist you. Contact the Joye Law Firm today to learn more about the services we provide to clients across South Carolina.