According to the Insurance Information Institute, 10.9% of South Carolina’s drivers are uninsured. That means that almost one of every 10 cars beside you on your commute is likely uninsured. As alarming as that may seem, it pales in comparison to the estimated percentage of uninsured drivers in other states. For example, it’s estimated that 29.4% of the drivers in Michigan are uninsured! Nationwide, it’s estimated that 12.6% of drivers are uninsured, so South Carolina ranks relatively well in this category.
Many people mistakenly believe that if they are injured by an uninsured driver, they can’t pursue an insurance claim for their personal injuries. I just had a prominent orthopedist text me about a friend of his who was injured by an uninsured driver in Columbia, South Carolina and he quipped, “any point in getting an attorney if the other driver has no insurance?” Answer – yes, indeed – if you are injured by an uninsured driver, you have the same reasons to hire a lawyer to help you as you would if you were injured by an insured driver. It’s still going to be an insurance claim and the adjuster for your insurance company will treat you the same way he’d treat a claimant making a claim against you. (In case you’re wondering, insurance companies hate paying money – to anyone!)
Uninsured Motorist Coverage vs. Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- Uninsured motorist coverage pays if you are injured or your property is damaged by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver.
- Underinsured motorist insurance pays for a portion of your injuries or damages if the driver who caused the accident does not have adequate insurance to cover your total damages.
What is Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage in SC?
Under South Carolina law, when you purchase mandatory liability insurance coverage, you automatically purchase uninsured motorist coverage in the same amount. Therefore, if you bought the minimal limits required in South Carolina ($25,000 per individual, $50,000 for all injured individuals), you would have that same amount of coverage if you and your passengers were hurt by an uninsured driver.
For example, if a mom and two of her kids were injured when an uninsured driver ran a red light, the most that any person in the car could recover under the coverage on that car would be $25,000, and the most that all three of them combined could recover would be $50,000.
What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage in SC?
Even if South Carolina drivers carry the minimum required liability insurance — state law requires only $25,000 coverage per injured person up to a total of $50,000 per accident — that coverage often isn’t enough to pay for all of your injuries and damages following a serious car accident.
However, even if the at-fault driver who injured you had no insurance or too little, you might be able to recover under your own policy for uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits. Read on to learn the difference between these two types of vital coverage.