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Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage in South Carolina

Uninsured Motorist coverage and Underinsured Motorist coverage are different types of coverages, but they do share some common characteristics.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

What is uninsured motorist coverage ?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is mandatory for all automobile policies issued in South Carolina pursuant to S.C. Code Section 38-77-150.  If the driver responsible for the accident is uninsured, the Uninsured Motorist coverage under your own policy will provide coverage for your medical bills, injuries, pain and suffering and other damages caused by that uninsured driver (up to your limit of available UM coverage).  In essence, your own insurance company will “step into the shoes” of the uninsured driver to pay the damages caused by that driver.
What does stacking mean?
In some circumstances, it may be possible to stack (add together) the UM coverages available for multiple vehicles under a single policy.  It may also be possible in some situations to collect UM benefits for the same accident under different policies.  If either situation applies, you can increase the potential pool of UM coverage available to you.
Remember that there are many instances where you will have UM coverage available to you even though you personally do not have an automobile insurance policy.  For example, if another family  member in your home has an insurance policy, you may be entitled to UM benefits under that policy.  Another example would be UM coverage available to you when you are a passenger in someone else’s car.
How much uninsured motorist coverage is required?
The current minimum coverage limits required for uninsured motorist bodily injury claims are $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

What is underinsured motorist coverage?
Unlike Uninsured Motorist Coverage, Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is optional in South Carolina, pursuant to S.C. Code section 38-77-160.  If the driver responsible for the accident does not have enough liability insurance to pay for your injuries and damages, the Underinsured Motorist coverage under your own policy will provide coverage for the losses you have sustained in excess of the responsible party’s liability coverage (up to your limit of available UIM coverage).  For example, if you have sustained $75,000.00 in total damages, and the at-fault driver has only $25,000.00 in liability coverage, your UIM coverage will be available to pay the $50,000.00 difference so that you are fully compensated for your injuries (assuming you have at least $50,000.00 in UIM coverage available to you).
Does stacking also apply for underinsured motorist coverage?
Just like with UM coverage, in some circumstances, it may be possible to stack the UIM coverages available for multiple vehicles under a single policy, or to collect UIM benefits for the same accident under different policies.  If either situation applies, you can increase the potential pool of UIM coverage available to you.
Once again, it is important to remember that there are many instances where you will have UIM coverage available to you even though you personally do not have an automobile insurance policy.  For example, if another family  member in your home has an insurance policy, you may be entitled to UIM benefits under that policy.  Another example would be UIM coverage available to you when you are a passenger in someone else’s car.
By | 2017-12-25T22:06:51+00:00 April 24th, 2016|Categories: Personal Injury|0 Comments

About the Author:

Joseph Weston is a member of Weston Craig Anthony law firm in Charleston, South Carolina. His practice includes insurance law and defense, personal injury, commercial litigation, mediation, criminal defense and maritime litigation.

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