South Carolina law requires that every time an auto insurance policy sold is sold in our state, a meaningful offer of underinsured motorist coverage ("UIM") be made as well. UIM coverage allows you to protect yourself, your passengers, and your family in the event of a car accident with a driver who, though insured, lacks sufficient liability coverage to pay for your injuries.
Insurance coverage of this kind essentially allows you to insure yourself against another driver’s negligence. For example, if a driver with only minimum liability limits ($25,000) runs a red light, crashes into another vehicle, and puts an innocent person in the hospital, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy may not be great enough to pay for the innocent party’s medical bills, let alone lost wages, permanent impairment, and a host of other damages.
These are the times when underinsured motorist coverage is critical. Without it, the injured party could face collection notices from medical providers and foreclosure notices from mortgage companies. Too often, I have seen hard working people put out of work due to an accident, then collect only $25,000 in minimum liability money because he failed to purchase UIM coverage when given the opportunity.
UIM policies give South Carolinians a chance to protect themselves and the people closest to them. Accidents are often unavoidable from the vantage point of the injured. The consequences are not, however. UIM coverage can lessen the financial impact on those injured by another driver’s negligence or recklessness.
Rather than putting myself at the mercy of other motorist’s liability limits, I purchased UIM coverage shortly after becoming an attorney. I hope that I never have to use it, though I feel safer knowing I’m covered. If you do not currently possess UIM coverage, you may consider contacting your insurance agent regarding rates. In many instances, UIM policies are less than $5 per month. As an attorney and fellow driver, I know of few things that could be of greater benefit yet cost so little.
If you have any questions about how underinsured policies apply after an accident, I am glad to provide answers at no charge. You may request free copies of my books or set up a free consultation by calling my Columbia, SC office at 803-790-2800.