Many people are familiar with uninsured motorist coverage. This is a claim that would be filed on your own insurance company when the driver who causes the accident has no insurance coverage. Some drivers may not carry uninsured motorist coverage because it may not be required in their state. However, as an add-on or supplement to an insurance policy, it certainly makes good sense to have it and can minimize your financial risk.
What is underinsured motorist coverage?
Not everyone is as familiar with underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage protects a driver involved in an accident when the negligent driver’s policy isn’t enough to cover the extent of your damages and injuries. Some drivers only carry the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by law, which can put other drivers at financial risk following an accident. Here is an example of how underinsured motorist coverage works. A driver who causes an accident carries $50,000 in liability insurance. If your damages exceed that amount, you would be responsible for making up the difference. So, if the damages and medical bills total $100,000, then you would be looking at owing $50,000 out of pocket. If your policy includes underinsured motorist coverage that exceeds the at fault driver’s $50,000 limit, your own insurance company would now pay the difference up to your policy limit.
How much uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should I carry?
While uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory in South Carolina, underinsured motorist coverage is not. However, South Carolina law requires insurance companies to offer underinsured motorist coverage to all policy holders. The cost is small compared to the potential benefits.
According to Edmunds.com, insurance experts recommend purchasing 100/300 limits of bodily injury liability coverage. This means the policy would cover $100,000 for one person in an accident and $300,000 for all injured people in an accident.
Should you hire an attorney?
Since these claim can become complicated, it may be wise to hire legal counsel. Until the extent of the injuries is determined and medical treatment is completed, the value of an insurance claim will not be fully known. As soon as it is determined that the damages will exceed the limits of the at fault driver’s liability coverage, your own insurance company would need to be notified of your intent to file an underinsured motorist claim. When filing this type of claim, a policy holder can expect an investigation by their insurance company. This could include witnesses being deposed. A decision may have to be made regarding going to court or having arbitration. An experienced attorney can advise clients on the best course of action for their case.