Six People Injured in Anderson County: Minimum Automobile Insurance Review

The minimum limits for automobile insurance in the state of South Carolina are $25,000.00 per person for bodily injury, $50,000.00 for all persons per accident in bodily injury, and $25,000.00 per accident in property damage. (Current through the date of this blog post).  Every driver must carry liability coverage for harm, or injury, they may cause others and uninsured coverage to protect themselves from others not following the rules, ie when harmed, or injured, by drivers without automobile insurance. (For a more in depth analysis feel free to read the actual South Carolina Code on Automobile Insurance, S.C. Code Ann. 38-77-10, et al.)

I have discussed the term "full coverage" on previous blog posts and will only revisit it to say, 90% of clients I assist think they have full coverage and they do not. There is a two inch thick reference book by my desk entitled, "The Law of Automobile Insurance in South Carolina", so understand there are many twists and turns in the world of insurance law. There are two main items everyone should add to the minimum coverage, underinsured coverage and Personal Injury Protection, because these items protect your interest instead of you depending on the general population having enough insurance coverage when you are seriously injured.

Let's make all these facts and figures relevant:

  • Example 1: The Anderson Independent reported that six people were injured on Sunday, August 19, 2012, "Six Hospitalized in Sunday Morning Collision." Let's assume only one driver was responsible for the collision, albeit an accident and not intentional, and was not one of the six injured. If that at fault driver has minimum insurance coverage, the most any one of those six people could receive for their injuries, without pursuing personal assets of the at fault driver, is $25,000.00. The most all six injured parties could receive under the same example, is $50,000.00  aggregate between all six of them.  But what if one party had a broken arm that required surgery? That doesn't change the fact that the only amount of coverage the at fault driver has is $25,000.00 per person per accident in bodily injury and $50,000.00 for all persons per accident. That is why it is important to make sure you have underinsured coverage and PIP coverage. Nobody will watch out for your interest more than you.
  • Example 2: Also reported recently by the Anderson Independent was a fatality when a motorcycle driver lost control of his bike and was killed. "Clemson Motorcyclist Killed in Accident on Liberty Highway." There was apparently no other vehicle involved and was merely an accident with no other party being negligent, or liable. Therefore the only relevant automobile insurance coverage would be PIP, or medpay, and only if the driver incurred medical expenses prior to his untimely death. The only party is the driver and you can not pursue your own liability coverage against yourself in a collision. See also "Single Car Accident Leave Drivers and Passengers with Few Options."

When you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision and been injured, you want to make sure at the very least you have your interests protected within your own insurance coverage. Your right, that is not fair because it was the fault of someone else and they should take care of all your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent disfigurement, and loss of earning capacity. Fill in the blank, "Nobody said life was _____." Plus, if they have minimum coverage they are doing everything required of them by South Carolina law. Good luck trying to get a judgment against personal assets that don't exit, too. I have several outstanding judgments, one against a 19 year old that will most likely never own anything and one against a now defunct corporation. We've all heard the saying, "Can't get blood out of a turnip." Well that's true.

Three Coverages South Carolina Insurance Policy Holders Should Add

As mentioned in my previous post, I am amazed at the insurance coverages my clients never even knew existed. This challenge goes out to all insurance salesmen to better inform your clients of  the coverages and give them examples of why they need it. I know they probably don't want to pay the extra money and you don't get much additional commission but it's your job to explain why $50-$100 extra a year can save them $1,000-$25,000.  I have these three things and so should you:

  1. Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P) and/or Medical Payments (Medpay) coverage- this covers you and all the passengers in your automobile regardless of fault or liability- if you don't have health insurance this is a must;
  2. Underinsurance (U.I.M) coverage-exactly what it sounds like, except easier to understand when I explained that it helps cover you and your passengers or family when someone injures them that does not have enough insurance or assets to go after; and
  3. GAP Coverage & Renters Insurance-both of these coverages take care of your possessions when they are damaged. The first being your automobile that is over financed and not worth what you owe on it. The second for your possessions while renting someone else's home or apartment.

I can not help you if you are not helping yourself by taking advantage of the insurance coverage that actually benefits you and not someone else. As much as I comment about how I hate insurance companies, they are a necessary evil. If you are able to play the game of insurance successfully you can and will come out on top.

 

Previous or Related Posts I Have Written on these Coverages:

 

Bad Economy Leads More Drivers to Drop Insurance

M.P. McQueen of "The Wall Street Journal" reports that:

More drivers are letting their car insurance lapse because of the sour economy, putting themselves and others at risk........

Ms. McQueen quoted Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, as saying:

"A good proportion of people on the road are either uninsured or underinsured, and so you have to protect yourself... "

"Your odds of being in an accident with an uninsured driver are substantial."

As I reported in my "Full Coverage"  article:

Minimum insurance limits in the South Carolina are mandated by S.C. Code Ann. § 38-77-140 and at the present time are 25,000/50,000/25,000. Likewise, UM, or uninsured coverage is mandatory but you should carry higher than the minimum limits.

Insurance coverages that protect you when someone is uninsured, underinsured, or is covered with Allstate are below: (insurance companies don't want you to know about them because it costs them money in the long run):

  1. UIM- In accordance with S.C. Code Ann. § 38-77-160, this is optional coverage you can purchase in the event that damages are sustained in excess of the liability limits carried by an at-fault insured (driver) or underinsured motorist. Remember minimum coverage is $25,000.00 per one person.
  2. UM-This is uninsured coverage and essentially your insurance company will defend the at fault person against you. HUH? Read it again. That's right! You're own insurance company defends the uninsured person against you. Why? Insurance companies don't make money paying you money, that includes your insurance company. Call and ask them if you think I am being untruthful.
  3. PIP/MEDPAY- This is the greatest insurance ever. If you do not have it, you're an idiot. It's cheap, too.
  4. GAP Coverage-Gap insurance covers the difference between what the insurance company says your car is worth versus what's left on your car loan, or note.