UIM coverage, or underinsured motorist coverage, is designed to compensate you in situations where you are entitled to damages you sustained, due to the fault of the operator of another motor vehicle. In such situations, where the other party has insurance, but the policy limits were not high enough to compensate you for all of your damages, the UIM coverage is there to make up the difference. UIM coverage is not required under South Carolina law; however, it can provide significant benefits in the event of an accident.
You Do Not Need to Carry UIM Coverage, but it Must be Offered to You
Your vehicle insurance policy does not automatically provide UIM coverage – it is optional automobile insurance, most often given in the form of an endorsement to your policy. The law in South Carolina does require, however, that you be offered UIM coverage, with limits up to the amount will carry for liability coverage under your main policy. Your insurance company has an obligation to make you aware of what UIM coverage is and make a “meaningful offer” to you. If this law is not complied with, in some circumstances the court can be forced to change your policy and include the UIM coverage.
How Does UIM Coverage Work?
It is important to understand how the UIM coverage works to protect you. In the majority of car accidents in this state, UIM insurance is absolutely necessary, as most South Carolinians carry only the minimum limits of auto insurance coverage required by law. That means there is $25,000 of coverage available per accident, per person. After many accidents, the medical expenses alone will exceed $25,000; and quickly, depending on the nature and extent of your injuries. Having UIM coverage allows you to then turn to your own insurance coverage to compensate you for any damages that exceed the $25,000 limit.
Consider an example where in you are in an accident where your car sustains heavy damage, you break a bone, and you miss several weeks of work. Here, it is quite conceivable that your damages could be close to $100,000 or more. If you do not purchase UIM coverage, however, and the person at fault for your accident has the statutory minimum of $25,000 in coverage, than you will lose the ability to collect the additional $50,000 you incurred in damage. For this reason, it is critical to obtain UIM coverage and protect yourself in case of an accident.
How Do You Access UIM Coverage Once It is Necessary?
If you are the victim of an accident with an underinsured motorist, you will need to prove the other driver was at fault, and that you have sustained significant bodily injuries. In most cases, you must first receive the full amount available from the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy before you can make a claim for UIM coverage. Insurance companies often contest claims for UIM, and it is important to have an experienced auto accident attorney by your side who knows how to deal effectively with insurance companies and gain access to UIM coverage. Call or email us today and let David Aylor Law Offices help you recover the money you are entitled to and help you get your life back on track.