When I meet with clients who have been injured in South Carolina car accidents, I always ask if they have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). Clients often respond back that they have full coverage, thinking this means they must have UIM coverage, and then later, once they seek bodily injury coverage under their own insurance policy, find out they do not in fact carry UIM coverage.
What is South Carolina Law Regarding UIM Coverage?
South Carolina law requires automobile insurance companies to offer optional underinsured motorist coverage up to the limits of liability coverage the insured purchases. It is not mandatory, like uninsured motorist coverage is. South Carolina requires all motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage in the minimum statutory limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident basis. UIM, or underinsured motorist coverage, however, is optional. South Carolina law does require, however, that the insurance company must make a meaningful offer of optional UIM coverage, and provide adequate information to you when you are purchasing car insurance so that you can make an informed decision on whether to purchase or reject UIM coverage.
What Makes an Offer of UIM Coverage Meaningful?
This is the question that often leads to court, and it is answered on a case by case basis. Sometimes, the insurance company does make a mistake, and either fails to offer the coverage or fails to offer UIM coverage in a meaningful way. When the court finds that the insurance company is at fault, the insurance policy will be reformed by operation of law to include UIM limits the same as the limits of liability coverage purchased by the insured. In such cases, you can have a minimum of $25,000/$50,000/$25,000 in UIM coverage added after the fact, and if you have higher liability limits your UIM coverage will be higher as well. If you have more than one car insured under the policy at issue, then UIM coverage might be stackable. If three cars in your household are all insured under the same policy and all have the same base limits, then you could have access to $75,000/$150,000/$75,000 in UIM coverage (basic coverage times three cars).
Call David Aylor Law Offices Today
It is important for car accident injury victims to have a South Carolina car accident attorney who fully understands underinsured motorist coverage, and is not afraid to seek it against an insurance company that never made a meaningful offer. If you or a loved one is the victim of a South Carolina car accident and you would like to explore your UIM coverage or lack thereof, call or email today for a case evaluation. David Aylor has been representing the citizens of South Carolina against insurance companies for years, and will not hesitate to use all of the tools at his disposal to get you the maximum recovery possible. He is just as comfortable negotiating and settling claims outside of court as he is taking a recalcitrant insurer to trial. Call for a free consultation today.