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Why Does SC Have Mandatory Auto Insurance?

I own a car, I have a valid driver's license, and I am a careful, responsible driver. Why do I have to pay for auto insurance too?

Can't I just pay for any damage I cause if I have an accident?

The answer is simple - most people can't afford to pay out of pocket for the damage that can happen in a car accident. If we were not required to have automobile insurance, most accident victims would be uncompensated, leaving the victim to bear the costs of medical expenses and hospitalizations.

Mandatory Insurance Saves Us from Financial Ruin

If you hurt another driver, their initial trip to the emergency room alone could cost $30,000 or more. Add a few days in the hospital, and there's another 30 grand.

There could be months or even years of medical treatments. A jury could decide you owe them more money for pain and suffering. You may be ordered to pay their lost wages if they can't work. And, of course, you're going to be liable to repair or replace their car.

This might sound terrible, but it's nothing compared to what the other driver is going through.

Let's switch places with the other driver - they were at fault, and you are the one in the emergency room, out of work, and in need of physical therapy and surgery. Unless you are among the wealthiest Americans, you can't afford it - not even close.

So, you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, and the jury awards you significant damages. But you'll never see a penny of it and you may be financially ruined. That verdict the jury gave to you is nothing more than a piece of paper if you can't collect.

Insurers Don't Make It Easy, But You Can Get the Money You Deserve

Insurance companies do have the money - lots of it, and it came from our pockets.

That's the whole point of auto insurance - we all pay our premiums, even when we haven't had an accident in years. When we do have an accident - and statistically speaking, we will all be involved in at least one car accident - the insurance companies are flush with cash to pay for medical care, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

What's left over is profit for the insurance companies - they are in the business of making money, and they will fight to keep the costs of claims down. This is why, in most auto accident cases, you need your SC auto accident attorney to help take back the money that they now owe you.

What If I Am Hurt by An Uninsured Driver?

But, not everyone follows the rules. What happens if I get into an accident with someone who doesn't have insurance? In South Carolina, you should be covered by your mandatory uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and your additional uninsured or underinsured policies if you have them...

South Carolina requires the following auto insurance coverage:

  • Minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 per accident;
  • Minimum of &25,000 for property damage per accident;
  • Minimum of $25,000 for uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury per person and $50,000 per accident;
  • Minimum of $25,000 for uninsured motorist coverage for property damage.

So, what happens if the other driver has only the minimum amount for bodily injury, but your medical care is going to cost twice that? Or, if the other driver has no insurance at all? This is where underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) kicks in - if you have it.

Unlike UM, UIM is not mandatory. But, as you can see, it's a good idea to have it. UIM will pay for injuries or property damage that exceed the limits of the other driver's policy, up to the limits of your policy.

Got Axelrod?

Your Myrtle Beach auto accident attorney at Axelrod and Associates will investigate your case, gather the evidence that you need, negotiate maximum compensation from the insurance company, and take them to trial when they do not pay what you are entitled to.

Schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team today. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form to set up a free initial consultation about your case.

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