The minimum amount of liability insurance required to be maintained in South Carolina is $25,000. Liability coverage is the amount of money an insurance company is required to pay if the policy holder (called an insured) is at fault for injuries or damages arising from a motor vehicle accident.
The amount of insurance coverage purchased over this amount is optional. Purchasing additional coverage, called excess, will increase the premium charged by the insurance company. Policies purchased through "minimum coverage" insurers, or by those on a tight budget, will be at the minimum permissible levels.
If you are involved in a serious accident the amount of liability coverage that the other driver purchased may significantly effect your ability to recover your damages. If the at-fault driver has limited personal assets then your only source of recovery from them will be their insurance policy. This means that if your hospital bills are $100,000 you may only recover $25,000 from them.
To protect yourself from a serious case involving a minimum limits covered driver you can purchase underinsured coverage from your own insurance company. This coverage will apply in cases where your damages are above and beyond the amount of liability coverage carried by the other driver. It is like you are purchasing additional liability coverage for the driver who caused your accident.
If you have been involved in a serious automobile accident you should consult with an attorney experienced in South Carolina Automobile Insurance Law, including how underinsured coverage may apply. To discuss your case with our office please call (803) 359-3301.