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Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage Required in South Carolina?

Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage Required in South Carolina?

All 50 states require that drivers purchase auto insurance although the laws vary from state to state. In South Carolina, drivers are required to purchase liability and uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally. Liability pays for bodily injury and property damage in case you cause an accident that results in injuries to someone else and property damage to someone else’s vehicle.

On the other hand, uninsured motorist coverage protects you directly. If you are injured or if your vehicle is damaged by a hit-and-run driver or by an uninsured driver, it will cover you. You are required by South Carolina law to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, but what about underinsured motorist coverage? Are you required to buy that?

South Carolina Law on Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In some states, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is sold as a “package” and it’s optional. If a policyholder doesn’t want the coverage, he or she has to reject it in writing. South Carolina handles it a little differently. Here is what all South Carolina drivers must know:

  • In South Carolina, you are required by law to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. The deductible is usually $200.
  • You are not required to purchase underinsured motorist coverage.

While underinsured motorist coverage is similar to uninsured motorist coverage in that it pays for the policyholder’s injuries and property damage if they are hit by a driver who is underinsured, the difference is that it is NOT required under South Carolina law like uninsured motorist coverage. However, all auto insurance companies are required to offer it to policyholders, but they are not required to buy it.

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We recommend that all drivers purchase both uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage because all too often, the state’s minimum liability limits of 25/50/25 are not enough to cover all the damages in an accident. If you’re hit by someone with few assets and their liability coverage is insufficient, you’ll have to rely on your underinsured motorist coverage to seek the compensation you need. If you don’t have it, you may not be able to recover all of your losses.


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