South Carolina Auto Insurance Basics


You are required by each state to purchase mandatory insurance coverage in order to drive on their roads and highways. Mandatory coverage is only a part of the automobile insurance that is available to protect you, your family and other drivers on the road. Here is some basic information to help you in deciding the levels of coverage you may want to include in your auto insurance policy.

There are six major areas of coverage for automobile insurance. The minimum levels of coverage vary from state to state. In general, these areas are: Bodily injury liability, Property damage liability, Personal Injury Protection, Collision, Comprehensive, Uninsured/Underinsured motorist’s coverage.

The state of South Carolina only requires their drivers to carry bodily injury coverage and personal property insurance. You must have liability insurance to drive in South Carolina but they do allow some residents to pay a fee of $550 each year to register as uninsured motorists. There are requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible. Otherwise you must purchase coverage through an agent who is licensed to sell insurance in this state.

These minimums that are required are the highest amount that your insurance company will pay out due to injuries or death to you or any other people involved in an accident, as well as any property damage. These amounts are only what are required by the state and you can certainly select higher levels of coverage.

Bodily injury liability covers any damages that you may have caused another person if an accident were to occur. This coverage includes medical bills and loss of income. Property damage liability covers the repair and/or replacement of any property that was destroyed as a result of an accident.

You should definitely consider taking out collision insurance if you take out a loan when you are buying a car or if you still owe money on your current vehicle. You cannot let the insurance lapse on a vehicle that is being financed. You will probably be required to carry comprehensive coverage as well. And if you do not provide adequate or proof of insurance, the lender will take matters into their own hands and find insurance coverage for you and bill you for it in addition to your regular car payment.

The collision coverage pays for any damage to your car that was a result of hitting another vehicle, a tree, a telephone pole, etc.  Comprehensive coverage protects the value and replacement of your car in the event that it is damaged as a result of anything other than an accident, for example if your car is stolen, someone breaks into it or there it suffers flood damage.

Optional in most states is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for any damages that are a result of an uninsured motorist or a hit and run driver. And under-insured motorist coverage comes into play if the other driver, who is at fault, does not have enough insurance to cover you. However, this coverage is not used to cover damages to your car.

When you know ahead of time what the different types of auto insurance coverage are and what they cover it will give you a head start when deciding on your insurance needs.