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South Carolina roadways have become increasingly busy and ensuring safety while driving is paramount. Just in 2023, South Carolina witnessed 987 auto deaths, underscoring the need for proactive measures to safeguard ourselves and our families. But what can responsible individuals do to protect themselves? In this blog, we’ll discuss various strategies and coverage options to minimize risks and ensure financial security in the event of a car wreck.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage (aka UM) provides insurance coverage in scenarios where you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance OR the at-fault vehicle gets away from the scene preventing the discovery of the driver/vehicle. UM coverage then steps in to protect you as well as the injuries of your passengers.  It also provides coverage for the damage to your vehicle.  Again this is only for  accidents caused by an uninsured or unknown driver. UM coverage on your auto policy is required in South Carolina, which mandates a minimum of $25,000 in liability/UM coverage.  So your UM coverage amount has to be equal to your liability coverage. But for a few dollars more, you can raise these minimum levels. (SC Department of Insurance

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage (aka UIM) provides crucial insurance coverage for instances when you’re injured in a wreck by an at-fault driver, but your damages exceed their level of liability coverage.  UIM is a second layer of coverage that often comes into play due to the rising costs of healthcare.  In South Carolina, auto insurers are mandated to offer UIM coverage, though it’s optional to purchase it. UIM serves as a safety net, bridging the gap between the at-fault driver’s insurance limits and your total damages, ensuring you’re not left bearing the financial burden alone in the aftermath of an accident.  Once again, for a few dollars more, you can add UIM to your policy which provides comfort that you’re better protected.

The Importance of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

The significance of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage cannot be overstated. These safeguards are in place to protect drivers and passengers when faced with substantial financial hardships in the aftermath of a wreck. By prioritizing these coverage options, you’re proactively protecting yourself and your assets against the uncertainties of the road.

The Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

While both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage offer financial protections, they differ in their application. It’s essential to understand these distinctions and assess your insurance needs accordingly to ensure you have adequate coverage in place to protect yourself in various scenarios on the road.

How does Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage work in real life?

Imagine this scenario: Taylor and Travis, a young couple from Charleston, are driving home from a weekend getaway when suddenly, they’re blindsided by another vehicle running a red light. The impact is crippling, leaving Taylor with a fractured arm and Travis with whiplash. Over the next few days after the wreck, they learn that the at-fault driver failed to pay his insurance premiums and therefore is uninsured. They have no way of covering their medical expenses and vehicle repairs.  This is when Taylor and Travis can turn to their UM coverage.

Now assume, the at-fault driver did have minimum limits of liability coverage ($25,000). As Taylor and Travis’s treatments continue, they are caught off guard by the mounting medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and the prospect of being without a vehicle. Taylor’s fractured arm requires surgery and ongoing physical therapy, while Travis’s whiplash leaves him unable to work for several weeks, adding further strain to their financial situation. Without sufficient coverage to offset these expenses, they’re left grappling with the harsh reality of shouldering the burden themselves.  Luckily, our couple elected UIM coverage on their policy and have this secondary layer of coverage to protect them from further hardships.

As the days pass, Taylor and Travis find themselves thankful for their decisions and no longer have the stress and uncertainty on them as they wonder how they’ll manage to cover their expenses and regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. They realize the importance of having adequate uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in place—a safety net that spared them from financial turmoil.

Uninsured vs Underinsured Motorist Coverage

What to Do After a Wreck?

After a wreck, taking prompt and appropriate action is crucial. First and foremost, ensure everyone involved is safe and seek medical attention for any injuries. Then, document the accident scene, gather relevant information, and notify law enforcement. Once the immediate concerns are addressed, it’s essential to inform your insurance company and seek legal guidance if necessary. Our blog provides comprehensive guidance on the steps to take immediately after a car accident, empowering you to navigate the post-accident process with confidence and clarity.

If you find yourself in the challenging position of interacting with insurance companies after a wreck, it’s essential to handle their inquiries with caution. Our article on how to answer insurance company questions offers valuable insights and practical tips to protect your rights and interests during these interactions. By arming yourself with knowledge and understanding your rights, you can navigate the insurance claims process effectively and ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.

Cannon Law – Car Accident Attorneys

In conclusion, protecting yourself before a car wreck involves proactive measures such as securing adequate insurance coverage and knowing how to respond in the event of an accident. By understanding the importance of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage and taking appropriate steps after a wreck, you can safeguard yourself against the financial repercussions of unforeseen accidents on the road. For personalized guidance and legal assistance, contact Cannon Law Firm today. Let us advocate for your rights and help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

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