If someone has uninsured motorist coverage, which is required in South Carolina, that means that if they are injured in an accident caused by someone who does not carry insurance on their vehicle like they should, the injured party should be able to make a claim against their uninsured motorist insurance. Typically, that should not affect their rates negatively going up to the future because they were not at fault—it just provides a level of coverage and benefits in the event that someone else does not follow the law.
Underinsured motorist coverage is low-cost optional insurance in South Carolina, but it is often the best insurance anybody can ever get and what they should get to best protect themselves. A seasoned motorcycle accident attorney could explain the benefits of underinsured motorist coverage for Charleston motorcyclists in further detail.
Why Underinsured Motorist Coverage Is Important
Given that the South Carolina minimum limits are about $25,000 per person and $60,000 per occurrence, any type of injury where someone is in the hospital, for example, will likely far exceed those coverage limits within the first day. In other words, the mandatory minimum coverage is inadequate in many cases.
If the other driver involved in a motorcycle wreck has only the minimum limits or some other amount that is not adequate to cover damages, an injured motorcyclist could make a claim against whatever underinsured motorist coverage they have in place. On top of the coverage that is available from the at-fault driver, hopefully there should be enough to compensate the injured motorcyclist for all their damages.
While it is not mandatory for an individual to have underinsured motorist in South Carolina, the law does say there has to be a “meaningful offer” through which insurance companies let policyholders know about their options for underinsured motorist coverage. They also have to tell policyholders what the cost would be and what the benefits would be.
After that, it is up to the driver to pay for or not pay for that coverage. That being said, an uninsured motorist policy always comes along with a regular liability policy that a motorcyclist must purchase in order to legally ride in South Carolina.
How Much Coverage Should a Motorcyclist Buy?
When it comes to uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist policies, a person should get the highest policy amount they can get. In fact, it would not be unreasonable for a motorcyclist to get $300,000 or $500,000 of coverage. While most accidents are not going to involve that type of money, in the event of a motorcycle wreck that causes serious injuries, they are going to be very grateful they have that coverage.
When someone is looking to get uninsured motorist and/or underinsured motorist coverage, an insurance company typically will only offer coverage in the amount that their liability policy is for. For example, if someone is a motorcyclist and they only get a minimum policy limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence, then their uninsured motorist coverage would only cover $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per occurrence, as would their underinsured motorist coverage.
If someone does not want to have a really high insurance bill, another option is to get an umbrella policy. They may have the minimum coverage level of $25,000 per occurrence, but they can also get an umbrella policy for $100,000, $300,000, or $500,000. It is certainly better to have that coverage and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Why Charleston Motorcyclists Should Prioritize Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In many cases, damages in motorcycle accident cases far exceed the amounts available through the minimum insurance coverage mandated by state law. As a result, an injured motorcyclist with subpar coverage may not get anywhere near what they should be getting for their injuries, simply because there just was not enough insurance coverage through the at-fault driver’s vehicle and their uninsured motorist policy. For this reason, underinsured motorist insurance is a crucial consideration for Charleston motorcyclists, and with few exceptions is a type of coverage they should prioritize acquiring.