If you have been injured by the negligence of an underinsured driver, you may be able to recover through your own policy if you have the right coverage in place. In my opinion underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is the most important insurance to purchase to protect your family. Underinsured motorist coverage is not required in the state of South Carolina, but it must be offered by your insurer. Too often individuals get into a wreck and the policy limits of at fault driver limits are too low to pay your medical bills and damages. If you do not have underinsured motorist coverage, the bills can add up quickly and you may be expected to pay them out of pocket. I recommend UIM coverage equal to your liability limits of at least $50,000 or as much as you can afford.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage does exactly as it sounds. If you are injured in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover all over your damages, then underinsured motorist coverage will cover the difference between the total damages and the other drivers’ liability coverage. By way of example, if you are injured in a traffic accident and your medical bills exceed $100,000, and the idiot who ran the red light carries only the minimum $25,000 in liability coverage, you may get stuck paying the difference. UIM coverage is relatively inexpensive considering it will cover more of your bills and help fully compensate you for your injuries. That can bring a lot of peace of mind after your family has been through a serious, life changing accident.
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The beauty of UIM coverage is that it also includes a huge benefit if you have more than one car in the household and both cars have UIM coverage. If you are injured in a car owned by you, you may be able to stack underinsured coverage for each vehicle insured in your household. For example, if you own 3 vehicles with UIM coverage of $100,000, you can “stack” all three vehicles for a total of $300,000 in available UIM coverage. Therefore, under the example above, if the injured family member has medical bills of $100,000, you would be able to collect $25,000 from the at-fault driver, then your UIM would kick in to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering and other consequential damages up to $300,000 over and above the liability coverage.
One other benefit of UIM coverage is that you may be able to recover under any UIM policy within your household, as long as you are related to the owner of that car. So if granny has another car in the household make sure she has UIM coverage too so everyone is protected in all vehicles. One final note is that all of your UIM coverage should be the same amount on all vehicles because stacking of coverages is based upon the amount of UIM coverage available on the vehicle involved in the collision. This is called the “measuring vehicle” standard. Thus, even if you have $100,000 in coverage on two vehicles at home, but the one you are injured in has only $25,000, you would only be able to stack $25,000 for a total of $75,000.
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The insurance law of “stacking” and UIM is very complex, even for lawyers practicing for years, so it is important to hire an experienced Greenville South Carolina car accident insurance lawyer. So if you’re involved in a Greenville car wreck or have been injured due to the negligence of a truck driver or other vehicle where you might need UIM, you should meet with an experienced Greenville car crash lawyer who can help maximize the coverage available. If you have been in an auto accident where the at-fault drivers’ insurance will not cover all of your losses due to low policy limits, then call the attorneys at Hammack Law Firm today. We have experience finding coverage in between the lines and we want to help you in your case. We are here to help you! Call us for a free case review at 864-326-3333.
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