South Carolina drivers face various risks, including vandalism, theft, slippery roadways, and distracted motorists, among others. Unfortunately, these dangers exist every time you get behind the wheel and always around the corner.
Insurance provides you the protection necessary to offset the costs associated with these risks. South Carolina’s minimum auto insurance limits for Bodily Injury are $25,000 (per person), $50,000 (per accident), and $25,000 (property damage).
However, we encourage all drivers to get auto insurance that far exceeds these limits. Why? The costs associated with being in an accident increases every year (higher medical costs, auto repair costs, and labor rates), which could far exceed South Carolina’s minimum auto limits when a significant loss or accident occurs.
Types of Auto Insurance:
I have an older car whose current market value is very low - do I really need to purchase automobile insurance?
Most states have insurance laws that require drivers to have a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. These laws were enacted to ensure that victims of automobile accidents fairly compensated when their losses are caused by the actions of another driver who was found at fault and/or the other driver who doesn’t have insurance.
It is often the case that the cost of repairing the damages to an older car is greater than its value. In these cases, your insurer will usually “total” the car and give you a check for the car’s market value less the deductible. Many people with older cars decide not to purchase any physical damage coverage.
What is the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage?
Comprehensive provides coverage for most other direct physical damage losses you could incur, including theft. For example, damage to your car from a hailstorm will be covered under your comprehensive coverage.
What factors can affect the cost of my car insurance?
Another easy way to lower the cost of your auto insurance is to raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible from $500 to $1000 will lower your premium, sometimes by as much as five or ten percent.
What discounts and programs are available?
What are the steps for filing a car insurance claim?
Immediately following an auto accident, remember to stay calm, call the police, remain at the scene in a safe location, take photos, and exchange information with the other driver if possible. Car accidents can be traumatizing, but filing a claim shouldn’t be. Here’s what you should do if you file a car insurance claim:
Contact your insurance company with information about the accident right away.
Whether you file your car insurance claim over the phone, online, through a mobile app, or with an agent, your insurer will likely request the following details:
- Location, date, and time of accident
- Name, address, phone number, and insurance policy number for all involved in the accident
- Weather condition
- Photo(s) of the damaged vehicle(s) and other vehicles
- Copies of the police and/or accident reports, if applicable
Review your policy’s coverages and deductible selections:
Knowing how you’re covered is essential and can set proper expectations for your claim. For example, if you have rental car reimbursement coverage, you may be entitled to a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired. Your policy’s deductible amount indicates how much you pay out of pocket on a covered claim, while your coverage limits represent the maximum dollar limit your insurer could pay out in a certain category. Additionally, loan/lease payoff coverage (also known as “gap insurance”) can cover the difference, up to your policy’s limits, if you owe more on the vehicle than it’s worth.
Work with your insurance adjuster:
Your insurance company will appoint an adjuster, or multiple adjusters, to investigate your claim. Typically, the adjuster contacts you within one to three days of the claim filing. Your adjuster arranges an inspection, assesses the damage to your car, and/or addresses any personal injury claims. Additionally, an adjuster could analyze police reports and interview witnesses to the accident.
Depending on your insurer, you could be required to get an estimate for the cost of your vehicle’s repairs and the repair shop will share that figure with your insurance company. Your insurer then makes an evaluation based on information from your adjuster and the repair shop.
Repair or replace your car, if necessary:
You have the freedom to choose which shop handles your car’s repairs. Assuming your claim has been approved, your insurer issues a payment to you or the repair shop, minus your deductible. If your car is damaged beyond repair, your insurer cuts you and/or your lender a check for the value of the vehicle, minus your deductible.
What should I do for a minor car accident with no damage?
How long do you have to file a car insurance claim?
Deadlines for filing a claim varies by insurer, state, and type of claim. Every state provides you more than a reasonable amount of time, but you shouldn’t delay in contacting your insurer. Local state law may dictate that you file an accident report within 14 calendar days.
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