What You Should Know About the Vehicle Insurance Standards in South Carolina

South Carolina residents are required to be financially responsible when they operate a vehicle. The primary way of doing this is to purchase liability insurance. Good drivers can also opt to register as an uninsured motorist for $550 a year, but that doesn't give you any protection, so that might not be a good option unless you have a lot of money. You must give out information about your policy when you get a driver's license or when you register a new car. Failure to be financially responsible can result in penalties.

Required Liability Coverage

South Carolina has a minimum amount of liability protection that it requires. You must maintain $25,000 for every person in an accident for bodily injury coverage, up to a total of $50,000 per accident, and you need to have $25,000 of personal property insurance. Bodily injury coverage will help pay for medical expenses that arise as a result of an accident where you are at fault. Personal property insurance concerns any vehicles, fences, or other property that you might damage while driving your automobile. These are the minimum requirements. Because major accidents could cause more than this amount, you might want to consider increasing these amounts.

Other Products to Consider

Although you are only required to purchase a liability plan, you (or your lender, if you have an auto loan) might want additional coverage. Some of the most common car policies that you might want include comprehensive and collision protection. Collision protects your car or truck if you get into an accident while driving your car. Comprehensive pays you in case your automobile gets stolen, a tree falls on it, or it is damaged while you are not driving the automobile. If you get these and your car is totaled, your provider will only give you enough money to cover the value of your vehicle. Gap insurance is sometimes purchased by individuals to protect them while they owe more on their car than it is worth. Often, car dealers like to sell this product to you, but you can also purchase this from other insurers.

Providing Proof

South Carolina residents should always carry proof of insurance whenever they operate a vehicle. If you are pulled over by law enforcement, you will have to show it. You will also have to give your information when you get or renew your driver's license, and during the car registration process. This doesn't mean that you have to own a vehicle to get a license. If you don't own one, there is a place where you can indicate that on your license application.

Penalties for not being Responsible

If you are not financially responsible and operate an automobile without a policy, you might face penalties. If you are stopped for a traffic violation without being insured, you could end up with fines and jail time. Your license can be suspended indefinitely if you don't provide proof within 30 days. If you get into an accident, you will have 15 days to have your insurer send proof to the DMV that you are covered, otherwise you could have your license and registration suspended. Cancelling your plan could also result in the suspension of your license and registration, unless you surrender your license plate or purchase liability with another provider. Insurers notify the DMV electronically when you cancel a policy.

Uninsured Motorist Registration

If you are a good driver, don't think that you'll get into an accident, and have the financial resources to self-insure in case you do get in an accident, you can register as an uninsured motorist. This costs $550 a year, and has other requirements. You have to have had a license for three or more years, and you must not have an SR-22 requirement. If you meet those, plus 15 other requirements that involve not being convicted of certain types of traffic violations, you can drive without being covered.

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