FAQs: Auto Insurance

Auto insurance seems pretty straightforward, it is coverage that helps pay for vehicle damages you cause or damages that happen to your car. But here at the SCDOI, we do get a fair amount of questions surrounding auto insurance. While we will address some of the main ones we get, you can check out the complete list Auto-Insurance-1of FAQs on auto insurance and other topics here on our website.

Question #1

What auto insurance coverage is required in SC?

Answer: Drivers are required to carry liability and uninsured motorist coverage with the following limits:  $25,000 Bodily Injury Per Person / $50,000 Bodily Injury Per Accident / $25,000 Property Damage Per Accident. What is liability insurance? You can learn more about that here

Question #2

An uninsured driver demolished my car! Who pays?

Answer: The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles requires you to carry uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage has a $200.00 deductible. If your carrier collects back their payout from the uninsured motorist, you should be refunded your deductible. 

Question #3

I've been sued by the other driver in a car accident. Will my policy cover that?

Answer: Yes. Your liability insurance covers lawsuits. Your company has a duty to provide a lawyer to represent you in lawsuits accusing you of negligence in driving your car. If you receive a summons or notice of a lawsuit, notify your company right away. Although the company pays for the lawyer, the lawyer's ethical duty is to represent your best interest. There is no policy limit on how much the company must pay the lawyer to represent you. If the case is settled or there is a judgment against you, the company will pay up to the policy limit. But if the court judgment or settlement is more than your policy limits, you will have to pay the difference. The company may refuse to defend you if you are accused of intentionally injuring someone or intentionally damaging property.

Question #4

Who pays for the rental car while my car is in the body shop?

Answer: When the claim is against the other driver's company, the other driver’s company is required by law to reimburse your loss of use for what is reasonable and necessary. However, some insurers will do a direct bill with a rental car company. If the car is totaled, many companies pay for your rental or reimburse you until a settlement has been offered. 

Question #5

After damage to my car, the adjuster recommended a specific body shop. Can I use a different shop?

Answer: You can have it repaired wherever you choose. But no matter what shop you choose, the adjuster will base your claim payment on market price for the repairs and pay the local average rates for parts & labor.

Question #6

Can the insurance company pay me less than Blue Book for my totaled vehicle?

Answer: Yes. The Blue Book is only a guide. The company is required to pay you what your vehicle was actually worth (as a used car) the moment before the crash. The adjuster will find out how much used cars like yours (same make, model, year, and mileage) are going for in your area. It's a good idea for you to independently research the value of your car too.

Question #7

Are there any specific time limits for an insurance company to pay claims?

Answer: In general, insurance companies should pay all claims in a prompt and reasonable amount of time. However, what constitutes "prompt and reasonable" may vary from claim to claim. Claims that require a special or extended investigation may take longer to resolve. Inclement weather conditions, coverage issues, and the number of vehicles involved in an accident can slow the process down. 

If you feel your claim is not being handled correctly, you may contact us by filing a complaint here or call 803-737-6180 to speak with an Insurance Regulatory Analyst.  You can also email your question to consumers@doi.sc.gov. We are here to help!