What auto insurance coverage is required in SC?

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 the minimum requirement of insurance on other types of vehicles besides your own personal automobile? For example, a dump truck?

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (877-349-7190) requires liability and uninsured motorist with limits of 25/50/25 for oversize/overweight vehicles. Also, check with the Public Service Commission at 803-896-5230 for additional information on vehicles for hire such as taxis, buses, etc.

I received a form to sign from my insurance carrier about underinsured motorist coverage. What is the purpose of this form?

In order to verify that a company offered you the optional underinsured motorist coverage, the company must have a signed form from you confirming whether you do or do not want the optional coverage. The form may also provide the option for you to increase the amount of coverage you have for liability and uninsured motorist coverage in addition to offering you the underinsured motorist coverage. You are required to fill out the form and return it to the company for their records; otherwise, the company will add the underinsured motorist coverage to your policy and rate you for the coverage. The South Carolina Department of Insurance does not have a copy of your form, so if you have additional questions, you should contact your insurance agent for further clarification.

Can a company refuse to insure me?

Yes, as of 3/1/99, there is no mandate to write automobile insurance. You must shop around to find a company that will insure you. If you cannot find a company to insure you, then you will need to contact the Associated Auto Insurers Plan of South Carolina (AAIPSC) at 866-560-4100.

When can my automobile liability insurance be canceled?

Automobile liability insurance can be canceled if you fail to pay your premiums on time and between the 61-90 day of a new policy for any reason.

When can my automobile comprehensive and collision coverage be canceled?

This coverage can be canceled for any reason during the first 90 days.

Aren't all insurance companies required to cover windshield damage for free in South Carolina by law?

  • There is no "free" glass coverage in South Carolina; however, if an insured has comprehensive coverage on their auto policy, in accordance with South Carolina law (SC Code Code of Laws Section § 38-77-280(B)), the deductible for glass coverage is waived. You must have comprehensive coverage on that vehicle for the insurer to replace the windshield. In that case, the deductible for comprehensive claims will be waived.


Does the insurance company have to notify you when your renewal insurance premium is due?

Yes, the law requires 15 days prior notice. Most companies mail renewal notices 30-45 days before the policy renewal effective date.

Does the automobile policy contain a grace period for paying the renewal premium?

No. There is no required grace period for the payment of a renewal premium. The policy actually expires at the end of the policy period if the premium is not received by that date.

An agent quoted me a low rate so I bought the policy. Then the company raised the rate two months later. Can they do that?

Yes.  Agents provide quotes based on the information you provide them at the time of the quote.  They can start your policy based off that quote, but the company does a more thorough review of driving records, accident history, payment history, etc. and determines the final rate based on the individual company’s rating plan.

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

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.

May I keep my auto if I have a collision, limited collision or comprehensive claim and my insurance company declares it a total loss?

After your vehicle has been declared a total loss, you can retain the salvage; however, the value of the salvaged vehicle must be deducted from the actual cash value of the vehicle when the insurer pays you. The Department of Motor Vehicles, in these cases, do require the insurer to obtain your title from you and send it to them. The Department of Motor Vehicles will reissue your title to you with salvage on the title.

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

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 milege) are going for in your area. It's a good idea for you to independently research the value of your car too.

The adjuster recommended a specific body shop. Can I use a different shop?

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.

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

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.

The insurance company put the leinholder's name on the check for repairing my car. Why?

Because your car is collateral for your loan, the leinholder (or whoever is financing the car) has an interest in making sure the money is used to repair the car and not for something else. In most situations, you have listed your financial institution as leinholder per their requirement.

An uninsured driver demolished my car! Who pays?

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.

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

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.

Is a person required to have underinsured motorist coverage in South Carolina?

No.  Underinsured coverage (which covers you when the at-fault party in an accident doesn't have enough insurance to pay for all of your losses) is not mandatory in SC.  However, uninsured motorist coverage (which covers you when the at-fault party does not have insurance or causes an accident and leaves the scene) is required in SC.