When you are injured in an auto accident and someone else is at fault, the law says that person is responsible for paying you for all damages that he or she caused. This means paying your medical bills, damage to your vehicle or its contents, injuries to your passengers, lost income from work, and just about any other verifiable loss.
But what happens if that person has no money—no way to pay for the damages? This is precisely why the law requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance. This insurance is designed to minimally insure or protect others in the event of an accident. Sadly, 1 out of 8 drivers in the U.S. is uninsured, according to theInsurance Information Institute. South Carolina has a slightly higher rate of uninsured motorists, coming in at roughly 1 in 9.4 drivers.
Some States Prohibit Rate Increases
Some states, such asGeorgia andColorado, actually prohibit or greatly restrict insurance companies from increasing insurance premiums or canceling policies solely because customers file claims, when the accident is not the fault of the insured customer. In other words, those states attempt to keep insurance companies from punishing innocent drivers for using the benefits they have paid for.
South Carolina does not directly prohibit insurance companies from raising premiums, but in general an otherwise safe driver with no recent history of moving violations or motor vehicle accidents will likely not see a premium increase following an accident caused 100 percent by another driver. Of course, some insurance companies are better about this than others.
Reasons Premiums Increase
You may not realize the real reasons behind insurance premiums going up over time. There is more to the premium than just claims. Certain regions or neighborhoods have higher-than-typical claims volumes. Some professions rank very low in terms of overall claims, whereas some types of professions rank very high in terms of claims. Insurance companies use statistics to understand risk and attempt to measure the likelihood of people filing claims, whether at fault or not.
In other words, you can be the safest driver on the road in a place where a lot of people have wrecks, and your premiums will probably be as high as someone with a history of wrecks who lives in a place where there are very few incidents. Here are just a few things insurance companies consider:
- Credit Score
- Driving History
- Prior Accidents
- Type of Car
- Your Job
- Zip Code
- Your Age
Should I File a Claim?
If you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident in South Carolina, and the other driver is not insured, you may actually have to use your own uninsured motorist insurance coverage in order to be compensated for your injuries. After all, unless the uninsured driver has significant cash assets, your best option is generally to file a claim with your insurance company.
Klok Law Firm, LLC represents injured motorists throughout the Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, SC areas. If you are facing serious injuries or disabilities from an auto accident, contact us to discuss your case today.