A piece of South Carolina auto insurance legislation that would clarify the minimum level of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage drivers are required to purchase is advancing through the state Legislature.
S 464, proposed by Sen. Robert Hayes (R-York), would officially set the minimum at $25,000. In 2006, legislators hiked liability minimums to the current 25/50/25 setup but thought that the $25,000 minimums also applied to UM coverage, which previously came with a minimum limit of $10,000, according to Steven Gilbert, a Senate committee research director.
“There’s some debate about whether the intent was $25,000 or $10,000, so this is a cleanup, clarification bill,” Gilbert said in an interview with Online Auto Insurance News.
The bill was heard before the Banking and Insurance Subcommittee on Wednesday, when committee members amended the bill. The bill’s effective date was changed from being active upon the governor’s approval to becoming effective on Jan. 1, 2014.
The bill was passed out of the subcommittee and will appear on the full committee’s agenda for March 13.
Gilbert said that many policyholders currently have $25,000 limits for UM coverage, but the bill would make sure that all do.
“People have already been doing the $25,000 and this bill clears up a little bit of confusion on what the minimum actually is,” he said.
Currently, Washington, D.C. and 21 states in the U.S., including South Carolina, require policyholders to purchase UM coverage, which protects them in instances of a crash with a motorist who lacks coverage or leaves the scene of a crash.