Ready to hit the road in the Palmetto State? Here's what you need to know, and what you need to get in coverage.
Auto Insurance Laws First of all, South Carolina is best defined as a “no ifs, ands, or buts” state: Under the state's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act to be registered and on the road, you need to have car insurance that meets the state minimums, and having insurance is strictly enforced.
Similarly, if you want a license, you'll need to have insurance if you own a vehicle; although really, since it needs to be registered, you'll probably have that base covered already. The state recommends that if you're moving there from another state, you change your address with your insurance company before you go in to register. As South Carolina verifies your insurance electronically, that will smooth over a lot of potentially annoying paperwork bumps.
They're not shy about enforcement, either. If a motorist is pulled over and is unable to demonstrate that his or her car is properly insured, a citation will be issued. This isn't a normal ticket: It requires you to prove that you had insurance while on the road within 30 days of being issued. If you can't prove it, and are convicted of driving while uninsured, your driver's license can be suspended indefinitely until you fulfill the state's requirements. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Similarly, if a driver's insurance lapses, the insurance company will contact the state DMV, which in turn will get in touch with the driver. Either the driver demonstrates that they have insurance... or he will have to surrender his plate and registration. If this happens to you, expect it to cost you $400 to get your plate back. The good news is that drivers who voluntarily surrender the plate and registration won't have to face any punishment under the Financial Responsibility laws.
Minimum Requirements So, how much do you have to have to get on the road? South Carolina has the following minimums:
- $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of two people
- $20,000 in coverage for property damage or injury to others
Drivers that don't meet the minimums will, as you might have noticed, get either their license suspended or be forced to surrender their registration.
So what option do drivers have to get those items back?
It's called the SR-22. It has to be issued by insurance companies and is required in the case of drivers who have had their licenses suspended because of driving under the influence, were convicted of driving on a suspended license, or were convicted of driving while uninsured. However, this form will only be issued to South Carolina residents, so drivers from out of state with these problems may need to make other arrangements with the state.
Ultimately, what South Carolina wants from its drivers is responsibility. If you drive responsibility and stay current on your insurance, you'll be able to see all this lovely state has to offer with no trouble whatsoever.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, south carolina, car insurance
Let's talk about the worst drivers in America.
No, this isn't an article about your scatterbrained friend who can't work a car stereo. Or your Aunt Mabel who is petrified of driving on the freeway. Or even that clueless bozo who cut you off in traffic today.
This article discusses the two demographic categories of drivers who are statistically the most likely to be involved in auto accidents (and therefore also pay the highest car insurance premiums). That would be teenagers under the age of 18 and elderly people above the age of 80. Those two groups are 9 times as likely and 5.5 times as likely respectively to get into crashes than middle-aged American drivers, who are among the safest on the roadways.
So for these high-risk drivers, what type of vehicles are appropriate? The largest, most-tank-like vehicle you can buy? Or a car with an engine that's only slightly more powerful than the average lawnmower?
Neither, actually. What you're looking for are vehicles that have excellent crash test ratings, a plethora of safety features, and a reputation of reliability.
Parents of teenagers should avoid buying them a large sport utility vehicle or a pickup truck. Even though they have a lot of metal that can provide exterior collision protection, these bigger vehicles are more likely to tip over, thus increasing the risk of a rollover accident. Senior citizens should opt for vehicles which provide good driver visibility and positioning, front seat comfort, and access to controls. These are the attributes which will simplify the driving experience for octogenarians.
There is a long list of vehicles which meet the criteria for either elderly drivers or teen drivers. But there are only five which satisfy the requirements for both groups. They are:
1. Honda Accord 4-cylinder
Model years: 2008-2012
The Accord got the highest possible safety ratings from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also comes with standard electronic stability control.
2. Nissan Altima 4-cylinder
Model years: 2010-2012
It scored highly in crash tests, especially those occurring from the side (which tend to be more dangerous than rear-end or frontal collisions). In addition to the driver's airbag, the Altima comes with a passenger airbag, a side airbag, a side head airbag, and a rear head air bag.
3. Toyota Camry
The Camry received an overall five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, and perfect scores from the IIHS. It has all of the same airbags as the Altima plus a rear body airbag.
4. Toyota RAV4 without a third-row seat
Model years: 2006-2012
Toyota is the only automaker with two vehicles that are highly recommended for both seniors and teens. The RAV4 got high marks for safety, has standard electronic stability control, and boasts a total of five airbags.
5. Subaru Forester nonturbo
Model years: 2009-2012
This SUV garnered perfect marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, though it's not as reliable as the Accord or Camry. But the five airbags and electronic stability control help improve the safety of its occupants.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, best car, worst driver
Hawaii is unique because it is the only American state that is completely surrounded by water. Naturally, it's a mecca of boats and ships of all sizes, as well as Jet Skis, paddleboards, and seaplanes. Nevertheless, the islands are still large enough where a passenger vehicle is usually required to travel outside of the cities and away from the beaches. So that means that the people who live and drive in Hawaii are required by law to buy auto insurance and remain in good standing with their insurers -- just like all of the states with land borders.
How Hawaii Ranks The typical Hawaii driver pays an auto insurance premium that is in the middle third when ranked against all of the other U.S. states. More specifically, the average auto insurance premium for a Hawaiian driver is $1,594, which is the 17th most expensive rate in the nation and about 10.8% higher than the national average. As in other states, premiums vary by city in Hawaii. For instance, Honolulu residents (on the island off Oahu) tend to pay more for car insurance than those who live in Kahului (on Maui).
Avg. annual premium
Hawaii Auto Insurance Laws
Hawaii law calls for every driver to purchase a minimum amount of coverage; fairly typical of those levels set in most American states. Hawaiian drivers must purchase at least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage (per person), $40,000 in bodily injury coverage (per accident), and $10,000 in property damage coverage (per accident). The state does not mandate drivers to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage.
However, Hawaii is one of only 13 U.S. states that do require drivers to buy what is called personal injury protection coverage (or PIP), which is normally optional in the continental U.S. This insurance is designed to pay the policyholder if he or she is injured in an auto accident, regardless of whose fault it was. A minimum coverage level of $10,000 in PIP is mandated by Hawaii law.
Though Hawaii is referred to as a "no-fault" state, there are certain caveats. The no-fault concept generally only applies to bodily injury, which is covered under every driver's PIP coverage up to the policy limits. However, if victims' incur medical bills which exceed their policy limits, they may be able to file suit against another driver who was at fault in the accident. Plus, drivers who are found to be at fault can also be sued by victims for property damage.
Almost all states have laws which are designed to crack down on impaired driving, and Hawaii is no different. If a Hawaiian driver is convicted of driving under the influence, he or she may have to forfeit all auto insurance coverage for one year, making the person ineligible to drive on the state's roads. However, this provision can often be waived if the offender agrees to install an ignition interlock system in his or her vehicle. This device makes drivers blow into a tube to determine whether or not they have been drinking or consuming drugs; if alcohol or drugs are detected, the vehicle will not start.
Hawaii has a well-earned reputation for its laid-back, carefree lifestyle. However, the state is strict when it comes to drivers buying auto insurance. So if you plan to vacation or live in Hawaii, be sure that you policy is up to date and your coverage meets the state-mandated requirements.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, hawaii
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