Do you know the insurance requirements for motorists in Georgia? Most people don’t, and this critical coverage is often overlooked until an accident occurs. Currently, Georgia law requires that all owners of motor vehicles maintain at least liability coverage when using a vehicle on its roads or highways. But what about uninsured motorist coverage – is uninsured motorist coverage required in Georgia?
In this blog, an Atlanta personal injury attorney from Greathouse Trial Law, an Atlanta-based car accident law firm, shares what you need to know about uninsured motorist coverage and how it can protect you if you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of auto insurance that provides protection if you’re involved in an accident with a driver without insurance or insufficient insurance to cover the damages.
This type of coverage can help pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage caused by the uninsured driver.
The Two Types of Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury: This coverage helps pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from bodily injury caused by an uninsured driver.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: This coverage helps pay for repairs to your vehicle or other property damaged by an uninsured driver.
Georgia’s Mandatory Minimum Insurance Requirements
In Georgia, all drivers are required to carry a mandatory minimum amount of liability insurance. This coverage helps protect you financially if you cause an accident that results in bodily injury or property damage to others. The minimum liability insurance requirements in Georgia are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
There are several reasons why people might choose only the mandatory minimum coverage, including:
- Cost: Minimum coverage is typically cheaper than more comprehensive policies. Some individuals may prioritize saving money over obtaining higher levels of protection.
- Lack of awareness: Some drivers may not fully understand the potential consequences of having only minimum coverage and may underestimate the financial risks involved.
- Legal compliance: For some, the primary goal of purchasing insurance is simply to meet the legal requirements and avoid penalties.
However, relying solely on the mandatory minimum insurance requirements can pose several problems:
- Insufficient coverage: In a serious accident, minimum coverage may not cover all the expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. This could leave you financially responsible for the difference.
- Increased financial risk: With only the minimum coverage, you expose yourself to greater financial risk if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Uninsured/underinsured coverage can help mitigate this risk.
- Limited protection: Minimum coverage typically only provides liability protection, meaning it covers damages and injuries you cause to others but not damages to your own vehicle or your injuries. Comprehensive and collision coverages, which protect your vehicle, are not included in the minimum requirements.
- Potential for lawsuits: If your insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the damages you cause in an accident, the injured party may sue you for the remaining amount, leading to further financial strain.
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Mandatory in Georgia?
Uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in Georgia. However, Georgia insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage to all policyholders. You can reject this coverage, but you must do so in writing. If you don’t reject the coverage, it will automatically be added to your policy.
Why You Should Consider Uninsured Motorist
Although uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not mandatory, it’s wise to include it in your insurance policy, especially since many people only carry the mandatory minimum coverage. Here are some additional reasons why:
- High Number of Uninsured Drivers: Georgia has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the United States. According to recent studies, around 12.4% of Georgia drivers do not have insurance. That’s a significant risk you face every time you hit the road.
- Financial Protection: If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you could be left with substantial medical bills and repair costs. Uninsured motorist coverage can help cover those expenses, saving you from financial hardship.
- Peace of Mind: Having uninsured motorist coverage means you can rest easy knowing you’re protected in an accident with an uninsured driver.
How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should You Get?
Determining the Right Amount of Coverage
The amount of uninsured motorist coverage you need depends on your circumstances and risk tolerance. Here are some factors to consider:
- Your assets: If you have significant assets, such as a house or savings, choose a higher coverage limit to protect them in case of a lawsuit.
- Your health insurance: If your health insurance has high deductibles or limited coverage, consider higher uninsured motorist bodily injury limits to help cover medical expenses after an accident with an uninsured driver.
- Your vehicle’s value: If your car is expensive to repair or replace, you might want to opt for a higher uninsured motorist property damage limit to cover potential repair or replacement costs.
Recommended Coverage Limits
While the right amount of coverage varies depending on your situation, many experts recommend at least the following uninsured motorist coverage limits:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: $50,000 per accident
These limits can provide a good starting point, but remember to adjust them based on your individual needs and risk tolerance.
Adding Uninsured Motorist Coverage to Your Policy
Contact your insurance agent or company to include uninsured motorist coverage in your auto insurance policy. They can guide you through the process and help you determine suitable coverage limits based on your specific requirements.
What to Do if You’ve Been in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
According to the Insurance Research Council, there are approximately 32 million uninsured drivers in the United States – which translates into about one in eight drivers. This means if you’re involved in a car crash, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Here’s what to do:
- Contact the police: Report the accident and ensure that a police report is filed.
- Gather information: Collect all parties’ contact information, insurance details, and vehicle information. Also, take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any injuries.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you feel fine, getting checked out by a medical professional is crucial, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
- Notify your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible and provide them with the necessary information.
Importance of Legal Representation
Hiring a knowledgeable attorney is crucial when dealing with an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver. A skilled lawyer can help you:
- Understand your rights and options: An attorney can explain the intricacies of your insurance policy and the legal avenues available to you.
- File a claim: An attorney can assist you in filing a claim with your insurance company and ensuring you receive compensation for damages.
- Negotiate with the other party: If necessary, a lawyer can negotiate with the other driver or their insurance company on your behalf.
- Represent you in court: If the case goes to trial, an experienced attorney can present your case effectively and fight for your rights.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage – A Smart Choice in Georgia
Although uninsured motorist coverage is not legally required in Georgia, it’s a valuable addition to your auto insurance policy. With a high number of uninsured drivers on the road and the potential for substantial financial losses in an accident, this coverage can provide peace of mind and financial protection.
By evaluating your needs and choosing the right coverage limits, you can ensure that you’re adequately protected from the risks associated with uninsured drivers.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Law Firm If You’re in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
Were you involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and left feeling overwhelmed by the situation? Are you getting the runaround from the insurance company when it comes to getting compensation for your injuries?
Don’t fight this battle alone — Greathouse Trial Law is here to help. We will work to get the best recovery on your claim because we know how insurance companies work and how they often try to undervalue or deny claims.
Our experienced legal team understands the complexities of handling cases involving uninsured and underinsured motorists and can guide you through the process, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Copyright © 2023. Greathouse Trial Law, LLC. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.