April 26, 2019
A Summary of Georgia’s Auto Insurance Laws
All residents of Georgia are required to carry auto insurance for their vehicles. In the event of an accident, the insurance company is there to provide compensation to handle vehicle repairs and medical bills – depending on the type of insurance a driver has. If you live in Georgia, it’s crucial to be aware of the minimum car insurance requirements, the additional types of coverage you can carry, and the consequences of neglecting to have insurance. This will ensure you get the compensation you need to recover if you’re in a collision.
When it comes to financial responsibility for a car crash, Georgia follows a fault system. This means that the driver responsible for the wreck is liable for personal injury and property damage. Typically, their insurance coverage will be looked at first to cover the financial losses associated with the accident. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you can seek compensation by filing a claim with your own insurance company, pursuing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, or by filing a personal injury claim.
Georgia’s Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
Residents of Georgia are required to carry certain minimum amounts of car insurance. This basic coverage is used to pay for medical bills, property damage costs, and other losses of those who are injured or had their vehicle damaged in a crash. While you are not required to have more coverage than the state’s minimum requirements, having more can protect you in a serious crash. It’s important to remember that once the policy money is gone, you are responsible for the rest of the losses.
The minimum liability coverage limits are as follows:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or deaths in a single accident involving more than one person
- $25,000 for property damage
It’s important to note that the coverage discussed above does not apply to your own injuries or vehicle damage. That coverage only kicks in for the others involved if it’s determined you are responsible for the accident. Liability coverage kick in, however, if someone who you’ve given permission to was driving your car at the time of the accident.
The rates for insurance vary greatly and depend on a number of factors. The premiums are regulated by the Georgia Office of Insurance. The following factors influence how much a person will pay:
- The type of car being insured
- Driving record
- Previous auto insurance
- Marital Status
- Geographic location
- How long you’ve been driving
- Whether your car is used for business
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Motorists are allowed to purchase additional types of motorist coverage. This is not a requirement of the state. Uninsured/underinsured coverage (UIM) protects you if you get into an accident involving an at-fault driver who has no insurance or who has insufficient insurance to cover the incurred damage.
In Georgia, UIM is divided into two categories. There is traditional and new coverage. With traditional coverage, a driver’s UIM availability is diminished by the at-fault driver’s available liability insurance. This means that if you have a $25,000 traditional UIM policy and the at-fault driver has the state’s minimum required coverage, they cancel each other out. With new, however, UIM stacks on top of the at-fault driver’s coverage. So, if the at-fault driver has the minimum amount of coverage, your UIM coverage kicks in after theirs is exhausted. New coverage is more expensive than traditional.
The Penalties for Failing to Have Auto Insurance in Georgia
It is illegal for a driver to operate their car without the right insurance. If an accident happens or a person is pulled over and a law enforcement officer asks to see an uninsured driver’s insurance card, they could face serious consequences. Typically, a person could receive a fine of no less than $200 and no more than $1,000. A person could also be imprisoned for up to 12 months. Additionally, the guilty driver will lose their license for six months. If they are found to be a repeat offender, their license could be revoked for up to five years.
Understanding Georgia’s auto insurance laws are crucial if you’ve been in an accident, so you can receive the monetary award you need to get your life back in order. If you have questions about the laws or are wondering about how you should proceed after a crash, schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers. We’ll help you decide what to do and work to ensure you receive full and fair compensation.