Car Insurance Law

Facts about Car Insurance Law in Georgia

There are many different types of car insurance, and each kind of coverage provides a different sort of benefit. Some types of coverage are required by law, while others are optional but may be well worth considering. Read on for an explanation of car insurance law in Georgia. If you need help navigating the insurance claim process to make sure you get the full value that you are entitled to, contact Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC in Atlanta at 404-460-0101.

Mandatory car insurance coverage in Georgia

Liability Insurance

Liability coverage is insurance that pays another party for property damage or personal injury when you are the at-fault driver in a car accident. Without this coverage, the other driver could come after you personally and sue you for their damages. Since many people simply could not afford to pay a large judgment against them in a serious car accident, the state of Georgia requires every driver to carry liability insurance. The minimum amounts of liability insurance required in Georgia are $25,000 for personal injury to one person injured in an accident, $50,000 if more than one person is injured in the same accident, and $25,000 to cover property damage.

Another benefit of liability insurance is that the insurance company will provide a lawyer to represent you if you are sued and either settle with the other party or defend you in court. Keep in mind that if a judgment exceeds the limits of your policy, you may be stuck paying for the excess personally. While the minimum 25/50/25 coverage may be enough to cover most minor accidents, if you are involved in an accident with an expensive car or one that causes serious injuries, these minimum dollar amounts may not be enough to cover the other person's damages. You may want to consider buying coverage above the required minimums, even as high as $100,000 for injuries to one person or $250,000 for all people injured in an accident, and $50,000 in property damage. Purchasing greater coverage is obviously more expensive, so you have to consider what you can afford to pay in premiums and how important it is to protect your income and assets against a large judgment in case of a serious accident.

Optional car insurance coverage you may want to consider

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

Even though liability insurance is required by law, not everyone obeys the law and purchases insurance. In Georgia, more than one of every ten drivers on the road right now is uninsured. If one of these drivers hits you, you would have to go after them personally to pay for your damages, and they likely would not have the assets to pay a large judgment. However, if you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, then you can make a claim with your insurance company when the other driver is uninsured, or if the driver only carries the minimum amount which does not pay for all your damages. UM coverage can also be used when you are injured in a hit and run and cannot identify the other driver.

Adding UM/UIM coverage to your policy is typically not very expensive. Consider adding UM coverage in the same amount as the liability coverage you carry. If you do need to make a UM claim, keep in mind that just because the claim is with "your" insurance company, their adjustors and lawyers will likely still try to minimize their payout to you. Legal advice and representation from an attorney can help make sure you get the full amount of compensation due in a UM or UIM claim.

Physical damage insurance

Liability insurance only covers damage you cause to another driver. What about damage to your own car that is not the fault of another driver? There are two types of insurance you can buy to cover your own vehicle property damage. One is collision insurance, which will pay for your own property damage when you are at-fault in an accident. The other type of physical damage insurance is called comprehensive coverage, and it covers damage due to reasons other than collision, such as theft, vandalism, fire or flood, if you hit a deer, etc.

Even though physical damage insurance is not required by law, it may be required by the bank or finance company if you are financing your car, or by the leasing company if you are leasing. The amounts of coverage they require may or may not be negotiable, but either way you will need to factor in the costs of insurance as part of the costs of car ownership.

Raise your deductible to lower your premium

As mentioned earlier, buying more coverage is costlier, but one way you can adjust the cost of your premium is by raising or lowering your deductible. The deductible is the amount you must pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. For instance, if you have a $250 deductible, then you have to pay for the first $250 in damage to your vehicle, and the insurance company will cover the rest of your loss, up to the policy limit. One way to lower your premium would be to have a higher deductible, such as $500. You'll pay less in premiums, but be prepared to shell out $500 if you damage your vehicle in anything other than the most minor incident.

Call KWFDM for Help with Vital Georgia Car Insurance Matters

If you have been hurt in a car accident and find yourself needing to deal with the insurance company to get your medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other expenses covered, call Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC at 404-460-0101. We provide strong, effective representation to get you the full amount of compensation you need and deserve.

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