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What Are Georgia’s Uninsured Motorist Laws?

By Butler Prather LLP on June 13, 2019

Georgia does not require uninsured motorist insurance coverage. When a driver is not at fault in an accident with an uninsured vehicle, this insurance provides protection. Therefore, many Georgia drivers carry this additional coverage on their auto insurance policies. Most policies limit the coverage to $25,000 per person and a total of $50,000 for the entire accident.

Uninsured motorist

Uninsured Motorists and Underinsured Motorists

Uninsured motorists (UM) carry no insurance, or the insurance provider denies coverage because of the circumstances of the accident.

Underinsured motorists carry insurance, but the coverage is insufficient to cover the total cost of damages in the accident. The underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) pays the difference between what the underinsured driver’s policy pays, and the total damages, depending on the policy details.

UM and UIM provide financial relief in car accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers. Without purchasing these policies, drivers hit by uninsured or underinsured drivers often pay out of pocket for their expenses related to the accident.

What UM/UIM Covers in Georgia

When a crash causes injuries or damage, the primary option for financial recovery is the other driver’s liability coverage. Georgia law states drivers legally must carry minimum liability coverage.

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage.

Unfortunately, approximately 10 percent of drivers in Georgia never had, or dropped their coverage. So, they lack appropriate legal levels of vehicle insurance coverage. Many Georgia drivers with insurance only carry the minimum required amounts. Serious car accidents, especially with multiple occupants in the vehicle or several vehicles, find losses quickly far exceed those limits.

What UM/UIM Protection Covers

UM/UIM provides vital protection. Many situations leave filing a claim on UM/UIM policies as a last resort to recover damages.

  • Another driver who carries no insurance on their vehicle usually does not have the personal resources to cover injury and property damages.
  • Drivers who carry minimum insurance levels cannot provide enough to compensate for all the injuries or property damage in an accident.
  • Hit-and-run accidents where the identity of the at-fault driver remains undiscovered fall under UM/UIM policy coverage.
  • A driver with UM/UIM coverage claims on their own policy when hit while walking or cycling, not just in their vehicle.
  • The UM/UIM coverage includes recovery payable to not just the owner of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle owner’s spouse can receive compensation, if they live together in the same household.
  • Coverage extends to relatives of the policy owner, and their spouse, such as children or stepchildren, who reside in the same household.
  • The UM/UIM covers anyone using the insured vehicle with express or implied consent.
  • Coverage also extends to guests riding as passengers in the insured vehicle.

Georgia has two kinds of UM/UIM coverage: Non-stacking and Stacking.

  • Non-Stacking: Traditional or reduction non-stacking coverage allows policy holders to use this coverage only when the UM/UIM coverage exceeds the liability limits of the at-fault driver. The total amount of coverage available reduces, or offsets by, that other insurance. That means that in underinsured situations, the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage pays first, and only the balance of the UM/UIM coverage remains available.
  • Stacking: Add-on or excess coverage remains potentially available over whatever the at-fault driver carries. This means that in underinsured situations, the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage pays first, and all the UM/ UIM coverage remains available to the policy holder.

The Georgia Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists Law Helps Recover Damages

In Georgia, the law requires every insurance company to offer UM/UIM when drivers purchase their insurance. So, many drivers carry this insurance, without knowing about it. Unless they specifically reject the coverage in writing, UM/UIM remains a part of their insurance coverage. The Declarations page of any vehicle insurance policy outlines those details.

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Posted in: Car Accidents

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