Under Georgia law, all state resident drivers are required to have minimum liability insurance coverage to be able to drive legally. In Georgia, the minimum amount of insurance every driver is required to carry is at least $25,000 per person in each auto accident and $50,000 total per auto accident. This is a mandatory amount of insurance that covers personal injuries and property damage that a driver causes another person to suffer up to the limit of the policy.
Sadly, not all Georgia drivers meet the proper insurance liability minimums or drive without car insurance at all. Some of these drivers may have multiple speeding tickets or prior accidents and are unable to afford the high premiums from insurance companies. Some may just be a risky driver or just chose to disobey the law. Many other drivers only purchase the bare minimum in coverage and take the risk of not having enough insurance to pay for all injuries and damages they could cause.
To top that, there are thousands of out-of state drivers that drive through the state every day, who may also not have any insurance coverage or who carry the minimum requirement. Like the state of Georgia, each state regulates how much automobile insurance its residents are required to carry. There are states, unlike Georgia, who do not mandate that its resident drivers buy auto liability insurance. Georgia is among the many states that have tried to build steps to protect its residents from the horrible consequences of being the victim of an accident due to an uninsured or underinsured driver. Georgia laws allow drivers to purchase “uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage” through their own auto insurance liability policies.
What is Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is an add-on to a standard auto insurance policy that protects the policy holder when they are in an accident with another driver without auto coverage. Underinsured Motorist coverage is another added clause within the auto policy that protects the policy holder when the other driver has insufficient coverage to pay for the total amount of damages that he or she has caused. For the most part, a policy holder’s underinsured motorist coverage compensates anyone that is not at fault for the remaining total of damages after the other driver’s coverage has been used. There have been instances where the coverage has been even larger as well.
Uninsured Motorist coverage is issued by the driver’s own insurance carrier as an added or supplemental piece of coverage. The policy holder does pay an extra premium for UM coverage. All insurance companies are obligated by the state of Georgia to offer policy holders UM coverage at the time that the driver purchases liability insurance. If a purchasing driver opts out of purchasing the UM coverage, they must do so in writing.
There are two types of UM coverage. The first is excess or added-on coverage. Excess or added-on coverage gives allowance for the policy holder to collect from their own insurer whatever their amount of UM insurance coverage is and as well as the at fault driver’s insurance. Traditional or reduced coverage will only pay the difference between the UM coverage purchased by the policy holder after the at-fault driver’s coverage is exhausted. The policy holder has the option of which type of UM coverage to purchase. In Georgia, the default selection is excess coverage. Only if a policy holder specifically elects traditional or reduced coverage will they receive it. Georgia recommends that its residents chose excess or add-on UM coverage over that of reduced or traditional UM coverage. Insurance companies are not allowed to cancel UM coverage unless the policy holder has more than three at-fault accidents or UM claims within a 36 month period.
What is Covered Under UM for Georgia Drivers?
The bulk of what is covered under a UM clause is determined by the policy itself. Generally, uninsured motorist coverage will compensate the policy holder for medical expenses, lost wages, disfigurement, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. If the policy holder is not driving their car or is a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, they are covered by their own UM policy. If the policy holder is hit by a vehicle while walking as a pedestrian, their UM coverage will apply if the other driver has no insurance or flees the scene. The insurance company that issues the policy with UM coverage pays only if the accident was caused by another individual and only if that person has no insurance or has insufficient insurance coverage for the damages.
In the state of Georgia, a UM policy holder must put their UM insurance carrier on notice as quickly as possible after an accident. Failing to alert them promptly could cancel out your UM coverage. The deadline for notices to file UM claims depends on each specific policy document. The policy holder has to comply with all insurance carrier’s requests for recorded statements and your cooperation.
Reach Out to a Skilled Georgia Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Legal Options
Dealing with a UM claim can be a complicated and overwhelming process. If you or a loved one have recently been in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should contact a skilled Douglasville auto accident attorney. The attorneys at The Law Office of John B. Jackson can help you take the next steps necessary to protect your rights and ensure your best chance at proper compensation. Our legal team has years of experience helping Georgia residents with their auto accident claims and cases. Our law office has the proper resources needed to handle tough insurance companies. We also promise that through our legal representation you will always be treated as a person, not just a case number. Let us help you get through this complex legal process. Please contact our office today for a free consultation with one of our competent Georgia auto accident lawyers.