Whether you were recently the victim of a car wreck with an uninsured driver or wondering if you should invest in uninsured motorist coverage, we have compiled this guide to uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia for your reference and convenience.
Of course, the experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys at MG Law are always available to answer your questions and provide further advice and guidance.
What Happens If the Person at Fault in an Accident Has No Insurance?
If you were recently a crash victim and learned the driver responsible does not have insurance, you may wonder, What happens if the at-fault driver is not insured? This is a valid question and concern with no one-size-fits-all answer.
Although Georgia requires drivers to maintain minimum insurance coverage, some operate motor vehicles without insurance. You generally have limited options if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. You may be able to sue the responsible driver. Still, in reality, if they choose not to maintain auto insurance, there is a good possibility that they will not have enough assets to cover your damages.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance. In other words, if the other driver is at fault for the accident but does not have liability insurance coverage, your uninsured motorist policy will kick in to compensate you for your injuries and damage repair to your vehicle. It is an additional policy on top of your liability and property damage policy.
You may also hear the term “underinsured motorist coverage” or hear both uninsured and underinsured discussed together. Underinsured coverage is essentially the same but protects you if you are in a collision with a driver that causes injury or damage above their policy benefit maximums. Your underinsured coverage would kick in to cover any outstanding costs.
Scenarios Where Uninsured Motorist Coverage Can Help
By now, you know that uninsured motorist coverage can protect you when you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. However, it can help under several circumstances, including:
- The at-fault driver is uninsured. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs or replacement.
- The at-fault driver is underinsured. Your uninsured motorist policy may contain underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), which will help cover the difference in cost of what the at-fault driver’s policy pays for and any remaining bills that exceed their policy limits.
- Pedestrian accident victim. Your policy may cover compensation for your medical bills and lost wages if you are a pedestrian hit by an uninsured motorist.
- Hit-and-run victim. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, your uninsured motorist policy will cover the cost of your injuries and damages instead of the hit-and-run driver’s insurance.
- You are a passenger. Uninsured motorist policies typically cover you if you are a passenger in another vehicle involved in an accident where the at-fault driver is uninsured.
Under Georgia law, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage applies not only to you but also to other family members residing with you, including:
- Your spouse or children,
- Relatives living with you,
- A house guest who is a passenger in your car, and
- Anyone driving your vehicle with your consent.
Suppose you or a family member was recently involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver. In that case, we can help you seek the compensation you deserve through insurance coverage, civil complaints, and more.
What Are the Liability Insurance Requirements in Georgia?
Almost every state requires drivers to maintain minimum insurance coverage, including liability coverage, if they are at fault for an accident.
In Georgia, the minimum insurance coverage is as follows:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage;
- $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage; and
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage.
Remember, these are only the minimum coverage amounts, and drivers can choose to purchase more coverage.
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in Georgia?
You are not legally required to buy uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia. Uninsured coverage is added protection for policyholders, not a requirement.
Although not required by Georgia law, some lenders (e.g., banks) will require you to obtain uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage before you can borrow money to purchase the car.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?
Generally, your uninsured motorist policy will cover any expense that the at-fault party’s insurance would, or should, have covered if they had insurance.
It usually covers the same expenses that your liability insurance would cover for another driver if you were at fault for the crash. Reading your uninsured motorist policy to determine what it covers and how much is essential. Uninsured motorist policies may include compensation for things like:
- Medical bills (e.g., emergency room treatment, surgery, and physical therapy);
- Lost wages and earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium;
- Property damage repair or replacement; and
- Wrongful death.
Every carrier and policy is different, so reading the fine print of your benefit coverage is crucial.
Is It Worth It?
Like other types of insurance, you pay for uninsured motorist coverage for the worst-case scenario. You may never need it. So, a prime question arises, Is it worth it? And like any insurance, you have to analyze the cost-benefit for you and your family. You are not required to have it; it is extra assurance that you are covered in the worst-case scenario when an uninsured driver hits you. We strongly encourage you to purchase at least a small uninsured motorist policy. It can be invaluable later.
Georgia Uninsured Motorist Coverage Lawyers
MG Law’s attorneys have been selected to the Thomas Reuters Super Lawyers List and the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40. We are here to help you get your life back! If you’ve been in an auto accident, contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling (770) 988-5252 or through our contact form.