Drivers in Georgia are required to have minimum amounts of liability car insurance to pay for any injuries and damage they cause in an accident. If someone crashed into you, you would normally seek to get compensation from their insurer. However, not every driver complies with the law and many don’t have the necessary motorist coverage.
Even when a driver has insurance, you may not be fully compensated if your injuries and property damage are significant. That’s because many drivers opt to get only the minimum amount of coverage. The only way you can get all the compensation you deserve in these circumstances is to draw on your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Why Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage is a Good Idea
Under Georgia’s laws, drivers are required by law to have at least:
- $25,000 in liability insurance per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 in liability insurance per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 in liability insurance per accident for property damage
However, many drivers never get this coverage. Some allow their policies to lapse. Others have these minimums but then go on to cause an accident which results in horrific injuries and substantial property damage. If there are multiple people in your vehicle, the losses will likely exceed these liability limits.
All insurers in Georgia are required to offer UM/UIM coverage. Some people opt not to get this coverage to save money. They only realize how valuable it is when they get seriously hurt. However, others have it without even realizing it. If you’re not sure, have an attorney look over your policy to see exactly what you are covered for. UM/UIM insurance covers a wide range of situations including a crash involving:
- A driver without insurance
- A driver with insufficient insurance
- A hit-and-run driver
- A driver who hits you while you are walking or riding a bicycle
Your policy should also cover your spouse if they live with you as well as children and stepchildren residing in your household. Anyone who is driving your vehicle with your consent and guests who are riding as passengers should also be covered. If you want to ensure your loved ones can get compensation in the event of an accident, you should get UM/UIM motorist coverage.
Ask a Georgia Lawyer: Are There Different Types of UM/UIM Coverage?
In Georgia, you can choose between two types of UM/UIM coverage: non-stacking and stacking. Non-stacking insurance is also known as traditional or reduction coverage. You can turn to this only if it exceeds the at-fault driver’s limits. Let’s illustrate this with an example.
Let’s say you have $30,000 in UM/UIM coverage and the at-fault driver has the same amount in bodily liability coverage. With traditional UM/UIM insurance, if your injury losses exceeded $30,000, you would not be able to get compensation under your policy. However, if you had $40,000 in non-stacking coverage, you would subtract the other driver’s coverage from yours, leaving you with an additional $10,000 in available coverage. If the at-fault driver had no insurance or could not be identified, you would have access to the full amount of your UM/UIM coverage. You would also have access if their coverage was reduced or used up by other claims.
Stacking insurance is also known as add-on or excess coverage. It means the amount of coverage you buy is available above whatever amount the other person has. Again, let’s use an example. In this case, both you and the at-fault driver have $25,000 in coverage. However, if your losses exceed the driver’s limit, you would be able to collect up to an additional $25,000.
As you can see, you will get higher coverage limits if you stack your insurance. However, this will cost you more so you will have to work out whether you can afford it.
Contact the Experienced Attorneys At Athens DUI Lawyers Today
If you get involved in a vehicle accident in Georgia, you need to seek legal assistance from Athens DUI Lawyers. Our attorneys can help you to deal with the other driver’s insurance company, if they have one, as well as your UM/UIM insurer. We’ll review your policy documents and ensure that you notify your insurer within the time limits they have set out. We’ll also advise you that you don’t do anything to jeopardize your claims.
We have years of experience in dealing with car accident cases in Athens and elsewhere in Georgia. We know the challenges clients experience when they get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and we know how to get them the compensation they deserve. If you want to collect damages after your crash, contact us for a consultation and let us guide and support you.