Nobody wants to experience a car accident in Georgia, but we know they are a reality. According to data from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were nearly 400,000 vehicle crashes during the last full reporting year. Out of those crashes, there were:
- 1,430 fatalities
- 19,405 serious injuries
Most vehicle crashes only result in property damage or minor injuries, but even minor injuries can lead to major medical expenses. For major injuries, the costs can rise into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That is why vehicle insurance is vital in Georgia. In fact, it is required by law.
Minimum Requirements in Georgia
Confusion is the only way to describe the aftermath of a car crash. The most important thing is to seek medical attention for any injuries. You will then have to deal with insurance claims.
Georgia is a ‘fault’ state when it comes to who is financially liable for a car accident. This means that the person who is at fault in a crash is responsible for any property damage or personal injuries resulting from the crash.
Under Georgia law, the following insurance is necessary for anyone who owns a vehicle:
- $25,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident you cause (this includes a passenger, another driver, motorcyclist, or pedestrian).
- $50,000 for total injuries or deaths of more than one person in an accident you cause.
- $25,000 for property damage resulting from an accident you cause.
Will Additional Coverage Help?
Many people choose to add additional coverage above the minimum. The basic coverage mentioned above only includes medical bills, property damage, and other costs up to those limits. Once those limits have been reached, an at-fault driver is personally on the hook for the costs.
- Policies that go above the minimums can protect drivers in the event a serious crash occurs.
The liability coverage also does not include the cost that the at-fault driver may incur for injuries or damage to their vehicle. You can also purchase medical payments coverage that covers the driver’s medical bills as well as collision coverage to cover the costs of vehicle repairs or replacement.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage must be offered by insurance companies in Georgia. This insurance covers any injuries to your or your passengers if you are hit by a driver does not have enough liability insurance or has no coverage at all. If you choose to purchase this coverage, the minimums are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for injuries.
You can also buy uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) to cover damage to your vehicle if you are struck by an uninsured driver.
Consequences of not Having Insurance
Not having Georgia car accident insurance can hurt you in more than one way. You will be on the line for any costs associated with an accident you cause if you are uninsured. You are opened up to personal injury lawsuits by the injured party.
If you are caught driving without insurance, you will face a driver’s license suspension. If there is any lapse in coverage, the Georgia DMV will know. A lapse that is taken care of within 30 days will result in a $25 fine. If your insurance lapse is more than 30 days, you will receive a “Notice of Pending Suspension” from the DMV.
To get out from under a suspension at this point, you will have to pay a $25 fee and a $60 reinstatement fee.
- Driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor offense.
If you have been in an accident, it is vital that you seek help from a car accident attorney in Georgia who is experienced at working with insurance companies. Just because you have insurance does not mean that they will offer a fair settlement.