Dec 15, 2023 Michael M. Day Law Firm

What You Need to Know About Car Insurance in Georgia

Given the number of ads we see for car insurance in Georgia, you might think we’d all be experts on the subject. However, insurance requirements, policy coverage, and other issues remain very confusing to most of us.

Insurance is something that impacts your situation if you’ve been injured, but it is also an important part of your financial picture if you own or drive a vehicle. So we thought it would be helpful to review some of the most important things to know about car insurance in Georgia.

Georgia is an At-Fault State for Insurance

Some states, including our neighbor to the south, have a no-fault insurance system. Drivers are required to pay for personal injury protection insurance that covers their own losses in a car accident regardless of who was at fault.

Georgia operates on a different system. The owner of a vehicle is generally held responsible for damage caused by that vehicle so long as it is being driven with the owner’s permission. So drivers are required to pay for insurance not to cover their own medical needs but the medical expenses and repair costs of those they harm in an accident.

Distinguishing Between Different Types of Coverage

Policies offered by car insurance companies can protect you against different types of losses with different types of coverage. You will pay more for each type of coverage that you add, but you gain protection if additional things go wrong.

  • Liability coverage pays others if someone driving your car gets in an accident and causes injuries or property damage. Georgia law requires you to carry liability coverage that is great enough to pay for $25,000 in property damage and $50,000 for bodily injuries to those hurt in an accident ($25,000 per person). However, given the high cost of medical care and the price of a new vehicle, it is easy to see that these minimum levels might not be enough. If an accident victim’s injuries or damage exceed insurance coverage, then the vehicle owner can be held personally liable for the remaining costs.
  • Collision coverage pays to repair your vehicle if you are in an accident. While Georgia law does not require you to pay for this type of coverage, you might be required by your lender to carry collision coverage if you are still making payments on the vehicle.
  • Comprehensive coverage covers the costs of repairing damage caused by something other than a collision. This might include storm damage, vandalism, or fire.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays for your losses if you are injured or suffer damages caused by a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all the costs. This coverage is optional in Georgia, but with the number of uninsured and underinsured drivers on the road, it is a good idea to have it. For that reason, Georgia law provides that this type of coverage is included unless you specifically opt out of it.
  • Medical Payment or MedPay coverage is a form of health insurance that pays for your medical costs if you are in an accident. With this coverage, you don’t need to wait for a finding of fault before your expenses are covered. If you receive reimbursement from another driver later, you may have to in turn reimburse your MedPay provider.
  • Umbrella coverage is an extra layer of coverage added to your auto and homeowner’s coverage in case of losses over your regular policy maximum.

In addition to choosing different types of coverage, you may have the option to stack insurance policies. This can enable you to combine the policy limits of two or more policies to claims from the same incident. For instance, if you have two cars and one is involved in an accident, you might be able to combine the coverage for each vehicle and use it for the incident involving one vehicle.

Car Insurance Companies are in Business to Make Money

In commercials, car insurance representatives appear supportive and helpful. And many representatives are extremely friendly. But they work for a company that is in business to make money. Companies make the most money by collecting insurance premiums and paying as little as possible for claims.

That means that you need to be very careful about what you say to insurance company investigators and adjusters, particularly those from the other driver’s insurance company. They are looking for reasons to deny your claim for damages. They will seek to show that you were at fault for the accident or the severity of your injuries. They can take your words out of context and use them against you in creative ways.

This is one reason why it is crucial to work with an attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been injured in an accident. Your lawyer can provide advice about what to say and what to avoid to protect your right to recovery. Your attorney can handle communications on your behalf so that you don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing. Instead, you can focus on healing and rebuilding your life.

Michael M. Day Law Firm, LLC Understands How to Succeed Against Insurance Companies

Car insurance provides an important safety net for dealing with our high-speed motorized society. To gain the protection and benefits that insurance can provide, you need to purchase the right coverage for your situation. If you are filing a claim, whether it is with your own company or a company that provided a policy for another driver, you need to understand that they will generally offer far less than your claim is worth, so you should know the full value of your claim and how to negotiate for the full and fair amount.

At Michael M. Day Law Firm, LLC, we understand the tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying claims, and we know how to overcome those tactics to succeed in gaining fair compensation for our clients. If you’ve been injured and are struggling with insurance companies, contact us to learn more about the ways we can help.