Car insurance protects drivers and passengers in case of collision and is required in Georgia.
In 2015, there were more than 385,000 collisions on Georgia’s roads, resulting in over 1,400 fatalities and 19,000 serious injuries.
Georgia’s car insurance laws rely on what’s known as a tort system. At least one driver must be held responsible or at-fault, after the car accident happens.
Georgia Car Insurance Minimum Requirements
Georgia auto insurance law requires all drivers to carry at least the minimum in car insurance coverage:
Bodily injury liability
- $25,000 per person and;
- $50,000 per occurrence
Property damage liability
- $25,000 per occurrence
This allows drivers to be financially responsible for any damage caused on the road.
Bodily injury insurance pays for injuries to other people when you are at fault for a crash. Property damage liability insurance pays for property damage when you are at fault.
Optional Car Insurance Coverage
You may also buy additional insurance that is not required by the state. For example, drivers should consider whether they want the following:
Physical damage insurance
- covers damage to your own vehicle. You can get either “comprehensive” physical damage insurance, which pays for vandalism, theft, or fire damage, or you can get collision coverage. Your lender might require physical damage coverage
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- compensates for your losses in case the other driver is at fault for the accident but does not have insurance
Drivers are strongly encouraged to buy these insurance policies as they can provide needed benefits after a crash with an uninsured driver.
Georgia is Considered a “Fault” Accident State
After a collision, you will need to pay for repairs to your vehicle and for medical benefits. Unlike other states, Georgia has declined to adopt “no-fault” insurance laws. Instead, it continues to follow traditional fault principles, which means that injured victims can file a claim with the insurance company for the driver who caused the collision.
Alternately, they might file a claim with their own insurance company and let them pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance carrier. Either way, the driver who struck you will be responsible for reimbursing you for your losses.
To help process your claim, you must keep detailed records. For example, remember the following:
- Keep receipts and estimates related to repairs. These will help prove your economic losses.
- If the insurance carrier claims a loss isn’t covered, ask them to pinpoint the precise language in the policy they are relying on to deny you benefits.
- Keep all correspondences with an insurance company, including letters and emails.
- If you have phone conversations, record the day and time of the call, as well as the name of the person you spoke to. You should also summarize the substance of the conversation.
- Take pictures of any damage, including bodily injuries. You will want proof of the severity of the damage.
Cooperate as best as you can with the insurance adjuster on your case. However, also realize that adjusters have an incentive to settle your claim for as little as possible. When you have suffered serious losses, you should work with a Georgia car accident lawyer to help you negotiate a settlement for your claim that fairly compensates you.
Therefore, since Georgia is a “fault” state, there are no restrictions on when you can sue or what you can sue for. By contrast, in fault states, injured motorists usually need to show that their injury is sufficiently serious before they can bring a lawsuit. They are also allowed to get pain and suffering damages only once their injury satisfies this threshold.
Additionally, Georgia has no such limitations, you can sue for compensation for your injuries, however small. This compensation can also include money for pain and suffering.
Of course, whether you should sue is a different question. By meeting with a Georgia car accident lawyer, you can analyze the following:
- The amount of your losses (such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering).
- Whether the driver who is at fault has insurance or other assets that could cover the court judgment against them should you win.
- Whether you were at fault for the accident. An injured motorist can receive the compensation provided they were less at fault than other drivers. Practically speaking, this means you can be up to 49% responsible for your accident, but not more.
Based on this analysis, you and your attorney will be able to decide whether bringing a lawsuit is a good use of your time.
Additional Information about Georgia Auto Insurance Laws
Insurance companies are in the market to make money. To accomplish this, they must garner more in premium payments than they pay out in claims. As a result, many drivers who make a claim might receive a non-renewal notice. The notice basically informs them that the insurer will not allow them to continue with their coverage, but gives them the option to get a policy that costs more money.
Georgia law protects drivers in some situations when they receive a non-renewal notice. For example, Georgia law prohibits an insurer from non-renewing you for filing a single claim if you have been with them for at least three years. This law applies even if you were at fault for the accident.
Drivers who believe they have unfairly been non-renewed have the right to request a review with the Insurance Commissioner. Request the review in writing within 15 days of receiving your non-renewal notice. You should identify in your request why you think the non-renewal is unfair.
Seek Legal Advice about Georgia Car Insurance Laws
If you feel that you are owed compensation from a car accident you should seek legal advice from one of our Georgia car accident lawyers. Fortunately, we offer injured motorists a free consultation where they can discuss their case and ask us any questions they want. To schedule yours, please reach out to us today.