Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage: A Must-Read for Georgia Drivers
Driving on Georgia roads comes with its share of risks, one of which is encountering an uninsured or underinsured driver. While we all hope for safe travels, accidents happen, and the aftermath can be especially complicated when the at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance. This is where Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage becomes essential. Let’s delve into what Georgia drivers should know about UM coverage.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist coverage is available to be purchased as a part of your auto insurance policy that steps in to protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who either has no insurance or whose insurance is insufficient to cover the damages they’ve caused. In Georgia, this coverage is not mandatory but opting for it is a wise decision.
UM coverage can come in two forms:
– Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): This covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from bodily injuries to you or your passengers.
– Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This helps with repair costs or the replacement of your vehicle and other property damage.
Why Do Georgia Drivers Need UM Coverage?
Consider this: The Insurance Information Institute indicates a significant percentage of drivers on the roads are uninsured. When an accident occurs with such a driver, without UM coverage, you could be left to handle medical bills and car repairs out of your pocket.
“Protect yourself first. If you drive on Georgia roadways, purchasing added-on (stacking) UM coverage is essential to make sure that you are definitely insured in the event you are involved in a motor vehicle accident.”
How Does UM Coverage Work in Georgia?
In Georgia, UM coverage is designed to fill the gap between the at-fault party’s insurance (if any) and the actual cost of your damages, up to the limits of your own policy. There are two types of UM coverage available in Georgia:
- Added-On (Stacking) Coverage: This type of coverage allows you to “add on” your UM coverage to the liability limits of the at-fault driver. For example, if you have $50,000 in UM coverage and the at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage, you could potentially receive up to $75,000 for an accident.
- Reduced-by (Non-Stacking) Coverage: This is often less expensive and provides coverage only for the amount by which your UM limits exceed the at-fault driver’s liability limits.
The Benefits of Having UM Coverage
– Peace of Mind: Knowing that you’re covered, regardless of the other driver’s insurance status, can provide significant peace of mind.
– Protection Against Financial Loss: UM coverage helps protect you from incurring major financial losses due to medical bills or car repairs.
– Flexibility in Coverage: You have control over the limits of your UM coverage, which means you can choose how much protection you want (Zach recommends a minimum of $250,000.00 in coverage)
How to Use Your UM Coverage in Georgia
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist in Georgia, the process generally involves:
- Filing a Claim: Notify your insurer about the accident and express your intent to file a UM claim as soon as possible after the motor vehicle accident.
- Proof of Loss: You’ll need to provide evidence of the other driver’s uninsured status and the damages you sustained.
- Negotiation: In some cases, there may be a negotiation process with your insurer to arrive at a settlement amount.
- Legal Action: If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, you may need to pursue legal action.
Having a skilled personal injury lawyer is important to make sure your coverage and claim are protected.
While we can’t control the actions of other drivers, we can certainly prepare for the unexpected. Uninsured Motorist coverage offers a layer of financial security that can make all the difference in the event of an accident. Georgia drivers should seriously consider this coverage as part of their overall insurance strategy.
At Meeks Impact Law, we understand the complexities of auto insurance claims involving uninsured motorists. If you’ve been in an accident and are struggling with an UM claim, our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process and help safeguard your rights.
Need Assistance? Contact Meeks Impact Law for a consultation to discuss your coverage so we can help you protect yourself and your family on the road.