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Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in Georgia? Get the Facts 

A man sits on the curb examining damage to his car from a hit and run driver - cheap car insurance in Georgia.

As you drive down I-75 in Atlanta with your insurance policy in tow, have you ever wondered about the insurance of the other drivers on the highway? As they zoom by you or cut into your lane, have you considered they may not be insured? Or if they are insured, they may not have enough insurance to cover the full costs of an accident. 

You probably don’t think much about that until you get sideswiped in an accident. At that point, you may have a few choice words about what happened. But when you find out the other party is uninsured or underinsured, you’ll also be stuck with the unexpected cost of damages. That is, unless you have been proactive in securing uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. 

Some drivers increase their coverage so they are fully protected instead of only having minimum liability. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have drivers with no coverage at all. That’s right. They are breaking the law by not having even minimum liability. So, when they collide with you, your main recourse is having uninsured motorist coverage (UM). This type of policy protects you by paying for your injuries and damages if you get into an accident with a driver who doesn’t have any coverage. It also helps with some other situations. 

As a Georgia driver, it’s a good idea to know what this type of policy is, so you can decide if it’s the right fit for you. 

Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage 

So, what is uninsured motorist coverage, how does it work, and do you need it? Your insurer may have offered you this protection when you signed up for your insurance policy, but they may not have explained what it was all about. You may not even know who’s considered an underinsured driver. 

Uninsured and underinsured are more than just insurance terms. These terms get thrown around a lot, and it’s important to know what they mean. If you get into an accident caused by either of these types of drivers (or a hit-and-run driver), you stand a good chance of experiencing some financial losses. 

Underinsured refers to a person who has some liability insurance but not enough to pay for all the damages that commonly happen when you get into a wreck. For example, if the person has the $25,000 minimum coverage on bodily injuries, but the accident results in more extensive costs related to an injury you’ve suffered, you’re stuck footing the bill. 

An uninsured driver, as you may guess, is a person without any car insurance at all. 

If you’re like most insured people, you didn’t get all the details about adding uninsured insurance to your policy. Your insurance agent may have skimmed over this option without emphasizing its importance. But for the cheap cost, this coverage is more than worth the additional cost. 

You can select from two types of uninsured motorist coverages. 

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury 

If you get into an accident with someone driving without insurance protection, you won’t need to lose your cool because your UM will protect you. Without this protection, you would be scrambling to figure out how to cover the costs yourself. 

Bodily injury protection covers all the injury expenses that happen because of an accident. Expenses may include the following: 

  • Medical bills, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, ambulance transportation, and physical therapy 
  • Loss of income from missing work due to injuries 

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage 

Another unfortunate result of an auto accident is damage to your personal property. In other words, your vehicle could be damaged badly enough to not be drivable. The property damage part of an uninsured policy has you covered. 

You may be wondering what happens to items in your car that get damaged. You might be transporting your laptop when an uninsured vehicle collides with you. This may cause less of a financial problem if you have UM. The policy will even cover damage to your personal belongings. 

Now, you may think, “What if I get hit by a driver who flees the scene?” A hit-and-run accident also falls under this category of coverage. 

A car up on the racks for repairs after being involved in an accident - cheap car insurance in Georgia.

How Much Does It Cost? 

For the protection, UM is cheap. It costs between $50-$75 per year. The cost is dependent on individual factors, such as your age, gender and driving history, as well as the limits you choose. Purchasing it in conjunction with an auto insurance policy will be cheaper. 

Legal Requirements for Auto Insurance in Georgia 

Georgia state law mandates that all drivers carry the mandatory minimum liability insurance coverage. This protects you from legal problems if you are responsible for an accident that ends in bodily injury or property damage to others. The minimum liability insurance requirements in Georgia are as follows: 

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury/$50,000 for two or more people per accident. 
  • $25,000 for property damage. 

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Mandatory in Georgia? 

Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Georgia. The only law regarding insurance is that you carry a policy that meets or exceeds the minimum liability protection. Your insurer must at least give you the option to add uninsured coverage to your current policy, though, which is something you may want to consider.  

The number of people who drive without insurance in Georgia is estimated at around 18%, the 7th highest state in the country. This makes uninsured drivers a problem you need to learn how to protect yourself from on the road.  

Advantages of Having Uninsured Motorist Coverage 

There are advantages to having a policy in place that extends beyond mandatory minimum liability insurance. Securing an uninsured motorist policy can help you out tremendously because of the following factors tied to driving in Georgia. 

Rate of Accidents in Georgia 

If you live in Georgia, you know how crowded the roads can get, especially in the summer with all the vacationers. Many motorists will be on the highways (some without insurance). Unfortunately, the average number of accidents per year in Georgia exceeds the national average. 

Number of Uninsured Drivers 

Even though insurance is required to drive anywhere in the United States, it shouldn’t be surprising that not everyone obeys the law. Some people take their chances operating a motor vehicle without insurance. 

With the many uninsured vehicles on Georgia roads, you risk getting into a collision with someone who doesn’t have any insurance. 

Cost of an Accident 

States require drivers to carry liability insurance. This protection will at least ensure that if you cause an accident, there will be some money to pay for any injuries and damages caused. But if an accident happens to you involving an uninsured driver, you may have to shell out the funds for your own medical bills and repair costs. This may cause undue financial hardship for you. 

What to Consider When Deciding on Uninsured Motorist Coverage 

An agent can help you select the proper options to protect yourself financially. However, there are a few factors to consider when purchasing your policy addition. 

One thing to keep in mind is that uninsured and underinsured motorist protection are two different things. Underinsured drivers have a policy, but it’s not enough to cover all the damages that might happen in an accident. You can purchase a policy for each type of coverage and have peace of mind. Talk to your agent about stacked and unstacked options if you’re considering purchasing coverage for underinsured motorists. 

Stacked Policies 

There is somewhat of a “best of both worlds” approach to consider. When you select the stacked option for uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) policies, you can combine the coverage limits for multiple vehicles if they are insured under the same policy. 

For example, if you have two vehicles with $50,000 in UM/UIM coverage each, you may be able to obtain up to $100,000 in coverage if you stack the two policies together. 

Unstacked Policies 

You can also purchase UM/UIM policies that are unstacked. In this case, the policy limits apply per each vehicle insured under the policy. For example, if your policy has two vehicles, each with $50,000 in UM/UIM coverage, and an accident occurs involving one of the vehicles where the other driver is at fault and uninsured, you would be eligible for up to $50,000 in coverage for that vehicle. 

Get the Best Uninsured Motorist Coverage 

Now that you know the truth about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, you can talk to your insurance agent about the best policy for you. At Southern Harvest, we can help you determine how much it would cost to add either type, stacked or unstacked, to your plan to protect you and your family against uninsured and underinsured drivers. 

When you’re ready to get an affordable rate on your car insurance in Georgia, reach out to our friendly team at Southern Harvest Insurance. You can get a quick and easy auto insurance quote online. If you’d prefer to speak with someone directly, call us at 877-477-8256 or find a Southern Harvest Insurance office near you.