Just in case you don’t know this, you should if you live in the state of Georgia. Everyone must have car insurance.
If you’re a newbie just arriving in Georgia from another state or out of country, one of the first things you will want to know is that you need car insurance. If you think no one will know whether you have it or not, think again. In 2003, Georgia made an arrangement where the state police have access to the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety database. This information clearly shows the police who has expired insurance or no insurance.
Now you may be thinking that if you happen to be carrying an insurance card and have an accident that this is proof enough. It isn’t, and can’t be used as proof of valid insurance. Unfortunately, having the card could mean the driver is trying to pull a fast one on the police. While the vast majority of car owners would be honest enough to actually “have” the required insurance, there will always be exceptions to the general rule.
Now that you know you “must” have insurance, keep one other thing in mind; the Georgia liability limits. That means you will need $25,000 per person for body injury; $50,000 per accident/occurrence; and $25,000 property damage per incident. This insurance covers crashes where the insurance holder is at fault. In other words, if you have car insurance and you were at fault for an accident, then your insurance pays the freight.
Georgia has mandatory apportionment of liability. While it is often the case that one person is deemed entirely at fault, there are situations where one side will only pay a portion of the damages due to comparative negligence. Georgia is not a pure comparative negligence state, as you have to prove that the other side is more than 50% negligent in order to recover anything. If you are 50% or more at fault, you recover nothing.
What does your insurance cover? The collision portion covers the actual physical damage to the owner’s car. Not to make things any more complex than they already sound, but collision insurance isn’t required under Georgia law. It is, however, mandated by most lending and leasing companies. Where this may cause you a problem is if your car is older than the hills you might not elect to insure it since the coverage does not exceed the value of your beater. For newer model vehicles, you may want to opt for comprehensive coverage.
One other form of insurance you may want to consider is uninsured motorist coverage. This offers you extra protection against damage to your car and passengers caused by uninsured drivers and insured drivers. While some people consider this to be an extra expense they don’t want to incur, consider the expenses you will face if you are involved in a collision with an uninsured motorist. You would be responsible to pay for all the damages because the other person could not. Uninsured motorist coverage, in most cases, may be added to your liability coverage in the event your damages exceed that of the liable party.
Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.