Georiga Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage 101
As an injury attorney in Georgia, I see the repercussions every day that serious accidents have on people’s lives. It can be devastating to become seriously hurt in a car crash and then discover there is not adequate insurance to provide full compensation. That is why I always recommend purchasing uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage, otherwise known as UM and UIM, to protect you and your family as much as possible.
How Can Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage Protect Me?
Uninsured motorist, or UM coverage, protects you if you are injured in an accident where the at-fault driver does not have valid insurance coverage or if they do not have enough insurance coverage. This is some of the most important coverage you can buy, as an estimated 1 in 7 drivers in Georgia are uninsured. Uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage is optional coverage, therefore you must specifically request this coverage to insure that you have it to protect your family.
Underinsured motorist, or UIM coverage, comes into play when your damages exceed the available liability insurance policy. In Georgia, the smallest insurance policy you can buy is $25,000. This is known as the “minimum limits,” and many people don’t carry more insurance than this. If you’re seriously injured in an accident, you can incur $25,000 in medical bills and lost wages very easily. If you require surgery or extensive medical treatment as a result of your accident injuries, your medical bills will quickly exceed this minimum amount.
What is Stackable Insurance?
In Georgia, there are two types of underinsured motorist coverage: stackable and non-stackable also known as add on and off set policies. A stackable or add on UIM policy means that your policy “stacks” on top or is added on top of the available liability policy. For example, if you are hit by a driver who has a $25,000 minimum limits policy, and you have a $25,000 stackable or add on underinsured motorist policy, there is a total of $50,000 in insurance coverage that you can pursue.
If you have a non-stackable or off set policy, your policy does not “stack” on top of the liability policy; rather, it is subtracted from the available insurance. For example, let’s say you have a non-stackable or off set $50,000 UIM policy and you were hit by a driver with the state minimum limits of $25,000. The first $25,000 of your UIM policy is canceled out by the liability policy, and you only have a total of $50,000 available from both policies. If your non-stackable UIM policy is $25,000 and you are hit by a driver with a $25,000 minimum limits policy, you do not have any additional coverage available beyond the liability policy.
What Does UM and UIM Insurance Cover?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist claims for damages encompass the same things as a liability insurance claim, such as compensation for medical bills, reimbursement of lost wages, and a monetary award for pain and suffering. Just as it is often necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer to pursue your claim against the other driver’s insurance company, an attorney is frequently needed to handle an uninsured motorist claim as well. Some people expect their own insurance company to treat them fairly with regard to a UM or UIM claim, but unfortunately, that is is not always the case.
If you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to seek out an experienced attorney who deals with accident injury claims in Georgia every day. A good lawyer will be your advocate, whether it is to the liability insurance company or to your own insurance. You deserve compensation for the losses you endured as the result of another person’s negligence.
Make sure you purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Buy as much as you can afford. I usually recommend purchasing $100,000 or more in UM and UIM coverage. Hopefully you will never need this coverage, but if you are seriously injured in an accident, you will be glad you have it.
For more information on purchasing auto insurance in Georgia, download Ty’s FREE BOOK, The Consumer Awareness Guide to Buying Car Insurance in Georgia.
If you have specific questions for an attorney, give Ty a call at 1-866-937-5454.