How much insurance coverage do you really need? We recommend that all our client periodically review their automobile policies. Some guidelines to consider when talking to your agent are:
- Liability Coverage: Obtain the required liability coverage; $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident is required by GA law. O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(a)(1)(A).
A higher single limit coverage is preferred, but some insurance companies do not offer this feature. Also, if you have multiple automobiles to insure,
it is preferable to have each automobile on a separate policy to take advantage of Georgia's law allowing you to benefit from the protection of “stacking” liability coverage, unless your insurance contract precludes this.
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: Elect to receive Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage with limits equal to your liability coverage. O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(a)(1)(B).
This is not required by Georgia law, but if you are injured in an automobile accident by someone who has failed to purchase the required insurance (liability coverage), you are dealing with an uninsured motorist. Having your own UM coverage may then be the only insurance available in that scenario. Protect yourself. You can elect not to have UM insurance or several multiples up to the limits of liability coverage you have purchased on the vehicle you are insuring. Purchasing UM insurance is much less expensive than your liability coverage.
- Even though $25,000/$50,000 is the minimum liability coverage required in Georgia and UM is not required in Georgia, we recommend you carry at least $100,000 per person coverage in BOTH liability and UM coverage.
- Elect to have your UM insurance STACK on top of the other driver's liability policy. This became Georgia's NEW law effective January 2009 and affords you greater protection. O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(b)(1)(D)(ii).
- Elect Property Damage/Collision to cover age equal to your car's value.
Think of this as special health insurance just for medical treatment for injuries or even funeral expenses which result from an automobile collision. Often times, people have either no health insurance or health insurance with high deductibles. This coverage pays 100% for the treatment of injuries sustained in a car wreck. Also, you can even use medical payments coverage to help offset your out of pocket medical expenses, co-pays, or health insurance deductibles. This optional insurance is inexpensive also as compared to the liability coverage.
With a typical ambulance service costing nearly $1,000 and a basic emergency room evaluation costing often times $2,500 or more, we recommend carrying at least $10,000 in medical payments coverage.
ALWAYS consult with a qualified insurance agent about these basic coverage issues and about other options available when purchasing or revising your policy. Remember, a cheaper premium is not always your best solution.