Protection in an Uncertain World: Why You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage

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When it comes to car accidents, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can keep you protected so that you come out of an accident without losing a lot of money.  Let us explain. To drive on Georgia’s roads, Georgia law requires that all drivers must have at least the following minimum auto insurance coverages for their vehicle, as of 2021:

  •       Bodily Injury (BI) liability:                                  $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  •       Property Damage (PD) liability:                          $25,000 per accident
  •       Uninsured Motorist (UM)[1] Bodily Injury:           $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  •       Uninsured Motorist (UM) Property Damage[2]:     $25,000 with a $250, $500 or $1000 deductible

O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11.  Despite the requirement of minimum limits should you rely solely on the other driver’s liability limits?  The answer is a resounding “No!”

Why Uninsured Motorist Coverage is Important

Imagine you’ve been hurt in a serious car wreck. You are taken from the scene of the collision by ambulance to a local Emergency Room, where the ER physicians order x-rays and CT Scans to determine the extent of your injuries. Once discharged, you require additional medical care from such healthcare professionals as an orthopedist, a chiropractor, pain management, physical therapy, and so on. That $25,000 in minimum BI limits will be gone on your medical bills alone, quite possibly leaving some bills unpaid.

But what about your general damages, i.e., pain & suffering, interference with normal living, loss of enjoyment of life, etc?  If all there is to recover against is a minimum limits policy, chances are that once your medical bills are taken care of there will be nothing leftover to compensate you for your injuries. And that’s where uninsured motorist (UM) insurance comes into play.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Georgia

The are two (2) types of UM insurance available in Georgia: the first is referred to as “reduced by”, and the second is called “add-on”.  In determining which type to choose to protect yourself, consider the following scenario:

You are injured by another driver with a minimum limits policy of $25,000.  You have “traditional,” (AKA “reduced by”) UM coverage of $25,000.  What this means is your UM coverage is reduced by the amount of liability coverage available.  So, $25,000 liability minus $25,000 traditional UM means your insurer owes nothing under your UM benefits.  All those extra premiums you’ve been paying are for nothing.  In other words, if the other driver has even minimum coverage, your $25,000 “reduced by” UM insurance is worthless.

However, if you have add-on UM coverage, then your $25,000 “adds on” to the $25,000 in liability coverage held by the negligent driver for a total of $50,000 in coverage.  And under certain circumstances, if there are multiple vehicles in your household you can “stack” one UM policy on top of the other.  Say you have 3 cars in your family, each with $25,000 add-on UM coverage.  By stacking one UM policy on top of the other, there would be a potential recovery of an additional $75,000 over and above the initial $25,000 liability coverage. In a serious accident, this can be the difference between fair compensation and bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, the minimum vehicle insurance in Georgia, covering negligent drivers, is very low, so we routinely handle UM claims on behalf of our clients.  If you don’t have add-on UM coverage now, speak with your agent about adding UM coverage to your existing policy. It’s relatively inexpensive, and you will probably need it. Protecting yourself and loved ones from someone else’s lack of insurance is a good idea, so do it now.

Put Our UM Expertise to Work for YOU!

If you’ve been involved in a car wreck, and you’re getting the run around from your insurance company about your UM coverage, call the law offices of Morrison & Hughes for your free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. Just Google “car accident attorney near me” or “injury attorney near me”. We have offices in Marietta, Alpharetta, Hiram, LaGrange, and Fayetteville, with more coming soon. So we can handle your car and truck collisions in any part of Georgia, ranging from fatalities to catastrophic injuries, with and without UM coverage, throughout Georgia.  The sooner you contact us after your collision the sooner we can ensure you receive proper medical treatment and your claim is handled in the manner to achieve the best results for you.

Give us a call at (404) 800-5297 or click to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys now.

[1] UM coverage can be rejected, but it must be rejected in writing.

[2] UM PD must have either a $250 $500 or $1,000 deductible