Auto insurance requirements in Georgia
Like most states, Georgia requires a certain amount of car insurance coverage for every driver who takes to the road. This is meant to protect you and the other drivers with whom you share the road.
Having proof of insurance is mandatory in Georgia, and must be shown at the behest of any law enforcement official. The minimum auto insurance limits for the state of Georgia can be found below.
Georgia is a comparative fault state
Georgia is a comparative fault — or comparative negligence — state. This means that fault is assigned proportionately based on the amount of fault that is assigned. Essentially, this means that separate drivers can share fault and receive awards based on the percentage of fault that they are given. Drivers who are found at least 50 percent at-fault for an accident in Georgia are not able to recover any damages or compensation.
Liability insurance coverage in Georgia
Liability car insurance is the only insurance coverage required in the state of Georgia. It pays for property damage or bodily injuries incurred from an accident that you cause. It’s important to remember that liability insurance never pays for your injuries or damages to your own property. It only ever covers injuries or property damage that you cause to others.
Liability coverage contains two specific types of coverage: bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) liability. The bodily injury portion covers any medical bills — or funeral expenses — associated with a car accident in which you are at-fault. Property damage liability steps in to cover damages you inflict on the property of another. See a more detailed breakdown of these coverages below.
What are state-mandated car insurance limits in Georgia?
Almost every state imposes a minimum amount of car insurance in order for its drivers to be considered legal. You’ll often see this referred to asliability limits. The limit is simply the bare minimum of coverage you are required to have as a driver. In the case of Georgia, only liability insurance is required. For an added premium, you can raise your liability limits to provide more coverage.
Liability insurance limits are often written out as three separate numbers, 25/50/25. Known as a split limit, this separates the coverage amounts on offer. These are commonly divided into three buckets: per-person, per-accident, and property damage.
- Your per-person limit is the available coverage for any individual person that you harm in a car accident. If multiple people are harmed, they are covered up to the “per accident” limit as seen below.
- The per-accident limit is the overall amount that your insurer is willing to pay out for any bodily injury that you cause in a single accident. This total includes injuries for all those harmed by you in the same accident. Keep in mind that an insurance company will not pay over the “per person” limit for any one person.
- The property damage limit is what covers the physical damages that you cause to another individual’s property in the event of an at-fault auto accident.
Do Georgia’s required insurance minimums provide enough coverage?
Meeting your state’s required minimums doesn’t mean you are properly insured. While Georgia’s liability insurance minimums are higher than those of some other states, this level of coverage could leave you at risk. Unfortunately, serious injuries can easily exhaust your $25,000 BI limit for a single person, and even your per-accident limit can run out quickly if you injure more than one person.
Similarly, $25,000 is a relatively low amount of property damage coverage. Keep in mind: this is slightly less than what many drivers pay for a new car. If you were to damage multiple vehicles — or other structures — damages could hit this threshold quickly.
Once your accident limits are reached, you are personally liable for the remainder of the expenses. As such, it is strongly suggested to increase your liability limits beyond this required amount.
Georgia's penalties for driving without proof of insurance
Operating a motor vehicle without insurance in Georgia is a misdemeanor, resulting in the following penalties:
You can expect reinstatement fees for your license, along with a fee for allowing your auto insurance to lapse. Accidents resulting in serious injury or death may lead to felony charges, triggering incarceration or fines.
Optional car insurance coverage in Georgia
Georgia law only requires you to carry liability insurance in order to drive legally. Still, additional coverage can add further protection and should be seriously considered.
- Collision: Collision coverage is important if you want to have your own vehicle covered. This coverage helps you to repair damages done when you are involved in a collision with another vehicle or fixed object (other than animals).
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage also covers your vehicle. This coverage typically helps to cover damages your vehicle might sustain (including collisions with animals). When paired with collision, these two are often referred to as full coverage.
- Gap coverage: If you are leasing or financing your vehicle, gap coverage could be a smart option. Because automobiles depreciate in value so quickly, this coverage pays the difference in the actual cash value of your vehicle and what you still owe on the loan.
- Roadside assistance: If you find yourself broken down on the highway, this coverage can be very helpful.
- Medical payments: Sometimes referred to as “med pay,” this coverage can go towards the medical bills or funeral expenses incurred by you or those in your vehicle up to the policy limits (typically between $5,000 and $10,000). It’s important to note that this coverage is provided regardless of who is at fault.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM): Georgia requires that all car insurance companies in the state provide uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, and it must typically be refused in writing when purchasing a new policy. This coverage steps in to take care of your injuries or property damage if you are harmed in an accident in which an uninsured or underinsured driver is at fault.
Why adhering to Georgia's car insurance requirements is important
Unfortunately, not every driver on the roads is as attentive as they should be. Even taking your eyes off the road for a second can lead to an accident. As such, having the right insurance coverage is crucial if you want to avoid risk and protect your assets. State minimums are rarely enough coverage to truly keep you protected, and can be increased for a relatively low additional premium.
Shopping for the right auto insurance policy is a great way to stay protected while on the road. The Zebra can help you find and compare side by side insurance quotes giving you a clear sense of the coverage options out there, as well as what they’ll cost.