When purchasing automobile insurance in Georgia one has the option to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage provides coverage when the at fault party that hits you is uninsured and in cases where the at fault party is underinsured. Underinsured motorists are those that have auto insurance coverage but not enough to cover the claim. As the minimum amount of liability insurance one must carry to drive legally in Georgia is only $25,000, being hit by an at fault underinsured motorist is a common occurrence. $25,000 does not go very far in paying medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering in many cases. Approximately 1 in 8 drivers in Georgia are illegally driving on our roads every day with no automobile insurance at all. Heading for Florida for vacation? Be wary. It is twice as bad there. About 1 in 4 people are driving illegally daily in the sunshine state with no automobile insurance. Collectively, uninsured & underinsured motorist protection are referred to as “UM” coverage. A person in Georgia has 3 options in this regard.
ADD ON UM COVERAGE: You have chosen wisely if you make this election. The amount of UM coverage on your insurance policy can be stacked on in addition to the coverage the at fault party has. So if an at fault party has $25,000 in liability insurance and you have $25,000 in UM coverage the two can be combined and stacked for a total of $50,000 in potential coverage. Of course the amount of the claim would need to equal or exceed that amount for both to pay.
REDUCED UM COVERAGE: Better than nothing but not the wisest choice. Repeating the above referenced scenario if the at fault party has $25,000 in liability insurance and you have $25,000 in UM then the total amount of potential coverage is $25,000. Your UM would be reduced by the amount the at fault party has. However, if you were hit by a totally uninsured driver then your UM coverage would kick in and you would have $25,000 in total potential coverage from your UM policy.
REJECTION OF UM COVERAGE: You have chosen poorly. One with no UM coverage has no insurance protection if hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
The wise person purchases as much UM insurance coverage as they can afford. The dollar amount of the policies varies depending on the auto insurance company. Many offer options up to several hundred thousand dollars. Keep in mind that the vast majority of people causing automobile accidents lack the resources to pay claims from their personal assets. Those few that do normally have high dollar amounts of liability insurance coverage to protect those assets. Thus when hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist most people will incur a significant financial loss unless they have enough UM protection to adequately protect them.
Time to evaluate your auto insurance? Contact Chris for honest guidance that you can trust.