Many Motorists Have Inadequate Car Insurance Coverage

The insurance protection for our cars is important because, under our legal system, we are responsible for damages we cause to other people or property in an accident if we are found negligent.

As an attorney handling claims for injured people, I often find that people who have been driving for years have mistaken ideas about their insurance coverage.

Also, the repeal of Georgia's no-fault automobile insurance laws has brought about changes in our car policy's coverages which can be confusing.

Some basic automobile insurance coverages which are available are bodily injury and property damage (called liability coverage), excess medical payments, uninsured-underinsured motorist and collision.

If you are at fault

Bodily injury and property damage coverages are payments that would be made to other persons if you are at fault in a car accident and cause damage to other people or property as a result of your negligence.

This coverage is also called liability coverage.

Liability property coverage is required by law to be $10,000 to pay for other cars or property damaged by your negligence.

Liability coverage for injuries to people is required by law to be a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident if more than one person is injured.

The minimum liability coverage of $15,000-$30,000 for personal injuries is woefully inadequate to protect a driver from anything but a minor injury if an accident occurs.

So, consideration should be given to purchasing substantially higher liability coverage.


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To repay the driver

Excess medical payment coverage is available to reimburse the driver and any passenger in the driver's auto for medical expenses regardless of fault when an accident occurs.

This coverage may overlap existing medical health insurance in force for the driver and passengers, so this is optional coverage.

Uninsured-underinsured (OM) coverage is widely ignored or misunderstood by many people.

Although it is optional coverage, it is very important for you to consider.

Many drivers on our roads today are either not insured or are insured for only the minimum level of $15,000- $30,000.

UM coverage provides a source of recovery if you are in an accident and it is the other driver's fault and the other driver either has no liability coverage or low liability coverage.

If you are able to demonstrate fault of the other drive, your UM coverage picks up where the other driver's coverage leaves off.

Optional coverage

Coverage for damage to your auto is sometimes called collision or comprehensive coverage.

It is optional and covers the cost necessary to repair your car if the accident was your fault or if the damage occurred from something other than a wreck with another auto.

By selecting a higher deductible on collision coverage (example - $1,000), a car owner can reduce the cost of premiums and perhaps allow an increased liability and UM coverage to better provide protection.

Whatever auto insurance you select, be sure and discuss the alternatives and cost options with a capable insurance agent.

The decisions you make today may make dramatic differences in your financial situation tomorrow if an accident occurs.

Mike Casper is a Gainesville attorney. Contact us today.