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Q
What is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in Georgia and why do I need it?

A

   When you purchase automobile insurance, you have the option to buy uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  I always recommend this to my clients.  This is insurance that protects you if someone who does not have insurance causes an accident.  You may be thinking, the law requires you to have it; therefore, what are the chances that someone who doesn't’t have insurance is going to hit me?  Depending on what state you live in, uninsured motorists can be between four and thirty-four percent of all drivers.  Studies have shown that unlicensed and uninsured drivers represent twenty percent of fatal crashes in America’s highways.  This is from a national news article.  Whatever the number, it’s frightening to think that one out of four drivers on the highways today probably do not have insurance. 

      Many people realize that while the police run a report when they stop you to see if you have insurance or not, but the database is not real time.  The insurance companies are not required to update that as soon as a policy is canceled; they’re given latitude of 30 to 60 days.  This means somebody’s insurance could be canceled, this person could be in an accident, and the database could report that he or she had insurance.  That wouldn’t help you though if you were injured by this person in an accident.  Uninsured motorist coverage protects you from this scenario.

      Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if the other driver doesn’t have enough coverage.  Underinsured motorist coverage in Georgia can be one of two types:  it can be stackable or not stackable.  Stackable insurance means that it stacks directly on top of whatever coverage the other party has.  If the other person has $25,000 worth of coverage and you have $25,000 worth of stackable coverage, you’re protected up to $50,000.  This is the preferred and recommended type of underinsured motorist coverage.  You should get the amount of insurance coverage you pay for.

      Non stackable insurance means that your insurance company gets credit for any amount of money the other party’s insurance pays.  For instance, if you had a $50,000 policy of non stackable coverage and the other party paid you $25,000 for your injuries, you would have had a $50,000 minus $25,000 equals $25,000 of coverage left.  It’s not as valuable as stackable insurance.

      Uninsured motorist coverage is recommended for everyone.  Additionally, it covers you if you’re walking along the road and struck by an uninsured driver in a motor vehicle.  It can cover your children if they’re injured by an uninsured driver while riding their bicycles.  I would always recommend uninsured motorist insurance to my clients.

      Your uninsured motorist coverage will also normally cover a relative who is living with you in your home if he or she is injured in a car accident.  To find this out, you need to look at the specific policy but many times it covers any relative who is living with you.  It does not cover an unmarried partner or spouse.

Call Peachtree City Auto Accident Attorney Shane Smith for more information on your car wreck and if uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) coverage plays a party to your claim.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia