After being in a crash, one of your greatest concerns is with insurance. Does the at-fault driver have insurance? Do they have enough to cover my damages and injuries? What do I do if they don’t have enough insurance, or don’t have insurance at all?
Fortunately, you may still be protected against drivers who illegally drive without insurance or those with low policy limits.
Liability insurance covers property damage or bodily injury that someone may sustain in an accident you caused. Georgia law mandates that all drivers have liability insurance of at least the following coverages:
If the driver has the mandated minimum coverage, you can file a claim against the driver through their insurance company. Although these amounts are required under state law, they are often insufficient to cover the true costs and damages from a serious auto accident.
If you aren’t sure how to proceed with your claim because you don’t know what type of coverage the at-fault driver has, contact Athens car accident lawyer Mike Rafi right away. Mike will steer you in the right direction to ensure your claim gets filed correctly before you run out of time.
Georgia law also requires that all auto insurance companies provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), and that if someone wishes to decline that coverage, they must do so in writing. UM/UIM causes very little increase to your insurance premium, but the benefits far outweigh the cost.
It’s highly recommended that you don’t refuse UM/UIM coverage because it can provide you with coverage that’s in excess of the driver’s policy limits or if they don’t have insurance. The application of UM/UIM coverage depends on the terms of your policy, but it can be used as either “add-on” or “offset” coverage.
With either application, if the driver is insured, then you’ll first file a claim through their insurance company, then you’ll involve yours if the damages you’re seeking are above and beyond the driver’s policy limits. If the driver doesn’t have insurance, then you’ll file the claim through your insurance policy.
If your policy allows, you can add the limits of your policy to those of the at-fault driver, which results in extra coverage available to you. If the driver doesn’t have insurance, then your UM/UIM coverage will be used to cover your damages. Here’s an example of how add-on coverage is used when a driver is underinsured:
|Type of coverage||At-fault driver’s policy limits||+||Your policy limits||=||Total available coverage|
Offset coverage, which is sometimes referred to as “reduction” coverage, is treated differently. Rather than adding your UM/UIM coverage to the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy when they’re underinsured, the amount available through your policy is reduced by their policy limits.
Then, any amount of your UM/UIM that’s remaining is added to the at-fault driver’s coverage. If the driver is uninsured, then your UM/UIM coverage can be used without any reduction.
Here are some examples of how offset or reduction UM/UIM coverage can be applied:
|At-fault driver’s bodily injury limits||–||Your bodily injury policy limits||=||Total additional available coverage||Total coverage available|
|$0 (no coverage)||–||$25,000||=||$25,000||$25,000|
Understanding insurance coverage and policy limits in the aftermath of an accident can be confusing and is something you don’t have to do alone. Athens car accident lawyer Mike Rafi has dedicated years to helping people like you move forward after an accident by obtaining the compensation they deserve.
If you were involved in an accident, schedule your free consultation today by calling (706) 995-7547.
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500 North Milledge Ave, Suite 210 Athens, GA 30606