Choosing the right policy to protect yourself from an uninsured driver
Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017 at 4:04 pm
Having auto insurance is always advisable when you own and drive a car regularly, it is required under the law in most states, including Georgia. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that every driver on the road is insured. When a driver gets into an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver with insufficient coverage, it can mean big bills and even bigger headaches trying to get the negligent driver to cover costs associated with the accident. This is why for most drivers, it is also advisable to add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to their policies in order to ensure they are fully covered if they get into an accident.
Georgia law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage to all drivers purchasing car insurance through the company. The limits and terms vary according to what a person buying insurance wants to buy. When signing up for additional coverage through your insurance company to cover the actions of an at fault driver, it is important to be clear on what you are purchasing. Drivers who are offered this insurance can choose to reject it, but must do so in writing.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured, then the other driver’s uninsured policy should cover his or her damages and bills to the extent of the policy. However, if the at fault driver has insurance but is underinsured, things can get a little bit complicated for the other driver. Under some policies, the at-fault driver’s insurance is used to offset some of the insurance money available to the other driver. For example, the at-fault driver, Driver A, has insurance coverage with a $50,000 limit, and the other driver, Driver B, has underinsured coverage with a limit of $100,000. Under some policies, when Driver A causes an accident with Driver B, Driver B will only have $50,000 in his underinsured coverage available to him. Driver A’s $50,000 policy reduces Driver B’s $100,000 underinsured driver limit by $50,000. This is sometimes referred to as reducing uninsured motorist coverage.
Some policies allow Driver B to add the amount available under his insurance to that of the underinsured driver to meet the costs of the accident. Therefore, using the numbers above, Driver B would have the $100,000 available under his policy, in addition to the $50,000 available under Driver A’s policy, for a total of $150,000. This obviously offers more coverage, even though in some cases it may not cover all the costs associated with the accident, but Driver B is not allowed to recover in excess of the costs where they are less than the total policy limits available. This kind of policy is sometimes referred to as add-on or excess uninsured motorist coverage.
The second kind of policy, allowing Driver B to combine his entire policy limit with that of Driver A’s policy is much better, but also more expensive in premiums to the insured driver. However, for drivers who can afford it, it would be worth it in the event of an accident.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
There may be other avenues available for an injured driver to receive compensation from a negligent driver, even when the negligent driver is uninsured or underinsured. If you were seriously hurt in a car accident in Atlanta, Georgia, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today.