Georgia Car Insurance Laws and Regulations | by Nolo
This article offers a quick introduction to Georgia’s car insurance laws and regulations. We’ll look at Georgia’s “fault-based” insurance system and the kinds of auto insurance coverage required by Georgia. If you’re looking for more general information on the legal rules related to auto accidents in Georgia, you’ll find it in our companion article Car Accident Laws in Georgia.
Georgia is a “Fault” Car Insurance State
Georgia follows a “fault” system when it comes to issues like liability and insurance coverage after a car accident. This means that an at-fault driver is liable for any personal injury or property damage resulting from the accident, and his or her insurance policy will be looked to first in order to satisfy this liability. In Georgia, a person injured in an auto accident can look for compensation for damages in one of three ways:
- by filing a claim with his or her own insurance company (the company will then turn around and seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer)
- by pursuing a claim with the other driver’s insurer directly (sometimes called a “third party” claim), or
- by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court (especially if settlement negotiations break down)
Note: In no-fault states, an injured motorist must first exhaust his or her own policy’s limits or reach a statutory threshold of damages before pursuing the other driver, regardless of who was at fault. Remedies are also limited in these states. While this is not necessarily a concern for Georgia drivers, you can learn more about no-fault rules in No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws: The Basics.
Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Georgia
Georgia law requires that the owner of a motor vehicle carry liability insurance on that vehicle. The minimum liability coverage a driver is required to carry in Georgia looks like this:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.)
- $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
It should be noted that while these are the minimum amounts of coverage drivers are required to carry under Georgia law, it is usually advisable to carry more coverage. If you are found at fault for an accident and the damages exceed the limits of your policy, then you can be held liable for the difference.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Georgia
Georgia does not require that every motorist purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). UIM coverage is a supplemental feature of your own policy that is intended to protect you if you get into an accident where the at-fault driver either has no insurance coverage at all, or carries an insufficient amount of insurance to cover your damages stemming from the accident.
One twist of Georgia law related to UIM coverage is that the state subdivides UIM coverage into two categories: “reduction” coverage and “excess” coverage. Under reduction coverage (also called non-stacking or set-off coverage) your UIM availability is diminished by the other driver’s insurance. So, if you have a $25,000 reduction UIM policy and they have the state minimum coverage of $25,000, the two cancel each other out; your policy is completely set off by their policy. By contrast, excess coverage stacks on top of their coverage; using the same numbers, you would have another $25,000 of UIM after their policy is exhausted. This distinction makes it very important to determine whether you have a reduction or excess policy.
For more information on UIM coverage, see Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The Basics and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: How It Works.
More Information on Auto Insurance in Georgia
For more information on Georgia’s motor vehicle insurance requirements straight from the government, check out the Georgia Department of Insurance's Automobile Insurance information page.
Category: Auto Insurance