Is It Illegal for a Driver to Offer to Pay Out of Pocket?

Maybe you don’t have to imagine because it happened recently. A driver steps out of the vehicle, the shock from the impact leaves them a little jilted, but the other driver seems shaken too. The other driver explains that they can pay the damages out of pocket, with the phrase, “There’s no need to make both of our insurance rates go up.” Or, maybe it was something like, “I can’t take another hit on my insurance, can I write you a check?”

The thing is that it’s impossible to set a value on property damages and possible injuries at the crash site. It’s also questionable at best to go through an individual. Although insurance companies hardly ever benefit the driver, they do provide a level of security and safety that simply isn’t there when you don’t use your insurance or an Atlanta auto crash attorney.

Self-Insured and What That Means

In Georgia, you can be “self-insured,” and what that means is that the person has proven to Georgia that they can handle the minimum of coverage on their own. Unlike other states, however, you’re not simply setting this money aside. What you’re doing is showing yourself as a self-insurer.

To become a self-insured driver in Georgia, you must prove through the Department of Revenue that you can submit a request to get a self-insured insurance card. The driver must have the insurance card and certificate of self-insurance in the vehicle or with them at all times. These drivers are subject to various fines and penalties if there are any issues with their setup at all.

Ultimately, it’s often worth it, even if you can afford to be self-insured, to just get coverage through a provider. Not only will a provider provide you with insurance in the event of vandalism or theft if you have comprehensive coverage, but it’s generally not as expensive as going through all the self-insurance obstacles. This is not illegal, although it would be out of their pocket, you would still report it to your provider.

Umbrella Insurance Options that the Driver May Have Access To

Umbrella insurance is something that people will often have in order to protect them from useless or nonsense lawsuits. Usually, they’re affluent community figures or would otherwise be a target for lawsuits. One example is a well-established doctor in the town that rolls through town in a sleek sports car with license plates that read “Dr4Life.”

People may get into accidents with the vehicle on purpose or otherwise file claims against that person because they assume they have the funds to cover it. Umbrella insurance kicks in after all the other insurance options to ensure that the person covered isn’t stuck paying tens of thousands in damages, whether they caused the wreck or not.

Umbrella insurance also provides coverage in personal injury situations, not just car wrecks. If someone falls on their property or is hurt while working on their land, then that insurance would pickup wherever their homeowner’s insurance ends, this is also not illegal, and you would still report the crash to insurance.

Family Members Offering to Pay Out of Pocket

The most common situation is someone who offers to pay for the damages out of pocket by writing you a check from their account or offers to have someone do the repairs for free. This isn’t an ideal situation. It can cause you to lose your insurance coverage, and even get you into trouble with the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

All drivers have a duty to report the accident, file a crash report, and inform their insurance provider. You can inform your provider without technically filing a claim.

Always Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Before Moving Forward

It’s pretty common for people to step up and offer to pay for the damages themselves. In Atlanta, it’s possible that they can afford it, or it could be possible that you’ll go for more than a month without reporting the crash and not receive anything from them. The more common situation is that the other driver simply disappears, which is why it’s always vital to report to your insurance.

Contacting The Weinstein Firm is a great first step. If the person is self-insured or has other insurance, such as umbrella insurance, it can be difficult to know what to do. Retaining a personal injury law firm in Atlanta is often a great first step. Contact our Atlanta, GA office to start arranging for an evaluation of your claim now.

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