Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is insurance that protects you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have liability insurance. In Georgia, UM coverage is optional, but insurance companies are required to offer it to policyholders when they purchase auto insurance.

When Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Apply?

Uninsured Motorist Coverage applies in situations where the at-fault driver in an accident does not have liability insurance or their insurance coverage is insufficient to fully compensate the injured party for their damages. This can include accidents with drivers who have no insurance at all, as well as hit-and-run accidents where the at-fault driver cannot be identified.

In hit-and-run accidents where the at-fault driver flees the scene and cannot be identified, UM coverage can provide valuable financial protection to the injured party. In such cases, the injured party may still be able to file a UM claim with their own insurance company, even if the at-fault driver is never located or apprehended by law enforcement.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Georgia

Here’s how Uninsured Motorist Coverage works in Georgia.

Coverage Limits

When purchasing auto insurance in Georgia, policyholders have the option to accept or reject Uninsured Motorist Coverage. If they choose to accept UM coverage, they can select coverage limits based on their individual needs and budget.

What Does UM Insurance Cover?

UM coverage typically includes bodily injury coverage, which provides compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from injuries sustained in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.

Stacking Coverage

In Georgia, policyholders have the option to “stack” their Uninsured Motorist Coverage if they have multiple vehicles insured under the same policy or multiple policies with the same insurance company. Stacking allows policyholders to combine the UM coverage limits for each insured vehicle or policy, providing higher coverage limits in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Offset Provisions

Georgia law includes provisions that allow insurance companies to offset the amount of UM coverage by the amount already paid by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy, if applicable. This means that the injured party’s UM coverage may be reduced by the amount received from the at-fault driver’s insurance, preventing the injured party from receiving more than their total damages.

Uninsured Motorist Claim Process

To access Uninsured Motorist Coverage, the injured party must file a claim with their own insurance company after the accident. The injured party must demonstrate that the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured and that they are entitled to compensation for their damages under the terms of their UM policy.

This typically involves providing documentation of the accident, medical records, and other evidence of damages.

Legal Recourse

If the insurance company denies or undervalues a valid UM claim, the injured party may have legal recourse to pursue a bad-faith insurance claim against the insurer. Bad faith claims allege that the insurance company acted unreasonably or unfairly in handling the claim, such as by denying coverage without valid justification or delaying payment of benefits.

Related Case Reference: Richard Lamar MULLIS, a Minor, by His Father and Next Friend, Shelby Mullis, and Shelby Mullis, Individually, Petitioners, v. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Corporation, Respondent.

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Local Auto Accidents

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