With the cost of everything skyrocketing these days we are all looking for places to save a dollar where we can. When it comes to buying car insurance most companies exploit this concern by slyly suggesting that you can save money by skipping uninsured motorist coverage entirely. Why would that be? Why would they sell something they do not want you to buy? The short answer: because they are required to.
Official Code of Georgia Sec. 33-7-11 requires insurance companies to get their customers to specifically decline uninsured motorist coverage in writing or they must provide it. Insurance companies do not like this coverage because it protects you in case you are hit by someone who flees the scene, drives without valid coverage, or does not have enough coverage. These scenarios happen all the time and if they happen to you and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you will be left holding the bag with tons of medical debt and no way to recover for your lost wages and pain and suffering.
How much coverage do I need? While medical costs have exploded over the last few years, Georgia has not raised the minimum liability coverage requirement for decades. The vast majority of people on Georgia roads only have $25,000 worth of coverage to pay all of your medical debt, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is not uncommon for an emergency room bill alone to exceed this amount. If you rely on the responsibility of someone who hits you, there may not be enough insurance to even pay your medical bills. So, you want to get as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford.
What type of coverage do I need? Traditional or Non-Traditional? Add-on or Reduced-by? In 2008 Georgia lawmakers infuriated insurance companies by adopting “stacking” for uninsured motorist coverage. “Stacking” lets you add your uninsured motorist coverage on top of the coverage of the person who hit you. But there’s a catch… you must choose this option and pay more for it.
If they cannot get you to give up uninsured motorist coverage all together, insurance companies try to scam you by encouraging you to buy “Traditional” coverage? Who would want buy insurance coverage that is “Non-Traditional?” Well, you do! More honest insurance companies will use the term “Reduced-by” instead of “Traditional.” If you choose this option, it means that your insurance coverage is reduced by the amount of coverage the person who hits you has on their policy. So, if you have $50,000 of uninsured motorist coverage and the person who hits you has $25,000, your insurance will only provide an extra $25,000 of coverage over what the at-fault party has in coverage.
What if I have the same amount of coverage as the person who hit me? You get nothing! Zero, zilch, nada! All that money you pay in premiums and the insurance company just keeps it all. So, when you are buying car insurance, uninsured motorist is a must, and you need to select “Add-on” or “Non-Traditional” coverage. It costs more now, but when you really need it getting the right uninsured motorist coverage will save you much heartbreak.