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How uninsured motorist coverage works

by | Apr 27, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Most all states require drivers to have liability insurance to cover the other driver in accidents. However, stats show that one in eight drivers still don’t have any insurance, which forces injured drivers in Georgia to pay out-of-pocket. Drivers can protect themselves in these situations with uninsured motorist protection.

Overview of uninsured/underinsured motorist protection

Some states require drivers to buy uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist protection, but this is optional in Georgia. This coverage pays medical bills and other expenses up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. UM/UIM also covers pedestrians who get hit by uninsured/underinsured drivers, including those who are injured in hit-and-run accidents.

If a person has coverage but not enough, the underinsured motorist insurance fills the gap. For example, if the accident caused $50,000 worth of damage and the at-fault driver only has $20,000 in coverage, the driver not at fault would get $30,000. However, they cannot surpass the amount on their UM/UIM policy limit.

Types of UM and UIM

Georgia offers two types of UM/UIM protection: stacking and non-stacking. Non-stacking is coverage that only applies to one vehicle when the at-fault driver’s coverage exceeds the UM/UIM policy limit. However, this coverage reduces the amount of UM/UIM protection available to the driver not at fault. For example, if the damages total $40,000 and the policy of the at-fault driver covers $30,000, the driver not at fault would have $10,000 left on the policy.

Stacking coverage applies to multiple vehicles, and the driver can access coverage from all policies in UM/UIM situations. For example, if a driver has $30,000 in damages from an uninsured/underinsured motorist and one policy has $20,000 UM/UIM and another $20,000 is available on a separate policy, they may use both. Stacking UIM and UM policies typically costs more in premiums, but it offers extra protection.

Drivers may recover several types of damages in motor vehicle accidents, including damages related to pain and suffering. Some insurers cooperate, but others don’t, so drivers may need legal representation in these cases.