Auto Insurance in Georgia

Overview

When it comes to driving in the Peach State, if you have a lead foot and you use it, it’s going to cost you. The state instituted a new law called the ‘SuperSpeeder Law,’ which went became effective January 1, 2010. This law designed to make it safer for motorists to drive on Georgian roads, while coming down hard on high-risk drivers who jeopardize other driver’s safety, by ignoring the speed limit. On average, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there’s a speed-related death-a-day in Georgia.

The cost for speeding

Any high-risk drivers who ignore posted speed limits and are caught will be charged an additional $200 state fee on top of any local fines already in effect in the jurisdiction where the speeding offense occurs.

Georgia’s mandatory auto insurance requirements

The State of Georgia makes it mandatory for drivers to maintain an automobile liability coverage policy as a minimum on all owned vehicles. The required coverage pays for damages to other persons or vehicles as a result of an automobile accident.

In George, drivers are required to carry the basic limits of 25/50/25.

This means:

  • $25,000 liability for one individual, with up to $50,000 for all persons hurt in an accident
  • $25,000 property damage coverage

This is the minimum liability protection required by Georgia law.

Required additional liability insurance

Motorists who finance their automobiles through a commercial lender are required to carry more than the minimum liability insurance of 25/50/25. It is up to the leasing company or the lien holder to protect its investments by setting their own minimum liability amounts.

Letting your auto insurance lapse will cost you

If you let your auto insurance lapse, you will be penalized. For example:

  • If you have been assessed with fees for allowing your insurance to lapse and you fail to pay them within 10 days, more fees will be added to your original penalty.
  • If the lapse fee has not been paid within 30 days, your automobile registration will be suspended. An additional reinstatement fee will be charged to you.
  • You face a mandatory registration suspension of 90 days if you let your insurance lapse a second time within five years.
  • You will receive a six-month suspension if you let your insurance lapse within a period of five years. You will also be penalized with an increased reinstatement fee.

Under Georgia law, you are allowed a grace period of 30 days for electronic submission of any new insurance information to the Georgia database.

Uninsured motorist coverage

In the state of Georgia, you are not required to carry uninsured motorist coverage.

Rental car coverage

Rental car coverage is optional in Georgia. Rental car coverage can not be purchased without collision and comprehensive coverage. This coverage pays for the cost of a rental car if you can’t drive the insured vehicle due to theft or damage from an accident.

However, it isn’t entirely clear exactly what your auto insurance covers when renting a vehicle in Georgia. So it’s best to carefully review your policy with your agent.

Is Georgia a no-fault or a tort state?

Rather than being a no-fault state, Georgia’s insurance system is based on the tort liability system. This means that the at-fault driver in a car crash must pay a victim’s medical bills and rehabilitation costs. The at-fault driver, in addition to being responsible to pay vehicle damages to you, is also responsible for paying  medical costs, pain and suffering and loss of wages as a result of the accident they caused. If you are in an accident and found not to be at fault, the passengers in your vehicle as well the passengers in the at-fault driver’s auto may also sue for their medical expenses, their pain and their suffering, as well as any loss of wages.

Because the costs resulting from an automobile accident can easily escalate, consider additional coverage to protect yourself against all the risks that could arise from a crash.

Average annual cost of auto insurance

The 2011 average annual premium for auto insurance in Georgia is $1670, which is somewhat higher than the national average of $1561.

 

Resources:

Insurance Information Institute www.iii.org
Georgia Department of Insurance
Phone: 404-656-2070
Web: www.gainsurance.org
SuperSpeeder Law http://www.safespeedsgeorgia.org