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Georgia Car Insurance Basics

Whenever you consider driving in a different state, you'll want to find out about that state's basic auto insurance requirements and laws. That way, you can know that you are driving safely and legally in the state and are not in danger of getting a ticket or, even worse, losing your driver's license or automobile registration.

If you're looking to drive your vehicle in Georgia, you'll want to be sure you know all about the state's auto insurance basics. While Georgia's car insurance requirements and laws are similar to those in many other states, you will want to check and see how they compare with the regulations in your state in case you need to change something about your insurance or registration.

Georgia Automobile Insurance Requirements

Like almost every state, Georgia has some minimal amounts of car insurance that it requires each registered vehicle in the state to carry. If you do not carry these amounts, you will not be able to register your vehicle and therefore any driving you do will be illegal.

The insurance GA requires you to carry is liability insurance. This means that, if you are in an accident and the police decide that you have caused the accident, you have coverage available for the other person's vehicle and person. Georgia is a tort state, which means that someone must be found at-fault in all accidents. Depending on the specific situation, this may be you or it may be the person you are in an accident with. If you are the guilty party, your insurance must pay.

In Georgia, you must carry both bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance. The first of the means that, if someone is injured in an accident you caused, treating their injuries will be paid for by your insurance company. The second means that any property that gets damaged in an accident you caused, whether it's another vehicle, someone's landscaping, a building, or something else, will have repairs financed by your insurance company.

In Georgia, you must have bodily injury liability insurance for a minimum of $25,000 per injured person and $50,000 per incident. This means that, if one person is injured in the accident, you insurance will pay up to $25,000 towards their medical bills. If more than one person is injured, the company will pay up to $50,000 towards the total amount of medical bills incurred by all the injured people. You must also carry a minimum of $25,000 in property liability insurance per incident.

Unlike many states, Georgia does not require that you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance to drive in the state. This type of insurance would cover your expenses if your vehicle, you, or anyone in a vehicle you were driving was injured in an accident with someone who did not have insurance or did not have enough to cover the damages done in the accident.

While uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance has always been available in Georgia, effective January 1, 2009, it will be handled in a different way. Previously, uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance and liability insurance offset one another. This means that if you were in an accident that did $100,000 worth of damage but you carried $50,000 worth of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, the guilty party's insurance would pay nothing. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance would cover $50,000 of damages instead, and you would have to pay the other $50,000 or cover it another way.

Under the new law, you are instead able to stack any uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance on top of any liability insurance that is owed you. While you still cannot get more than the total cost of your medical bills, this law allows you to get more towards them. If you were in an accident that did $100,000 worth of damage and the guilty party had $50,000 worth of liability insurance and you had $50,000 worth of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, you would receive the full $100,000 in coverage, so all of your bills would be taken care of.

Note that this insurance is not added to your policy automatically. If you want it, make sure you ask your automobile insurance company for this stackable kind of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. It will cost a little bit more than the old kind, but knowing you're covered is worth the cost.

Georgia does not require any kind of comprehensive, collision, or gap coverage. However, if you are leasing a vehicle or are paying back a loan on your vehicle, the company that holds the lease or loan will often require you to carry these kinds of auto insurance as well. The state will enforce any contract you have signed, so make sure you're carrying insurance in the types and amounts that are required of you.

Other Georgia Auto Insurance Regulations

Georgia requires that you carry insurance on each vehicle you own in the state. This is true even for vehicles that you do not plan to operate or that you maintain low mileage on. GA wants to ensure that the injured parties in any accident, no matter how small, are able to get their medical bills covered and any property damages paid for, and requiring insurance has proven the best way to do that.

The state tracks automobile sales and purchases as well as insurance coverage electronically. Auto insurance companies that operate in the state are required to report to the state any policies that are picked up, dropped, or changed in any way. In addition, all vehicle sales are recorded electronically, as well. This way, the state knows who, at any given time, is responsible for a particular vehicle and whether they are living up to that responsibility.

If you want to check on your insurance status, you can do so through Georgia's Department of Revenue at their website. Checking this database can reassure you that your automobile insurance company is following all of the state's rules and that your vehicle ownership and insurance are recorded correctly. This can be particularly useful when you have recently purchased a new vehicle or if you have changed auto insurance plans within the last couple of weeks.

Knowing that the database is correct is not enough, however. The state requires that you have a hard copy of your insurance information available at all times when you are driving. Many people choose to keep one of the cards that auto insurance companies give them in the car, in case of an accident or if a police officer requests to see it. Having this card in your car or on your person can make things go much more smoothly if you are in an accident, because you will not have to remember all of your insurance information. Instead, you can simply trade cards with the other party or parties involved, copy each others' information, and take your own card home.

While there is always more you can know about auto insurance in any state, these are the most important pieces of information about car insurance in Georgia. Knowing them should help you drive safely and legally in that state.

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