What is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage…and do I need it?

Although Georgia law does not require you to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage, it is arguable one of the most important kinds of coverage you can purchase to protect yourself and your family.

Currently, Georgia law requires you to purchase liability coverage—this is the coverage that gets used if you cause a wreck and injure someone else. But what if someone else causes the wreck and injures you or your family? You cannot count on the other driver to have enough insurance to pay for your claims—in fact, many vehicles on the road right now don’t have any insurance coverage at all in violation of the law. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage on your own policy will fill the gap when the other driver causes a collision and doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your claims.

There are 2 different kinds of UM coverage: added-on and reduced. Added-on is also called stackable, and as the name implies, stacks right on top of the amount of coverage the other driver has. Reduced, or non-stackable, provides less protection because the amount of the coverage is reduced by the amount of liability coverage the other driver carries. Reduced (also called setoff or traditional) is slightly less expensive than added-on but the payout can be much smaller. Added-on is by far the best type of UM coverage to purchase.

How much UM coverage should you have? Ask yourself this, if someone in my family gets seriously injured or killed, how much insurance coverage will we need to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages? Rarely is the $25,000.00 (the current Georgia state law minimum amount) carried by most vehicles enough to pay for the damages of a minor car wreck. If a serious car wreck occurs, and the injuries are permanent or fatal, you will need access to the most amount of insurance coverage you can afford. That’s how much UM coverage you should carry.

For additional information on insurance coverage, or if you’ve been involved in an automobile accident in Valdosta, Macon, Tifton, or anywhere in Georgia, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Studstill Firm, LLP at (229) 247-2299. We will meet and discuss your case free of charge, and you pay no attorney fees unless we collect for you through settlement or verdict.