Uninsured Motorist Add on Insurance
UM insurance has always been an important way to protect yourself and your family. With changes made by the Georgia legislature in 2008 (effective for policies issued or renewed after January 1, 2009), your UM coverage can do even more for you. But you need to check your coverage to be sure you are protected. This article will explain how UM coverage works and why it is so important.
UM coverage is often thought of as coverage you buy to pay you in case you get hit by someone who has no car insurance. It covers that, but it also does much more. It provides you with extra coverage if you are hit by someone who has less liability insurance than you have UM. And, beginning January 1, 2009, if you choose it, UM may be added on top of the liability coverage of someone who hits you.
Afraid making a UM claim will make your insurance premiums go up? Georgia law prohibits an insurer from raising your premiums or canceling your policy where you were not at fault. O.C.G.A. §33-9-40 says “No insurer shall surcharge the premium or rate charged on a policy of motor vehicle insurance or cancel such policy as a result of the insured person’s involvement in a multi-vehicle accident when such person was not at fault in such accident.”
When you are hit by someone who has no car insurance. It’s obvious how important UM is. Without it, you may not be able to recover anything for your medical expenses, lost wages, permanent disability, or pain and suffering. With medical expenses quickly running into the tens of thousands of dollars, even for injuries that are not permanently disabling, $25,000.00 (the minimum liability coverage in Georgia) may not cover your medical expenses, much less your lost wages and pain and suffering. UM is your best protection. Let’s look at some examples.
I hit you. I only have $25,000.00 in liability insurance. Your medical bills are $20,000.00; your lost wages are $10,000.00; and, you have permanent disability and pain and suffering.
You have $50,000.00 in UM coverage. My liability insurance will pay you $25,000.00. Your UM coverage will pay you up to another $25,000.00.
$50,000.00 (UM coverage)
– $25,000.00 (liability coverage)
= $25,000.00 (the amount your UM may pay)
You only have $25,000.00 in UM coverage. My liability insurance will pay you $25,000.00. Your UM coverage won’t pay you anything.
$25,000.00 (UM coverage)
– $25,000.00 (liability coverage)
= $0.00 (the amount your UM may pay)
Until 2009, if your UM coverage was the same as the liability coverage of the person who hit you, you couldn’t recover anything from your UM coverage, even though you paid a premium for that UM coverage. Now you may choose for your UM to stack on top of the liability coverage of the at fault driver, but you have to take action to make sure that you have that coverage.
You only have $25,000.00 in UM coverage, but you chose UM that adds on to liability coverage. My liability insurance will pay you $25,000.00. Your UM coverage will pay you up to another $25,000.00.
$25,000.00 (add-on UM coverage)
+ $25,000.00 (liability coverage)
= $50,000.00 (total coverage available to you)
This may seem complicated. Don’t feel bad. Lots of lawyers think so, as well. I’ve created an online quiz you can take that will help you determine the UM coverage you need. Use it to review each car and motorcycle insurance policy you have to make sure you are protecting yourself and your family.
*The information in this article only applies to Georgia insurance policies.