Written by attorney Charles Henry McAleer

Guide To Insurance Coverage In Georgia

Liability Insurance. The typical automobile liability insurance policy provides primary coverage for each insured named in the policy, each permissive driver of an insured vehicle and for members of the same household or resident relatives of the same household. The primary liability coverage generally "follows the car". A permissive driver would therefore be covered initially by the liability policy on the vehicle involved in the wreck. The driver may also have additional insurance coverage under a policy under which they are personally named as an insured or a policy held by another member of their household. These coverages would be secondary and can be used to increase the amount of financial responsibility available to respond to the claim.

Excess/Umbrella Coverage. Excess and umbrella insurance coverages are separate policies of liability coverage over and above an amount stated in an underlying insurance agreement. More and more individuals and businesses obtain such coverages to address their liability concerns.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage is required by statute to be included in any liability insurance policy issued in the state although the insured may reject the coverage. O.C.G.A. Sec. 33-7- 11. Unlike liability coverage the uninsured motorist coverage does not follow the vehicle; rather you look to the relationship between the policy and the injured person to determine primary coverage. Where the person insured has paid a premium for the coverage that becomes the primary UM coverage. Where there has been no payment of a premium directly you look to which policy the insured is most closely identified with. Travelers Indem. Co. v. Maryland Cas. Co., 190 Ga. App. 455.

Stacking UM Coverages. Generally, UM coverages can be "stacked" under certain circumstances to increase the amount of coverage available. Jefferson Pilot Fire & Cas. Co. v. Combs, 166 Ga. App. 274 (1983) [Stacking of UM coverages permitted]. The test is whether there are separate liability policies issued and not if there are multiple vehicles scheduled on a single policy of insurance.

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