LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Philip Manley Brown | Jul 15, 2011

Why Should I Purchase "Add On" Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

In recent years, the Georgia legislature amended the law to require automobile insurance companies selling such insurance in this state to offer a kind of uninsured motorist coverage that would make such coverage potentially much more useful to an injured Georgia driver or his or her passenger.

Prior to this change in the law, if an insured person had a policy covering him or her for the statutory minimum amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Georgia, that being $25,000.00 per person, this coverage would be absolutely useless if the insured person was involved in a wreck with someone else who only had $25,000.00 in liability insurance coverage on his or her vehicle. In this situation, Georgia law mandated a set off, or cancelling out, of the uninsured motorist coverage limits of $25,000.00, and the insured person could only collect $25,000.00 in liability insurance coverage if he or she had a claim worth that amount, or more.

The bottom line was that unless one's uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limits exceeded the liability insurance coverage limits of the defendant driver, then the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limits were useless in their entirety.

The law in Georgia still allows for this unfair possibility, UNLESS the insured person purchases what is often called "add on" uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when purchasing or renewing an automobile insurance policy. If one has "add on" uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage limits on his or her policy, then in my example above, one could collect a full $50,000.00 in damages where the facts justify such a monetary recovery. In other words, both coverage amounts can be added together in appropriate situations.

In a true uninsured motorist situation where one has $25,000.00 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and a negligent driver with no liability coverage hits and injures you, not having "add on" uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would not harm your chances of recovering up to $25,000.00, assuming a valid claim for that amount.

However, my concern, and the reason for writing this guide, is to cover those situations where the liability and uninsured/underinsured coverage amounts are the same for both parties to a wreck, thereby leaving the party free of fault "out in the cold" if he or she does not have "add on" uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on his or her own automobile insurance policy.

Be sure to strongly consider purchasing "add on" uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on all of your automobile insurance policies. It is relatively inexpensive coverage and is potentially well worth it to you.

If at all possible within the bounds of one's budget, always purchase some amount of medical payments coverage on one's own policy (especially if one has no health insurance!) and at least $50,000.00 to $100,000.00 in liabilty and "add on" uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protection. $25,000.00 does not go very far in the more serious automobile collision injury scenario.

Finally, this guide obviously is not meant to cover such things as "stacking" coverages on multiple policies, giving notice of possible claims to insurance companies and things of this nature. Please be aware that car wreck claims can be fraught with peril in the absence of advice from a reputable attorney in your state. Always at least consider giving an attorney a call to see if he or she can or needs to help you. Mistakes with insurance issues can be fatal to monetary recovery.

Additional resources provided by the author

Your local insurance agent Title 33 of the Georgia Code

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