Mark Alexander of Stewart Melvin & Frost, one of Northeast Georgia’s oldest and largest law firms, is an experienced litigator specializing in personal injury law.
Question: What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance and do we really need it?
Mark: There are two basic types of coverage in your auto insurance policy. First, Liability Insurance is what most people think about when they think about automobile insurance. Liability Insurance covers your mistakes if you hurt someone in an auto accident.
What some people overlook is what is called Uninsured Motorist coverage. Uninsured Motorist coverage covers you if the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your costs related to the accident.
Uninsured Motorist coverage is often overlooked, but it is vitally important. While you can control your safe driving efforts, you can’t control other people on the road and their negligence.
Question: It seems like the Uninsured Motorist coverage is not just for when the other driver has no insurance but also can be a stop-gap measure, too. Is that correct?
Mark: It can protect you if the other driver has no insurance. Georgia law requires that everybody who drives an automobile have insurance on the automobile. Sometimes people still drive without insurance. Also, Georgia only requires that you maintain a minimum about of $25,000 of insurance coverage. So there are a lot of people driving with the minimum amount of Liability coverage on their automobile. If those people make a serious mistake that results in hurting someone that insurance is usually not enough to make up for the wrongs they have caused. That’s where Uninsured Motorist Insurance coverage steps in.
Question: How much Uninsured Motorist coverage should you have?
Mark: The law says the minimum amount of Liability Insurance coverage is $25,000. Uninsured Motorist insurance is relatively inexpensive and can be obtained through your insurance agent.
I would recommend that you carry at least $100,000 of Uninsured Motorist coverage. On many policies, this option is stated as $100,000/$300,000 of Uninsured Motorist coverage, which means up to $100,000 per individual and up to $300,000 for more than one injured person.
There are a couple of different kinds of Uninsured Motorist coverage and I strongly encourage people to get what is called Uninsured Motorist Add-On coverage. That is the type of coverage that will add-on whatever liability coverage the other drive already has. It provides you with the extra protection for the wrongful acts that they commit.
Question: So what final words of advice do you have for people in regard to Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Mark: Don’t wait until you have an accident to learn the policy limits of your Uninsured Motorist insurance coverage. Make a New Year’s resolution to review your auto insurance policy and make sure you have sufficient Uninsured Motorist coverage as part of your policy. Sit down with your insurance agent and discuss Uninsured Motorist coverage and Ad-On coverage which is the key term to remember.
We pray tragedy never hits us, but when it does we want to make sure we have the resources and insurance to address it. In the event of an accident, don’t think you’ll be able to count on somebody else to take care of you and your medical costs.