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How to Read Your Car Insurance Policy

Knowing how to read your car insurance contract is the first step toward protecting yourself and your family in a car crash.  It is important to know what is covered by your insurance contract and what isn’t.


Georgia requires that all drivers carry a minimum insurance coverage of 25/50/25.  The first number is the maximum payout for a single injury in an accident.  Georgia requires that your insurance will cover $25,000 in injuries to a single other driver or passenger.


The second number is the maximum payout for a single accident.  This means that if two or more people are injured in an accident, your insurance company will pay out a maximum of $50,000 to cover their medical bills and lost wages.  After that $50,000, you may be personally liable.


The third number is the maximum payout for property damage in the accident.  Georgia requires that you carry coverage of at least $25,000 for damage to the other driver’s property.


Georgia law does not require you to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP).  But PIP coverage is a good idea to cover your own expenses if you are injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault.  PIP coverage pays the medical expenses for you and your passengers that exceed the negligent driver’s coverage.  For instance, if you are in an accident with a minimally insured driver, and you and your passenger each have $30,000 in medical bills, the other driver’s insurance will only cover $25,000 of those bills.  If you are unable to collect directly from the other driver, this will leave you to pay $5,000 out of pocket.  However, if you have PIP coverage, your own insurance company will make up the difference.


Georgia also does not require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  This coverage operates in much the same way that PIP coverage does, paying for those expenses over and above the limits of the negligent driver.


Collision Coverage covers damage to your car.  This optional insurance pays for the cost of repairing or replacing your car after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.  Your insurance company will require a deductible and will only pay for the cash market value of the car. 


Comprehensive Insurance covers damage caused by something other than a collision.  For instance, if your car is stolen, vandalized, set on fire, or otherwise damaged, comprehensive coverage will pay for damage.  This coverage also typically pays for a rental car while the damage is being repaired.


The average car insurance payment in Georgia is $920 a year (compared to a national average of $914).