Starks Byron's Unrequired Must Haves: Unrequired yet Highly Recommended Insurance Coverages

Talk about an oxymoron, huh? Unrequired must haves are insurance coverages that are not required under Georgia Law, yet we at Starks Byron highly recommend. By law, it is required that Georgia drivers possess minimum bodily injury limits of $25,000.00 per person, $50,000.00 per incident and property damage liability limits of $25,000.00 per occurrence only.  

Liability insurance covers losses sustained by others due to your fault. This means that Georgia does not require drivers to carry any coverages that actually protect themselves in the event bodily injuries result from a negligent driver’s acts or omissions. This is where Starks Byron’s Unrequired Must Haves come into play. We have compiled a list of five insurance coverages that should be added to your auto insurance policy to make sure you are well taken care of should you ever be hit by a negligent driver.

Collision Coverage  

Collision coverage relates to property damage and provides for the repair or replacement of your vehicle after a wreck. Collision coverage is big for two reasons. First, when a negligent driver hits you, their insurance carrier is going to complete an investigation before they accept liability and coverage and start the repairs to your vehicle. With collision coverage, you can have your own insurance carrier begin your repairs while that investigation takes place. Collision coverage can also be very beneficial if a negligent driver who is not insured hits you. By having collision coverage, you can make sure you are covered in this situation so that you do not have to pay for your vehicle repairs out of pocket. Rest assured that when your insurance carrier begins or completes your property damage repairs after a no fault wreck, if and when an at fault carrier becomes available, your carrier will recoup the funds that they paid out on your claim from the at fault carrier.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

UM coverage stands for uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage and they are used in two different ways. Uninsured motorist coverage kicks in when you are injured by someone who carries no insurance at all or when you are injured by a hit and run driver and officers are never able to locate that driver or a correlating insurance policy. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when someone whose liability policy is not large enough to fully compensate you for your injures. As mentioned earlier, Georgia drivers are required to carry bodily injury liability insurance of only $25,000.00 per person, $50,000.00 per incident. $25,000.00 may seem like a lot of money, but when you’re seriously injured by a negligent driver, your bodily injury claim’s value can exceed $25,000.00 quickly. It is also important to add that there are two types of UM coverage: 1) add on and 2) reduced by (traditional). When claim value permits, add on UM policies can be recovered in full so long as you first recover the full liability limits. Traditional UM policies are offset by the available liability limits. For example, if you carry a $50,000.00 add on UM policy and you are injured by someone who carries a $25,000.00 liability policy, you can avail yourself to your full UM policy so long as claim value permits and you first recover the full liability policy from the at fault carrier. If, on the other hand, you carry a $50,000.00 reduced by UM policy and you’re injured by someone who carries a $25,000.00 liability policy, you can only avail yourself to $25,000.00 of your UM policy after recovering the liability limits due to the offset.

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical payments coverage can be used by you and your passengers to cover medical expenses after a car collision, regardless of fault. Because medical payment works to cover medical expenses, it almost always means more money in your pocket when your personal injury case resolves. It is especially helpful for injured persons who do not have health insurance.

Medical payments coverage follows the policyholder. This means if you are injured as a passenger in someone else’s car, a pedestrian, a MARTA passenger, or even as a bicyclist, you can avail yourself to your medical payments coverage after sustaining injuries from a wreck.

Rental Reimbursement Coverage

Rental reimbursement coverage provides for the expense of a substitute vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. Rental reimbursement coverage is important because the at fault insurance carrier will always complete an investigation before they accept liability for a wreck and begin processing your property damage claim. When you have rental reimbursement coverage on your own policy, you are able to use it to obtain a rental while that investigation takes place. Without it, you may be without a vehicle for several weeks. Once the at fault carrier does accept liability, your insurance carrier will subrogate the funds they paid out from the at fault carrier.

GAP Insurance

Way too many people find out the hard way what GAP insurance is so we had to add it to our unrequired must have list. GAP insurance can be used when a negligent driver hits you and your vehicle is deemed a total loss while you are still financing the vehicle.

When financing a vehicle, it is not uncommon that the amount that you owe the lien holder is actually more than the value of the car. However, when a negligent driver hits you and totals your vehicle, their insurance company is only obligated to pay out the value of the vehicle, not the amount owed to the lien holder. Let’s look at an example:

If you owe $10,000.00 on a financed vehicle but the value is only $7,000.00, when your vehicle is totaled by a negligent driver, their insurance company is obligated to pay out $7,000.00 towards your vehicle. That means you would personally owe the remaining $3,000.00 to the lien holder. If you have GAP insurance, your GAP insurance coverage will cover the additional $3,000.00. This way you’re not forced to continue payments on a vehicle you no longer possess while searching for alternate transportation.