Excess Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage in the State of Georgia
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage has been around for a long time. It is sold to vehicle owners who want to be covered by insurance in cases when an accident is not their fault, but the "at fault" driver is not insured.
On January 1, 2009, a Georgia law was passed that made a new form of uninsured motorist coverage available to drivers. This new UM coverage is called "excess" UM.
What is "Excess Uninsured Motorist Coverage", and why do I need it?
Prior to January 1, 2009, standard uninsured motorist (UM) policies would only allow recovery for the difference between the at-fault driver's liability coverage, and the amount of uninsured motorist coverage on the not at-fault driver's policy. The good news is that with excess UM, you can now access all of your available uninsured motorist coverage no matter how much insurance the other driver has.
Consider the following two examples: If you had purchased $100,000 of standard uninsured motorist coverage under your own policy, and the "at fault" driver had $50,000 in liability coverage under their policy, the maximum you could receive after an accident would be $50,000. That is ($100,000 - $50,000) = $50,000. Using excess UM, in the above example, you would have $150,000 of coverage available to you. That is $100,000 + $50,000 = $150,000. This new coverage allows victims of car accidents to finally "get what they pay for."
Using another example, let's say you were the "not at fault" driver, and your medical bills totaled $75,000. If the at-fault driver had $50,000 in liability coverage, and you had $50,000 in standard UM coverage, you should have had plenty of money to cover your bills, right? In a scenario like this one, you would have been left with no UM coverage at all. The only coverage available in this example would be the at-fault driver's liability coverage which is $25,000 short of your medical bills. Using this same example, if you had an excess UM policy, you would be able to combine the driver's liability coverage of $50,000 and your excess UM coverage of $50,000 for a total of $100,000 in available coverage. With excess UM, there is now more than enough to cover your $75,000 in medical bills.
Don't worry about seeing your premiums go up if you need to access your excess uninsured motorist coverage in the event of an accident. By law, insurance companies are not allowed to raise customer's premiums if they were not at fault.
How do I get Excess UM Coverage?
Since January, 2009 all new automobile coverage in Georgia includes excess UM as the default UM coverage for every new or renewed UM policy. Some insurance companies may try to get you to "opt out" of excess UM coverage, indicating they want to save you a few bucks a month off your premium. If you opt out of the excess (stacking) UM coverage, and instead chose the non-stacking or "set off" UM option, you could unwittingly deny yourself very important protection if you are involved in an accident. This is especially true if your injuries are serious such as a head injury, internal injury, or spinal cord injury. These traumatic injuries often result in major medical bills that could last throughout the victim's life. Do you want to leave your future in someone else's hands? Be sure to call your insurance agent to confirm your policy includes excess UM coverage.
Attorney Casey W. Stevens specializes in handling cases, including uninsured motorist accident cases in the state of Georgia. He started his career in the insurance industry, working as an insurance adjuster, and later a claims manager. When Attorney Stevens completed law school, he worked for a large insurance defense firm in downtown Atlanta. Now he is a plaintiff's attorney, serving the State of Georgia. His extensive insurance industry experience has made his a much sought-after personal injury law firm. If you have been injured in an accident in the state of Georgia, contact the Law Office of Casey W. Stevens for your complimentary consultation at 770-408-6364. We have locations in Atlanta, Woodstock, Cumming, Suwanee / Lawrenceville / Duluth, Dawsonville, and Roswell / Alpharetta, or we can come to you! We do not collect a dime until your case is settled.