Some drivers do not fully appreciate the value of uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage until they are actually in a collision and the other driver is not insured. Despite the saying that “it is better late than never,” the time to confirm that you have UM coverage is prior to when you actually need to rely on it to cover accident-related losses. Georgia UM coverage is a valuable form of financial security when you are involved in a hit-and-run or a collision involving a driver with no insurance or insufficient insurance to compensate you for your loss. Although insurance companies in Georgia are required to offer UM coverage, many people decline such coverage because they do not fully appreciate its value. This article explains one of the benefits of stackable UM coverage as authorized by a 2008 change in Georgia law.
Stackable UM Coverage vs. Traditional UM Coverage
UM coverage was traditionally capped based on the difference between an insured’s UM policy limits and the amount of liability coverage carried by an at-fault driver. In essence, traditional UM policies only permitted drivers to use that part of their UM coverage that exceeded the policy limits of the other driver’s liability coverage. The easiest way to understand this is by looking at an example:
- While a driver is stopped at a red light, another motorist who is sending a text and not paying attention to traffic rear-ends the first car. The medical bills, lost wages and other damages that the driver incurs are worth a combined amount of $125,000 or more and the driver who was hit has $100,000 in UM coverage. The at fault driver has only $25,000 in liability coverage. With traditional UM coverage, the at-fault driver’s insurance would pay for the first $25,000 of the claim. Although it might look like the entire amount of your loss will be covered because you have a $100,000 UM limit, traditional UM coverage requires that the $25,000 liability coverage be deducted from your available UM policy limit. In other words, you are paying for $100,000 in UM coverage, but you will only be allowed to use $75,000 of this coverage.
A change in Georgia’s insurance law concerning UM coverage, which became effective in 2009, requires that all insurer’s offer policyholders “add-on,” also known as “excess,” UM coverage as an option when writing an insurance policy. Excess UM permits policyholders to use the full amount of their UM coverage in addition to the liability coverage limit of the at-fault driver. While this form of coverage will involve a slightly higher premium than traditional UM coverage, it can have enormous value. If we consider our example above, the insured would be entitled to policy limits of both the UM policy ($100,000) and the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage ($25,000). Thus, the driver in the example above would be able to recover put to $125,000 instead of $100,000.
Put Our Law Firm’s Over 39 Years of Experience to Work For Your Claim
At Montlick and Associates, our law firm works diligently for each client in pursuit of a reputation as the best personal injury law firm in Georgia. Contact Montlick and Associates to set up a free consultation, so we can advise you of your rights and pursue the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to receive. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 39 years, including cities and rural areas. No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.
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