(US Law) This is an article from our personal injury website regarding the importance of having UM coverage and lots of it on your automobile insurance. As an Atlanta auto accident attorney, I too often have clients involved in car accidents with an at-fault driver who only has minimum liability coverage ($25,000.00 in the State of Georgia) and want to know if there is any other coverage available to cover their claim. The short answer is most likely yes. It is called UM coverage.
UM coverage differs from liability coverage, which only protects your assets and provides payments for a person who sustained damages in an accident that was your fault. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you by providing coverage to you in the event that a person who causes an accident in which you sustain damage is either uninsured or underinsured. Your UM coverage limits are shown separately on your insurance card.
The hard part is determining whether your UM coverage will apply to cover you for your injuries and if so, to what extend. It use to be an easier question to answer because there was only one type of UM coverage available to Georgia auto insureds—Reduced Coverage UM. Reduced coverage UM limits will provide you coverage for the difference between the coverage the at-fault party has and the amount of coverage you purchase. For example, if the at-fault party has $25,000.00 in coverage and you have $50,000.00 of UM coverage, the at-fault party’s insurance with pay you its limits of $25,000.00 and then your insurance company will pay you $25,000.00, for a total of $50,000.00 all together for your claim. Likewise, if there is $25,000.00 coverage under both the at-fault insurance and your UM coverage, your UM coverage will not apply since there is no difference between what the at-fault party has and your UM limit.
The recently added UM coverage product required to be offered to insurance customers is what is called “Add-on coverage.” Under this new coverage, the UM limit provides additional coverage to you up to the limits of coverage you purchase. Using the same number from above: if the at fault driver had minimum coverage of only $25,000.00 and you had $50,000.00 of add-on uninsured motorist coverage, you could receive the $25,000.00 from the at-fault insurance company and $50,000.00 from your own insurance company for a total of $75,000.00. If both of you have $25,000.00 of coverage, no longer will your UM coverage not apply. You could receive $50,000.00 total in this scenario with add-on UM.
It is important to note that in order to get Add-on coverage, you must specifically purchase it from your insurance agent for a higher premium. The passage of the new law in 2008 allowing for such coverage in Georgia does not mean it is automatic.
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