Georgia Auto Insurance Requirements
We all share the same roads, meaning that any driver’s negligence can cause a car accident in Atlanta that seriously injures, or kills, any other driver. Any driver’s negligence can cause major damage to another vehicle or to other property, like a house it crashes into after losing control.
If the drivers responsible for accidents don’t have insurance to compensate for the injuries and property damage and don’t have the personal assets to compensate the victims, blameless victims may well be stuck paying for these losses.
So, it was decided as a matter of public policy many years ago that the best solution was to require that everyone operating a vehicle should carry at least some minimum level of insurance to guarantee that people injured by the vehicle were ensured of at least some recovery.
Georgia Mandatory Liability Insurance
Georgia law requires what people refer to as “25/50/25” liability insurance coverage. In English, that means you have to have insurance that will cover your legal liability for:
- $25,000 in physical injuries you caused to any one person in an accident
- $50,000 in physical injuries you caused to two or more people in an accident
- $25,000 in property damage you caused in an accident
Owners and lessees have to maintain at least those minimum coverages continuously — without any lapses — on all vehicles that have active registrations in Georgia. There are various penalties for violating the insurance requirements, including revocation of the vehicle’s registration and fines.
Be aware that the required insurance is liability insurance – it only covers injuries and damage that you cause to other people and property. If you want to have insurance against your own injuries and against damage to your own property, you have to voluntarily buy coverage beyond what Georgia requires, like medical payments insurance, collision insurance, and comprehensive insurance.
Georgia Proof of Insurance Requirements
You not only need to have the minimum insurance that Georgia requires of all drivers, you will have to prove that you have it if you want to:
- Register a vehicle in the state
- Replace, renew, or transfer your plates
- Operate a registered vehicle in the state
Unlike many states, Georgia doesn’t treat a vehicle insurance card as proof of insurance. Instead, the state maintains an electronic database called the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System (GEICS). It’s the responsibility of your insurer to get the accurate information about your insurance into that database, which can be accessed by law enforcement, including officers who stop your vehicle for any reason.
You still get an identification card from your insurer and should carry it in the vehicle for general purposes, including exchanging insurance information after accidents. The ID card also gives you the opportunity to see if the information on it is accurate. If there are mistakes, it’s likely that the same mistakes exist in the GEICS database. You need to call your insurer and get the problem straightened out.
Lender Insurance Requirements
The state isn’t the only entity that may require that you carry a specific type of insurance on your vehicle. For example, it’s pretty typical for lenders who provide the money for you to buy a vehicle to require that you maintain certain kinds of coverage. If you end up not repaying the loan, the lender needs the value of the car to be high enough that selling it will pay off the loan.
Lenders typically require that you insure the vehicle against damage that will reduce its value. Most commonly required are collision insurance, covering damage to your vehicle from accidents, and comprehensive insurance, covering damage to your vehicle from other causes.