What happens when car insurance won't cover your losses?

You've invested in a great auto insurance policy and paid your premium for years. You're a careful driver, but then one day you get into an accident caused by another driver. Maybe the other person ran a red light or failed to stop. Maybe he or she turned or merged into you without checking the lane due to distraction. Whatever the cause, you likely assume that your insurance or the insurance of the other driver will cover the property damage and medical costs associated with the crash.

Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. Sometimes the other driver has decided to break the law by getting behind the wheel without an active insurance policy on the vehicle. Other times, the injuries and damage to your vehicle far exceed the coverage of a policy that only offers the Georgia state minimum coverage.

What is the minimum coverage in Georgia?

Georgia requires that everyone who operates a vehicle registered in the state carry a liability insurance policy that covers $25,000 of property damage and $25,000 of medical costs for a single injured party or $50,000 for two or more injured parties. When another person is at fault for a crash, typically that person's liability coverage will pay for your medical costs and property losses.

Unfortunately, it's easy to see how minimum coverage may not be enough, depending on your situation. A person in a new vehicle could easily face costs well over $25,000 to repair or replace the vehicle. Medical costs in accidents with serious injuries can easily surpass $25,000 or even $50,000. Between emergency transportation to the hospital, surgeries, bone setting, physical therapy and ongoing care, a few days of trauma care could easily eat through the entire amount covered under the policy. When that happens, you could end up stuck with a mountain of bills because of someone else's mistake.

Civil lawsuits can help you recover those losses

People generally do not want to file frivolous lawsuits or get litigious for no reason. However, you shouldn't have to go into debt, lose your home or struggle to make ends meet because someone else injured you or a loved one.

Injuries including spinal injuries and brain injuries could prevent a member of your family from ever returning to work. They could also require ongoing medical care, including daily nursing assistance, for the rest of the victim's life. You and your family may have to consider a lawsuit in order to recoup those losses. If insurance won't cover all of the medical bills or property damage resulting from an accident, you shouldn't have to worry about whether you can afford monthly bills or medical care as a result of an accident.

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