How Much Auto Insurance Do I Need?
Injury & Accident Attorney Serving Nearby Areas of Columbus & Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama
This content has been reviewed by Gary O. Bruce
Most states require drivers to carry auto insurance if they own a vehicle. This is because if you cause an accident that results in property damage or injuries, you are financially liable for those damages and the state wants to make sure you have a way to pay for them.
There are more types of auto insurance available than you are legally required to purchase. However, that doesn’t mean you should always purchase the bare minimum of coverage! Buying additional insurance could, in the long run, help not only the other driver if you cause a crash, but you as well!
The 5 Types of Auto Insurance
Liability Coverage: If you cause an accident, the person who you hit can get compensation for both their vehicle damage and injuries through your liability coverage. Unfortunately, your liability coverage will NOT provide you compensation for your own vehicle damage or injuries.
Collision Coverage: Your collision coverage will provide compensation to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, collision coverage will not provide any compensation for your injuries, or for any damage to your vehicle that wasn’t caused in a collision.
Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage covers all vehicle damage that collision coverage doesn’t. For example, if your car was damaged in a storm, after hitting an animal, was broken into, or stolen, you could get compensation from your comprehensive coverage.
Medical Payments (Med Pay) Coverage: Collision and comprehensive coverage only cover your vehicle damage and won’t cover your medical expenses if you are injured in a crash. Medical payments coverage does cover your medical bills after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, if you have good health insurance, med pay insurance may not be a necessary expense for you.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If you are hit by a driver who is illegally driving without insurance, you can file a claim for compensation through your own uninsured motorist coverage. And if you are hit by a driver who only purchased the minimum amount of insurance, but your accident-related expenses are way more than that amount, you can apply for additional compensation through your underinsured motorist coverage. These two types of insurance are usually packaged together.
What is the Minimum Amount of Coverage I Legally Need?
In Georgia and Alabama, you are only legally required to purchase liability coverage. Both states also follow a 25/50/25 rule for coverage, which means drivers need to purchase a minimum of:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 for property damage coverage per accident
However, as you can see, only purchasing the minimum amount of coverage can leave you high and dry in an accident with no way to pay any of your own bills, especially if the other driver doesn’t have insurance.
That’s why we always recommend purchasing auto insurance with liability limits of at least 50/100/50, and uninsured/underinsured coverage in the same amount, if you can afford to do so.
What Happens If the Damages Exceed My Insurance?
If you are found at fault for an accident, but the amount of insurance you purchased isn’t enough to cover the other person’s damages, they may try to seek extra compensation through their own underinsured motorist coverage if they have any. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are off the hook either.
The injured party may be able to seek the extra amount from you personally, either by getting a judge to garnish your wages or by placing a lien on your property. Preventing this from happening is another reason why we recommend purchasing more than the minimum amount of liability coverage.
Insurance Makes All the Difference in a Crash
Unfortunately, even when you have all the insurance you need, the insurance company doesn’t always want to pay. That’s where we come in.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, and the insurance company is refusing to pay you what you’re owed, call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce. We’ve worked with many injury victims who’ve been in your situation, and we know how to fight back against insurance companies who try to get out of paying legitimate claims.
When you call, you’ll get a free, no obligation consultation that will help you learn what you may be owed, so don’t hesitate to get in touch today.