FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2020
Georgia car insurance regulations require that drivers have car insurance. To maintain your driving privileges, registration and driving record, you must keep this coverage at all times. If you let it lapse, then significant traffic penalties might result. One of these might include the Georgia SR-22 penalty. Here’s what that could mean for your insurance future, and why you should try to avoid the penalty.
Understanding Georgia’s Car Insurance Laws
Georgia is an at-fault insurance state. This means that drivers who cause wrecks must pay for the damage costs. These costs might include harm done to other drivers, their passengers, pedestrians or the owner of property you hit with your car.
To pay for these losses, drivers typically use two types of auto liability insurance. Bodily injury liability coverage pays for a third party’s injury costs. Property damage liability coverage pays for damage to their belongings.
Because Georgia assigns fault, drivers must be able to take responsibility for liability costs. Therefore, drivers must carry car insurance. All policies issued to Georgia consumers must include:
$25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
$50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
$25,000 property damage liability coverage
No policy can include less coverage than these minimums. However, drivers can choose to buy additional liability coverage and other protection to more adequately insure themselves.
Because of these auto insurance laws, you can never drive without an active policy. If you disregard the rule, then you put yourself at risk of an SR-22 penalty.
If the police find out that you drive without insurance, then your penalty might be to enroll in an SR-22. SR-22s are forms that you will have to get from your insurance company and file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services. They prove for the state that you have active car insurance. They also require you to maintain coverage for at least three years.
The SR-22 serves as a way for the state to track and verify that you maintain insurance. So, if you ever let your car insurance lapse while carrying an SR-22, then the state will find out. Because you let your car insurance lapse, you violated the SR-22. Therefore, further penalties might result. Often, the penalty will start over, and you will likely lose your driving privileges for a period of time.
Why You Always Need Car Insurance
SR-22s are inconveniences because they often lead to higher car insurance premiums. However, they make sure drivers who have driven uninsured understand how important it actually is to have coverage.
When you drive uninsured you put both yourself and other drivers at risk. Remember, after an at-fault accident, you might have to pay for damage done to others. So, failing to have insurance might mean that you cannot meet this obligation. Therefore, you leave yourself at risk of legal challenges and the potential for financial hardship if you have to pay for such losses out-of-pocket.
Also, by not carrying coverage you won’t be able to have a resource for your own accident costs. Many car insurance policies offer coverage for your own vehicle damage or medical costs. Ask your agent about adding collision, comprehensive and medical payments coverage to your policy. You don’t have to carry this coverage, since the law doesn’t require it. However, if you might struggle to pay for repairs or hospital bills, then you can benefit from buying it.
Keep in mind that since insurance is the law, insurers have a right to keep an eye on a driver’s insurance history. As a result, drivers who have maintained coverage without any interruptions often receive favorable rates on future policies. They also don't run the risk of getting SR-22s. So, you can further stabilize your long-term car insurance cost outlook.
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