Georgia Car Insurance Guide
Feel like it’s tough to find car insurance you can actually afford? You’re not alone. In Georgia, rates are on the rise — they increased 12.2 percent, on average, in 2016. How can you beat this trend? And how much car insurance do you really need in GA, anyway? We’ll tell you.
But if you don’t have time to read all this, you can skip the explanations and just start getting quotes for cheap car insurance on Compare.com. We make it easy for Georgia drivers to compare personalized quotes side by side and pick their best option.
What are Georgia’s Auto Insurance Requirements?
Let’s start with the basics. To drive legally in Georgia, you need insurance that includes $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 per accident. Bodily injury liability pays for other people’s medical bills and lost wages when they’re hurt in an accident you’re legally liable for. You also need to carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability, which pays for damage to other people’s cars and property in an accident you’re responsible for. The shorthand for Georgia’s auto insurance requirements is 25/50/25 — that’s what you’ll see when you’re shopping for insurance.
Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Georgia?
While it’s not technically required, insurance companies are required to offer you uninsured motorist (UM) coverage when you’re buying a policy. That means UM coverage will be part of your insurance policy unless you formally reject it in writing. And that’s not a bad thing! UM coverage protects you if you get injured or your car gets smashed in a collision with an uninsured driver. In Georgia, about 12 percent of drivers have no insurance.
How Do I Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance in Georgia?
In general, Georgia car insurance is not super cheap. The state ranks 18th overall for the average annual amount spent on auto insurance.
However, averages don’t mean a whole lot when you’re shopping for car insurance. That’s because rates are customized for every person. If you’re young or single, or if you have a few dings on your credit history or driving record, you’ll see higher car insurance rates.
Here’s the good news: finding the cheapest insurance policy for you is easy. Just compare Georgia auto insurance quotes side by side and pick the lowest one. Compare.com makes it easy, because you only have to enter your basic info one time to get quotes from several insurance companies.
Before you get those quotes, we’ll ask you to pick one of four levels of coverage: State Minimum, Basic, Plus or Premium. If your goal is to find the absolute cheapest Georgia car insurance, start with state minimum coverage. This will give you quotes for a no-frills policy that meets Georgia’s state minimum requirements and also includes 25/50/25 uninsured motorist coverage. Then, we’ll show you personalized quotes from multiple insurers, and you can pick the cheapest.
Should I Carry More Than the Georgia State Minimum Insurance?
The short answer: Yes. Car insurance exists to protect you, and the minimum insurance just doesn’t give you a lot of protection. Georgia’s 25/50/25 minimums aren’t super low — but if you’re at fault in an accident that causes lasting, serious injuries to the other driver, $25,000 probably won’t be enough to protect you if you get sued. Insurance experts say it’s smart to carry much higher coverage to protect yourself: 100/300 limits for bodily injury liability coverage ($100,000 per person/$300,000 for all people injured in one accident.) But that’s expensive!
Compare.com can help you find the perfect middle ground: cheap Georgia auto insurance that still protects you and your car. Here’s how to do it. Start with your personalized quotes for state minimum insurance. As an example, we ran the numbers for a 27-year-old woman with a good driving record who lives in Athens, GA. When she opts to pay her premiums up front (avoiding a down payment and installment fees), her best quote for state minimum insurance is $89 per month.
Then, select the next highest coverage level — Basic — and compare quotes again. For Georgia drivers, Basic coverage includes the same 25/50/25 bodily injury liability and uninsured motorist coverage, but adds comprehensive and collision coverage (which protects your own car) with a $1,000 deductible. For Basic coverage, our Athens driver’s best quote is $143 per month.
To get a complete picture of how much Georgia car insurance might cost for you, get quotes for the Plus level of coverage, too. Plus ups your bodily injury and property damage liability to 50/100/50 and adds $2,000 in medical payments. It also drops your comprehensive/collision deductibles to $500, and adds towing/rental car coverage. For our Athens driver, her best quote for this coverage is $178 per month. It’s not super cheap, but it may be worth her peace of mind to carry Plus-level car insurance.
When you’re comparing quotes, you can also click “Customize coverage” to adjust your deductibles, add or delete towing and rental car coverage, and choose specific coverage limits.
Is Georgia a No-Fault Insurance State?
Nope! Georgia is a traditional tort insurance state. That means that if you’re hurt in an accident, you have the right to sue the other driver for damages related to your injuries, pain and suffering, etc. And if you’re at fault in an accident, you can be sued by other drivers.
Georgia is also a comparative fault state. This means that fault in an accident can be assigned, on a percentage basis, to both drivers. Let’s say you were driving 10 miles over the speed limit on a wet road when you’re hit by a driver who rolled through a stop sign. The other driver may be 70 percent at fault, but your own driving behavior contributed 30 percent to the accident. So if you successfully sue the other driver for $100,000 in damages, you would only receive 70 percent, or $70,000.
Do I Need Medical Payments Coverage in Georgia?
While it’s not mandatory, MedPay coverage is nice to have. It can pay your medical expenses (and your passengers’, too) if you’re hurt in an accident, no matter who’s at fault. It’s especially useful for out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles. Medical payments coverage is cheap, too; the limits are low and it adds a negligible amount to your monthly premiums.
I Can’t Afford Georgia Car Insurance. What Happens if I Drive Without Insurance?
Don’t do it! Letting your insurance lapse for 10 days or more can result in a fine and a suspended registration. You’ll have to pay a $25 lapse fine and a $60 reinstatement fee to drive legally again (for a first offense).
Now, if you get caught actually driving in Georgia without insurance, the penalties are harsher. Your driver’s license will be suspended, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor, and you may have to pay a fine of $200 to $1000. Up to a year of jail time is possible, as well.
We’ll help you compare the cheapest Georgia car insurance options. Start now.