GAAIP: What You Need to Know
To drive legally in Georgia, you’ve got to have car insurance. But what if nobody will cover you?
If you’ve tried to compare quotes for GA auto insurance, only to come up empty-handed because you’re considered a high-risk driver, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. And you can still get insurance — although it might be expensive. We’ll explain what the Georgia Automobile Insurance Plan, or GAAIP, is and how it can help you.
How Does High-Risk Auto Insurance Work in Georgia?
Let’s say you have a few black marks on your driving record: a DUI from a couple years ago, a recent speeding ticket and a two-month lapse in car insurance. Hey, we all make mistakes! Unfortunately, insurance companies may decide they don’t want to provide coverage for you because you’re too high a risk. What should you do now?
All is not lost. The Georgia Automobile Insurance Plan provides high-risk auto insurance coverage to eligible people who aren’t able to get insurance on their own. The GAAIP isn’t an independent insurance company. Instead, it’s a way for Georgia auto insurance companies to share the financial burden of providing coverage to high-risk drivers.
How Do I Know if I’m a High-Risk Driver?
First, you should know that being considered “high-risk” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a dangerous driver or a bad driver. It’s not an assessment of your skill. It just means that, according to insurance companies’ computer algorithms, you may be more likely to file an insurance claim, compared to a low-risk driver.
There’s no hard and fast definition of a high-risk driver, but there are certain factors most insurance companies consider. You may be high-risk if:
- You’re a new driver who just got your driver’s license
- You’ve caused at least one at-fault car accident
- You’ve got a bunch of speeding tickets or other traffic-related convictions
- You’ve been convicted of a DUI/DWI
- You’ve filed multiple auto insurance claims
- You let your car insurance lapse
- You’ve never had car insurance before
- You have bad credit
How Do I Apply for GAAIP Insurance?
Any insurance agent holding a valid property and casualty license for the state of Georgia has the ability to write a policy through the Georgia Automobile Insurance Plan. To be eligible, you have to show that you’ve made a good-faith effort to get auto insurance coverage from at least two companies in the last 60 days, and you’ve been turned down. You also need a valid driver’s license and a car registered in your name.
Then, you’ll be assigned to an insurance company. Every car insurance company that does business in Georgia is required to participate in GAAIP. If you don’t like the company you’re assigned to, you can request a different one. If you don’t like the high insurance rates, however, you’re probably out of luck. GAAIP rates are going to be expensive, no matter which company ends up insuring you, just because you’re a high-risk driver.
GAAIP isn’t required to provide you with an insurance policy. If you have a history of not paying your premiums, for instance, or if your license is suspended, the plan may decline to offer you coverage.
How Long Will GAAIP Cover Me?
Once you get auto insurance through GAAIP, you can keep it for three years. But you don’t really want to do that! If you currently have a high-risk auto insurance plan in Georgia, you should frequently check to see if you can find cheaper insurance.
Every six months or so, compare quotes to see if you qualify for cheaper car insurance rates. (Make sure you’re honest about your driving history, or your quotes won’t be accurate.) Once you find a better deal, switch insurance companies when your GAAIP policy ends. You can cancel your old policy and switch mid-term, but you may end up paying a cancellation fee of 10 percent of your unused premiums. (The rest will be refunded).
How Long Will I be Considered a High-Risk Driver?
There’s no magic solution, but time is your friend. Most insurance companies have a five-year look-back period, which means they look at the last five years of your driving history when setting rates. This varies by state; in Washington and Virginia, for instance, insurers can only look at your driving record for the last 36 months. In Georgia, insurers can see the last seven years of your driving history, including any DUIs. Points remain on your license for two years.
If you’re a high-risk driver, you may want to take a defensive-driving class and work on improving behaviors that have gotten you in trouble before, like speeding or distracted driving. It goes without saying that you should never, ever drink and drive.
You can also try to rebuild your credit by paying your bills on time, although we know that can be tough when you have fat auto insurance premiums to pay. Remember that Compare.com wants to help you find the cheapest Georgia auto insurance you qualify for — keep comparing quotes until you get a rate you’re truly happy with.