What is GEICS and How Does It Affect My Insurance?
See red and blue lights. Say a bad word. Hit the brakes. Pull out your license, registration and insurance card.
You know the drill; that’s how it goes. Except in Georgia, where your insurance card is not enough. That’s right: Insurance cards, whether paper or on your phone, are no longer accepted as proof of Georgia auto insurance. Instead, police and other authorities use the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System (GEICS) to confirm that you’re carrying liability insurance that meets Georgia’s minimum requirements.
Did you receive a warning letter from the state because you don’t have insurance? Compare.com can help you find cheap car insurance in Georgia: Start here. Now read our quick five-question Q&A on GEICS and make sure that you know the law.
1. Why Does Georgia use GEICS?
A car insurance card may look legit, but it doesn’t really mean anything. Some people buy a Georgia auto insurance policy and cancel after the first month — but their card still says their coverage is good for another five months. Other people try to get away with printing a fake auto insurance card. This, in case you hadn’t guessed, is a terrible idea that can get you in a lot of trouble.
In 2004, Georgia began using GEICS to cut down on the number of uninsured motorists in the state. When you buy Georgia car insurance, your insurer sends your VIN (vehicle identification number) to the GEICS database. If your VIN is in GEICS and also appears in the state’s tag and title database, called GRATIS (Georgia really loves acronyms), then you’re good to go. If the numbers don’t match up, you’ll get a warning in the mail.
2. How Do I Know My Georgia Insurance Policy is Recorded in GEICS?
You can check your own vehicle’s insurance and registration status. Go here and enter your VIN. You can find your VIN by looking at the top of the dashboard, or on the edge of the driver’s side door, or by pulling out your title.
3. What Happens if I Don’t Show Up in the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System?
First, double-check your VIN to make sure you entered it correctly. Still no results? Contact your insurance company right away to let them know that your coverage hasn’t been recorded in the state database.
If you just bought a new policy, it may take some time for it to appear in GEICS. When you switch insurance companies, the state gives your insurer 30 days to report your new policy. For 30 days after receiving notice that your old policy has been cancelled, your vehicle will still be listed as having valid insurance coverage.
After the 30th day, however, Georgia will send you a Notice of Pending Suspension if they haven’t yet received proof that you have a new policy. Your insurer then gets 30 more days to report your new policy. If they don’t, your status will be changed to “No Valid Insurance” and your registration will be suspended.
If the car in question has been sold or junked, or is no longer being used, you’ll need to cancel your vehicle registration using this form.
4. Will I Get in Trouble if I Don’t Have Auto Insurance in Georgia?
Oh yes, you will! GEICS makes it easy for the state to find out who has an uninsured vehicle — and they’ll make you pay for it. First, you’ll pay a $25 lapse fee if your car goes uninsured for 10 days or more. If you don’t pay that fee within 30 days, your registration will be suspended and you’ll get hit with a second penalty: a $60 suspension fee. You can only get your registration reinstated by paying the fee and providing proof of insurance.
If you have a second insurance suspension within five years, you’ll have to pay another $85 fine and your registration will be suspended for 90 days. A third insurance lapse means a $185 fine and a 6-month registration suspension.
Keep in mind that these are just the penalties if the state finds out through GEICS that you don’t have insurance. If you’re actually caught driving without insurance, that’s a misdemeanor that can mean fines of up to $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail.
5. How Can I Find Cheap Car Insurance in Georgia?
To drive legally, you need to carry at least the Georgia state minimum insurance: 25/50/25, which means $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 per accident, plus $25,000 in property damage liability. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find super-cheap auto insurance in Georgia. When you compare the average annual expenditure on car insurance, it’s the 12th most expensive state, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
But there’s hope. If you don’t have Georgia insurance, and you need to get it, fast, Compare.com can help. Just enter your ZIP code to start the quote process. We’ll show you the best quotes we can find from multiple insurers for the level of coverage you want. (Choose state minimum insurance if you want cheap GA insurance that’s enough to get your car back on the roads.) Just pick the best option, then click or call to buy!