Here’s what Georgia drivers need to know about getting affordable car insurance.
No matter where you live in the Peach State, whether it’s Downtown Atlanta or historic Savannah or the peanut farms of the Coastal Plain, you probably rely on a car to get you where you need to go. Georgia has some seven million drivers, and those drivers have their own state-specific needs when it comes to finding the best car insurance.
While car insurance rates in Georgia aren’t among the highest in the nation, they were still above the national average. In 2015, the average annual cost of car insurance in Georgia was $1,048.40, slightly more than the national average that year, which was $1,009.38.
The relatively high cost of car insurance in Georgia means it’s all the more important for Georgia drivers to find the best, most affordable coverage.
There are also some other state-specific car insurance considerations for Georgia drivers, like the minimum insurance requirements. And depending on where in Georgia you are, you may be at risk for tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding, all of which can leave your vehicle with serious damage. That’s why Georgia drivers should consider coverage to protect their vehicles in case of damage from extreme weather.
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Almost every U.S. state requires that drivers carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance. In most states, drivers are required to carry liability insurance, which protects you from the costs if you damage someone’s property or injure others with your car. While some states require drivers to have more than just liability insurance, Georgia is not one of those states.
Georgia just requires drivers to have a certain amount of liability coverage, and other coverages that are required in other states, like personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, are optional. Here’s a closer look:
Bodily injury liability coverage per person: $25,000
Bodily injury liability coverage per accident: $50,000
Property damage liability coverage: $25,000
Personal injury protection: Optional
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Optional
Remember, Georgia state minimum requirements are just a starting place when it comes to car insurance. Having your coverage limits set at the bare minimum can leave you unprotected in the event of an accident.
Say you’re the at-fault driver in an accident and you cause $80,000 in damage. If your property damage liability is set at the state minimum, you’ll be on the hook for tens of thousands of thousands of dollars you have to pay out of pocket.
And only having liability coverage means any damage to your own vehicle wouldn’t be covered. To insure your vehicle is protected, you’ll want to add comprehensive and collision coverage to your policy. If you lease or finance a car, your lessor or lienholder will likely require you to add comp and collision to your car insurance policy.
|Insurance Company||J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating||Market Share||A.M. Best Rating|
|Berkshire Hathaway (GEICO)||857||11.81%||A++|
_Methodology: These five insurers represent the largest auto insurers operating in the state of Georgia, according to the NAIC. The claims satisfaction ratings are according to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
Coverage and claims: USAA - USAA, which stands for United Services Automobile Association, is known for best-in-industry claims satisfaction ratings that put it above every other company in the game. However USAA car insurance is only available to drivers who are associated with the U.S. military, whether you’re active duty military, in the National Guard, or the immediate family member of a current USAA member. That said, if you qualify for USAA car insurance, you’re in for unparalleled customer service at affordable prices.
Low rates and discounts: GEICO - GEICO is an affordable carrier that stands out by offering a wide range of discounts on car insurance, including discounts for federal employees, the company’s original clientele. GEICO also offers a range of more standard discounts, including discounts for vehicle features like having an anti-theft system, discounts for safe driving and discounts for belonging to certain organizations.
Digital tools: Allstate - Allstate’s well-designed and straightforward website, which offers features like quizzes and an easy-to-use online quote generator, will appeal to tech-savvy Georgia drivers. Allstate also offers a smartphone app that lets drivers report and follow claims, take photos of damage, and contact Allstate — all fairly standard for carrier apps. But the Allstate app also includes a cheap gas locator and a parking space reminder, fun features that are a little less standard.
Teen drivers: State Farm - Young, inexperienced drivers can send your insurance rates through the roof, but State Farm offers some tools to help ease the strain off adding a teen driver to your policy. Its Steer Clear program, for drivers under 25, lets younger drivers use an app to track their driving, take educational quizzes and watch videos. Completing the program can earn drivers a discount on their premiums.
According to a 2017 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in 2015, the average annual cost of car insurance in Georgia was $1,048.40, higher than the average cost of car insurance in the U.S. that year,which was $1,009.38. Here’s that information broken down by the average cost of different types of coverage.
While Georgia only requires its drivers to carry liability insurance, as we explained above, in order to protect yourself and your vehicle you’ll need more than just the state minimums. Consider adding coverage like uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself in case of an accident with an uninsured driver, or comp and collision to protect your vehicle.
Liability coverage - Covers you if you damage someone’s property or injure someone in a car accident.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage - Covers you if you’re in an accident caused by someone who doesn’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of the damage they caused.
Personal injury protection - Often shortened to PIP, this covers medical expenses and lost wages if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident.
Collision coverage - Covers damage to your vehicle from an accident, regardless of which driver was at fault.
Comprehensive coverage - Covers damage to your vehicle that can happen when it’s not being driven, like damage from extreme weather, falling objects, fire, flood, vandalism and theft.
Georgia is an “at-fault” car insurance state, meaning that after an accident, the at-fault driver is responsible for the damage or injuries they caused. If you’re in an accident caused by another driver, then their insurance will cover your injuries and damage to your property. (As opposed to a no-fault state, where drivers must get compensation for their damage or injuries through their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault.) In no-fault states, drivers are required to have personal injury protection to cover themselves in case of an accident, but in an at-fault state like Georgia, any damage or injuries would be covered by the at-fault party’s liability insurance.
Flooding and tornadoes are extreme weather events that some Georgia residents may have to deal with, depending on where in the state they live. And snow has been known to shut down Atlanta roads. That’s why Georgia drivers should consider comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your vehicle from extreme weather, like tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding.
Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius, where she has been since 2018. An expert in home, auto and renters insurance, she loves making tough concepts easy to understand and helping readers feel confident about their insurance options. Before joining Policygenius, she was a senior staff writer at Mic. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.
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