If you own a car that is registered in the state of Georgia, you must carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Driving without car insurance is illegal in Georgia, and if you get caught, you will face hefty consequences. It is important for drivers to understand the state’s car insurance laws and the penalty for driving without insurance in Georgia.
Georgia car insurance laws
Georgia car insurance laws state that drivers must have insurance and maintain continuous insurance in order to legally operate their vehicle. Drivers are required to carry 25/50/25 personal liability insurance, which includes:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident
Additionally, Georgia law requires drivers to carry proof of insurance in their vehicle at all times. If a law enforcement officer requests to see proof of insurance and you cannot provide acceptable documentation, you will face penalties. In Georgia, physical and electronic proof of insurance are both allowed.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Georgia
If you get caught driving without insurance in Georgia, be prepared to face serious repercussions. This offense is punishable with a misdemeanor and it includes a fine of up to $1,000. For a first offense, the driver will lose their license for 60 days, and for two or more offenses, the driver will lose their license for a minimum of 90 days. Drivers can also face up to one year in jail.
In most states, drivers who get their license suspended after an insurance-related offense can get their license back after they show proof of insurance. But in Georgia, drivers are not so lucky. Georgia law states that drivers who get their license taken away cannot drive for the entire suspension period. After the suspension period is over, the driver will pay a license reinstatement fee of $200 for a first offense and $300 for a second offense.
Georgia drivers who lose their license following an insurance-related suspension also need to get an SR-22, which is a certificate that proves you meet the state’s minimum liability insurance requirement. In Georgia, an SR-22 will stay on your record for three years. Having an SR-22 on your record will significantly raise your car insurance rates until the certificate is no longer required.
Getting into an accident without insurance
Getting into an accident in Georgia without car insurance will land you in a tricky situation. If you cause the accident, you will be financially responsible for compensating the other driver and their passengers for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress and vehicle damages. If the other driver takes you to court, you will have to cover your legal fees and the settlement.
If you get hit by an insured driver but do not have your own insurance policy, you may be able to sue the other driver for your losses. Georgia does not have a No Pay, No Play law, which typically prohibits uninsured drivers from collecting money from an insured driver who hits them. However, there may be a limit to how much money you can recoup from an insured driver.
The other caveat to this rule is that you cannot legally sue an insured driver for accident-related losses if you are 50% or more at fault for the crash. Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence law to assign blame and financial responsibility after an accident. If you are 49% responsible or less, you have grounds to sue the insured driver.
Suing another driver for your losses means you might be able to get reimbursed for your medical bills or vehicle damages. However, you would be financially responsible for the cost of your legal defense, something that liability insurance usually covers. Even if you take the insured driver to court and win, most of your settlement money could go towards the lawyer fees, leaving you with little earnings.
Ultimately, drivers in Georgia should not assume that a no-fault accident will be covered by the other driver’s insurance company. Even if your losses are covered, having an accident on your driving record will impact the cost of your car insurance policy when you eventually do purchase a policy.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance in Georgia?
The best car insurance in Georgia is different for each driver. Some drivers are looking for the best discounts, some are looking for the lowest rates and others are looking for specialty coverages, like new car replacement or rideshare insurance. Drivers in Georgia should shop around, compare providers and get multiple quotes to determine which car insurance company is right for their needs.
How much does car insurance cost in Georgia?
In Georgia, the average cost of car insurance is $2,000 per year for full coverage insurance and $654 per year for minimum coverage insurance. For comparison, the average cost of full coverage insurance in the United States is $1,738. Car insurance rates in Georgia are slightly more expensive than the national average rate. However, keep in mind that car insurance rates are personalized based on factors like your ZIP code, credit score, claims history, age, the type of car you drive and your deductible.
Is Georgia a no-fault state?
No, Georgia is not a no-fault state. Georgia is a fault state, also called a tort state. If a driver gets into an accident in a fault state, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating the other driver for their losses.