How Vehicle Damage Is Paid After a Georgia Car Accident with Injuries

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Key Points:

  • The cost to repair vehicle damage can be recovered from an at-fault driver or their insurance company or from your own insurance company if you have collision coverage.
  • Auto insurance companies often determine a car’s worth based on its cash value according to car sales platforms, like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or Autotrader. 
  • Additional damages for personal injuries suffered in a car accident can be recovered from the bodily injury portions of an insurance policy.

When people are injured in car accidents, it’s common for the vehicles involved to be heavily damaged. If a vehicle is repairable, the repair costs can usually be recovered from the negligent driver’s insurance company, or repaired by your own insurance company – but you may have to pay a deductible.

When a car or truck is damaged to the point where it can’t be fixed and is deemed a total loss, then the market value of the vehicle can be recovered.

Damage to cars, trucks and motorcycles is recovered from the property damage portion of a motor vehicle insurance policy. Personal injury damages are paid from the bodily injury portion of insurance policies.

Understanding Insurance Coverage for Vehicle Damage Recovery

If you are involved in an accident and another driver was responsible, then it’s crucial to know what property damage liability coverage the other driver had at the time of the accident. The adjuster handling the claim can mail or email you the at-fault driver’s policy declarations page, which will state the amount of property and bodily injury coverage that driver has.

Property damage insurance covers the vehicle and other property damage that is caused by the at-fault driver. If the at-fault driver is not insured, has minimal insurance, or his or her insurance company it taking a long time t process the claim, you may make a property damage claim through your own insurance company – but you will usually have to pay a deductible.

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Georgia’s Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage Law

Drivers in Georgia are required to carry minimum auto insurance coverages as follows:

  • A minimum of $25,000 bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 per accident.
  • A minimum of $25,000 in property damage liability and $50,000 per accident.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage of $25,000 with a deductible range between $250 and 1,000.

Driving without the necessary insurance coverage is against Georgia law and can result in criminal charges.

How Auto Insurance Companies Value Totaled Vehicles

Many serious accidents leave vehicles so badly damaged that the vehicle cannot be repaired or cannot be repaired for less than the cost of replacing the car or truck. When determining a car’s value, auto insurance companies will typically focus on what the vehicle could have been sold for before the accident occurred.

Auto insurance companies generally rely on the up-to-date actual cash value of the car. These values are determined from popular used car sales platforms, like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or Autotrader. These resources can be helpful in evaluating a car’s value by providing recent sales data for other cars of the same make, model, year, mileage and condition.

Cars lose their value quickly for a variety of reasons. When a vehicle’s value depreciates more quickly than the loan used to buy the car, unfortunately, accident victims may find they still owe more on the loan than the money being offered for payment.  

Is It Possible to Get More Than Cash Value for a Totaled Vehicle?

Usually not from the property damage portion of either the at-fault driver’s or your own insurance policy. However, in certain limited circumstances you may also be able to recover damages for loss of use of a vehicle and for the contents of your car or truck, if damaged. Additionally, if your car is totaled in an accident and you were injured, you may also be entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages in a separate bodily injury or personal injury settlement.

What Happens If Your Vehicle Was More Valuable Than the Other Driver’s Policy Limit?

Vehicles are becoming more expensive and valuable, and policy limits aren’t increasing to match the growing vehicle costs. Additionally, and unfortunately, Georgia has many careless and thoughtless drivers who are illegally driving without insurance. For these reasons, we recommend that you obtain “add-on” underinsured motorist coverage in the amount at least as much as the value of your car.

When you hold this type of insurance, it will be there to cover you if you still have remaining costs that go above and beyond the other driver’s policy limits.

Whose Insurance Coverage Pays for Rental Car Costs?

In Georgia, the at-fault party is responsible for the costs incurred in the accident, including any rental car costs.

Otherwise, you can have your car rental costs paid for by your own insurance if you purchased additional rental car coverage with your auto insurance policy. Rental insurance coverage is not required in Georgia.

Consultations Are Free at The Millar Law Firm

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, make sure you seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer before settling your claim. Don’t make an expensive mistake.

We can help. Call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.


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