Residents of Georgia – the “Peach State”– are required by law to carry auto insurance. High risk drivers who have difficulty finding coverage in the voluntary insurance market can turn to the Georgia Automobile Insurance Plan. This organization assigns high risk drivers to insurers, although those drivers will pay much higher rates than policies in the voluntary market. If you have to use GAAIP as a last resort, you’d be wise to improve your driving record in order to become eligible for the regular market and for better auto insurance rates in Georgia.
What is the Georgia Automobile Insurance Plan? (GAAIP)
According to Georgia’s Office of Insurance, GAAIP “was created to provide automobile insurance coverage to eligible risks who seek coverage and are unable to obtain such coverage through the voluntary market.” All companies writing auto insurance in Georgia must cover high risk drivers as well. Any licensed Property and Casualty insurance agent in Georgia can advise you about GAAIP rates and coverages. While GAAIP will assign you to an insurer, you can request a different insurer if you choose. If that insurance company is maxed out on its high risk driver quota, you may be assigned to a different company. High risk drivers in Georgia are allotted to insurance companies based on each company’s overall share of the auto insurance market in Georgia.
In order to be eligible for GAAIP, Georgia requires you to certify that you’ve tried and failed to find auto insurance coverage from a minimum of two companies within the last 60 days.
If that is the case, then as long as you (1) have a car registered (or about to be registered) in Georgia, and (2) hold a valid driver’s license, you can apply for insurance through GAAIP. GAAIP can turn you down if:
- you don’t have a valid driver’s license
- you’ve failed to pay an insurance premium in the past 12 months
- you don’t comply with “reasonable safety requirements” as provided for in the policy form
- you interfere with any information gathering that Georgia’s Driver Service Center conducts to verify your information.
The good news is that you can reapply for assignment through GAAIP as soon as the problem is resolved.
Once you are assigned an insurer, you will be covered for three years. At the end of that time, you will have to look for insurance in the voluntary market once again. If your status as a high risk driver has not improved, you will be allowed to apply through GAAIP again. However, if your driving has improved and you find an insurer in the voluntary market, you can cancel your policy through GAAIP. Note that the old insurance company will keep the premium for the period you’ve been covered plus 10% of the pro rata unearned premium for the rest of the policy term. The balance of the money will be returned to you.
Because high risk drivers tend to have more accidents and make more claims, rates for those who enter the residual pool through GAAIP tend to be significantly higher than the same policies in the voluntary market.
GAAIP offers high risk drivers the same mandatory coverages as those normally found in Georgia’s voluntary market. These include:
|Georgia Minimum and GAAIP Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||25,000|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||Unlimited*|
The following optional coverages are also offered, with premiums that will vary based on insurer. You can request higher limits for Bodily Injury coverage – up to $100/$300,000. Likewise, you can request Property Damage coverage up to $50,000. Either will result in a higher premium.
|Optional Coverages through GAAIP|
|Medical Payments Coverage||From $1,000 to $50,000|
|Uninsured Motorist Coverage||$25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident, $25,000 for PD|
|Comprehensive||Actual Cash Value at time of loss|
|Collision||Actual Cash Value at time of loss|
|Loss of Use||$15/day up to $450|
Loss of Use covers your costs for renting a car while your own vehicle is repaired or replaced. If you choose to buy comprehensive or collision coverage, you must present your vehicle to the insurer for inspection. If you don’t, your policy will be written without these coverages. Coverage limits for comprehensive and collision insurance will vary by insurer. The coverage limit will be the “Actual Cash Value” of your vehicle – as opposed to the replacement cost. Discuss with you insurer what this means for your particular vehicle. According to the Insurance Information Institute, some 11.7% of Georgia drivers were uninsured in 2012.
GAAIP Premiums and Payments
In Georgia, insurance premiums are set based on multiple factors including your age, make and model of your vehicle, use of vehicle, driver record, and where you live.
Be sure to carry proof of insurance with you when you drive. This is essential in case you are in an accident and need to exchange insurance information with other drivers. Note that carrying an insurance card is not enough if you are pulled over by Georgia law enforcement. The officer will look you up in the GEICS database, to which all insurers are responsibile for sumitting your insurance information, to verify your insurance coverage. If your insurance coverage is not verified, your vehicle registration may be suspended or revoked.
Georgia has a number of payment options:
- Full Annual Premium Payment Option – pay 100% of your premium annually in a lump sum.
- Advanced Premium Payment Option – pay 30% of the annual premium up front, and the rest within 30 days.
- Installment Premium Payment Option – pay 25% of the annual premium up front, and then take 5 months to pay the remainder in equal monthly installments. A small service fee is charged for this payment option.
If you are deemed a financial risk as well, and required to carry an SR-22 form, then you only have the option of paying 100% of your annual premium up front.
How to Get Insurance through GAAIP
Contact any licensed auto insurance company in Georgia, and they will walk you through the application process.
For more information on Georgia’s Auto Insurance Plan, visit their website here: https://www.aipso.com/PlanSites/Georgia.aspx or call the Georgia Department of Revenue/Motor Vehicles at 1-855-406-5221.