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UPDATED: Mar 16, 2020
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|Georgia Statistics Summary||Details|
|Road Miles||Total in State – 128,134 |
Vehicle Miles Driven – 118 billion
|Most Popular Vehicle||Ford F-150|
|% Uninsured / % Underinsured||12%|
|Total Driving-Related Deaths||2009–2018|
Speeding – 2,315
Drunk Driving – 3,240
|Average Annual Premiums||Liability – $557.38|
Collision – $331.83
|Cheapest Providers||Geico, USAA|
Welcome to Georgia, a friendly state with a rich history. Whether you are visiting Georgia on a vacation or exploring as a resident, you will find year-round activities. For golf fans, the Masters Tournament is held in Augusta each year. Georgia is also home to Rock City on Lookout Mountain and the site of the 1996 Olympics Centennial Garden.
When it comes to choosing the right car insurance for your budget, it’s best to go right to the source. That’s why we’ve gathered all of the info you need in one place.
This guide will provide policy comparison data, demographic factors, and real-time statistics on accidents, laws, and vehicles in Georgia. When taking to the open road, it is best to be fully equipped with the most up-to-date information, saving you money in the long run.
Compare auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code in our quote comparison tool.
Georgia Car Insurance Coverage and Rates
Car insurance can be a tough find. In today’s world, the abundance of information provided by ads, the internet, and even social media can be overwhelming. Not to mention, sifting through this information can take hours of your valuable time.
Read on to see how much Georgia residents pay for coverage compared to the national average.
|Georgia Versus National Car Insurance Rates||Details|
Georgia residents can expect to pay about 16 percent more than the average American for car insurance.
High-Risk Insurance in GA
Earlier in this article, we learned that 12 percent of Georgia drivers are uninsured or underinsured. Do you feel that certain factors are holding you back from acquiring sufficient coverage?
If you’ve recently had a DUI and are unable to acquire coverage through normal means, you could be eligible for an SR-22 form.
Being considered a high-risk driver makes it difficult to get covered. An SR-22 is a form specifically designed for high-risk drivers. It should be filed by an insurance carrier and sent to the Georgia DMV.
Georgia State Department of Motor Vehicles does require drivers who have received serious moving violations or received a DUI conviction to file a Georgia SR-22 certificate. The SR-22 will show that a driver has fulfilled at least the minimum liability requirements in the state ($25,00/$50,000 bodily injury liability/$50,000 property damage liability).
Although a fee accompanies this form, it will be included in your premium. Your insurance company will then file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services, but you have to first request the file yourself. These extra forms can protect you if you in the event of a claim.
How much coverage is required for Georgia’s minimum coverage?
Like most states, Georgia requires its drivers to have auto insurance. This means that if you drive, maintain, or own a vehicle, a certain minimum level of requirement must be met.
These requirements are there to ensure that medical costs and damages will be paid for in the event of an accident.
|Insurance Required||Minimum Limits|
|Bodily Injury Liability||$25,000 per person; $50,000 per accident|
|Property Damage Liability||$25,000 per accident|
The table above shows the minimum liability requirements for two types of coverage. The minimum bodily injury requirements are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. For property damage liability, the minimum limits are $25,000.
To drive legally, your policy must have these minimum guaranteed payouts for injuries/medical damage and property damage.
Do gender and age affect my car insurance in Georgia?
Have you ever considered how demographic details can influence your policy and rates? When finding the right policy to meet your needs, it’s good to be aware of the varying rates that may accompany age and gender.
Before we continue, did you know that states like Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and North Carolina have passed legislation prohibiting gender bias when determining rates?
Georgia is not one of these states, so your age and gender are likely to affect your rates.
See the table below for exact rates.
|Company||Single 17-Year-Old Female||Single 17-Year-Old Male||Single 25-Year-Old Female||Single 25-Year-Old Male||Married 35-Year-Old Female||Married 35-Year-Old Male||Married 60-Year-Old Female||Married 60-Year-Old Male|
Based on the data, teenage drivers (17-year-olds) are paying the most on average for their auto policies. If you yourself are a teen driver or are insuring one, Geico is your best bet. You could be paying $20,000 more with Safeco, which charges teen drivers the most.
Teenage drivers typically pay the most for insurance. They tend to have the most accidents, and many claims are filed. As experience levels grow, insurers will lower their rates. That is why 60-year-olds pay the least, on average.
Other biases also exist, such as the notion that females are poor drivers. The opposite is true, as numerous studies indicate men are more likely to crash or get into an accident than women.
All in all, Geico provides the most affordable coverage across age ranges. For men and women in the 25- to 35-year-old age bracket, companies like USAA, Geico, and State Farm offer rates up to $3,600 cheaper than other competitors.
What are the cheapest rates by ZIP code in Georgia?
Curious about what your neighbors are paying for their auto insurance? We’ve compiled ZIP code data in the table below for you to search and explore. The lowest 25 ZIP codes for Georgia are listed below.
|ZIP Code||Average Rate|
If you want to know about the most expensive ZIP codes when it comes to insurance, see below.
|ZIP Code||Average Rates|
From the table above, we see that people living in the ZIP of 31699 pay around $3,000 less, on average, than people living in 30314. Residents in the most expensive ZIP pay $6,991, while the cheapest ZIP pays around $3,976.
What are the cheapest rates by city in Georgia?
Of all the cities in Georgia, you may expect some areas to cost more than others. When it comes to car insurance, where you live in a state can make a big difference. Let’s take a look at the top 25 most expensive cities for car insurance premiums.
Below are the cheapest rates (by city) in Georgia.
Let’s also take a look at the most expensive cities.
The most expensive city for car insurance in Georgia is Lebanon, a suburb in Cherokee County. If you live here, you will pay close to $6,991. A desirable area with a short commute to the city of Atlanta is likely to drive up these rates.
The least expensive city is Bogart, which has a population of 1,091. If you live in this community, you can expect to pay $3,976 for a policy.
What are forms of financial responsibility in Georgia?
If you are pulled over, you are responsible for providing proof of your financial liability. This means showing law enforcement a physical copy of your policy. In some states, you can provide proof electronically, via tablet or cell phone. Additional steps are required in Georgia.
According to AAA Driving Laws, Georgia is under compulsory liability insurance law. Owners of motor vehicles must provide proof of liability insurance at the time they apply for registration.
Similarly, this proof of insurance must be submitted electronically by your insurance company to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Proof of the below minimum requirements will be necessary if you wish to register your vehicle.
|Forms of Financial Responsibility||Minimum Coverage|
|Combined Single-limit Coverage||$100,000|
The different types of coverage required to fulfill all expenses are explained below.
- Single-limit coverage is the amount required to fulfill all expenses for all people involved in an accident.
- “Combined single-limit” refers to the single expenditure for all facets of a claim, like property damage and bodily injury.
- Split-limit coverage refers to the “30/50/100” ratio for different facts of the claim ($50,000 for property damage).
Next, let’s move on to your premiums and how they factor into your annual income.
How much percentage of income are premiums in Georgia?
Wondering how much of your annual income goes toward car insurance? Georgia drivers spend a significant percentage of their income on policies. In 2014, only eight states spent a greater percentage of their income than Georgia drivers did.
|Year||Georgia Average||National Average||Percent Difference|
The table above shows the three-year trend in Georgia compared to the national average. Georgia drivers spent an average of 2.84 percent of their incomes on car insurance 2014; Georgia drivers spent 25 percent more of their income on car insurance than the rest of the country.
In 2014, Georgia’s neighbors Florida and Louisiana spent over 3 percent of their income on insurance each year. To calculate how much you spend on your specific policy each year, please check out the calculator widget below.
What are the core coverages in Georgia?
Comprehensive, collision, liability, and full coverage are the options to choose from when insuring your vehicle. Referred to as “core coverages,” they ensure that the areas of your chosen policy are always covered.
The table below covers 2015 average premiums for different core coverages in Georgia.
|Coverage Type||Average Cost in Georgia|
In the table above, we’ve provided the average cost of each coverage type in Georgia. Please remember that NAIC data is based on state minimums.
What additional liability is available in Georgia?
You also have the option to add additional liability coverage beyond the core coverages. We have provided a few options for your comparison purposes. These additional liabilities might include:
- Personal Injury Protection – Also known as no-fault insurance, this coverage helps cover medical expenses for all individuals involved in an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
- Medical Payments (MedPay) – This coverage that pays for costs incurred by the insured driver and any passengers in the insured’s vehicle for injuries sustained in an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – This coverage that will pay for medical expenses or damage if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured individual.
The NAIC provides data on the loss ratios for the liability coverages we listed. When certain data is missing, it is up to us to fill in the gaps. While no data is provided for Personal Injury Protection or Uninsured Motorists in Georgia, the loss ratios for MedPay are listed below.
|Year||MedPay Loss Ratio|
The loss ratios for MedPay, respectively, are in the high range.
Loss ratio is a number that refers to the number of claims that are being paid out by an insurer. A high loss ratio indicates a company is not collecting enough premium for the claims it is receiving.
Twelve percent of Georgia drivers are uninsured, so it’s important to know how many policyholders’ claims are actually being fulfilled.
If you happen to be making medical payments in Georgia, you’re likely to face a rate increase. A loss ratio over 75 percent can be considered too high, while a loss ratio under 40 percent is too low. Thus, rates in the 85–90 range show that many claims are being filed.
What add-ons, endorsements, and riders are available in Georgia?
You can also consider the following supplemental coverage options for your policies:
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
- Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance (check for state-specific laws)
What is Georgia’s car culture?
Slow and steady, Georgia is known for its southern culture and vibrant cities. The landscape is part rich farmland, part Atlantic coastline, part Great Smoky Mountains. Pop-culture phenomenon the Dukes of Hazzard was based in Georgia.
Georgia is the largest state on the East Coast. This means you will probably need a car to get around.
The most popular vehicle in the state is the Ford F-150. This vehicle received a three out of five from J.D. Powers’ reliability ratings.
Here are a few things you should know before hitting the road.
Best Georgia Car Insurance Companies
The search for car insurance continues, amplified by the many, many companies to choose from. Watch the following video to learn some things that determine the cost of auto insurance.
Price is the biggest factor to consider when choosing car insurance. In this section, we’ll focus on some other factors. Which companies in Georgia have the best customer service? Which are the most financially solvent? Does size matter? Keep reading to find out.
What are the financial ratings of the largest car insurance companies in Georgia?
A.M. Best provides a financial “report card” to help identify which companies are the strongest. Financial ratings from A to A++ are strong.
The financial ratings for the 10 largest companies, provided by A.M. Best are listed below.
|Georgia Farm Bureau||B+||Negative|
For a company to be considered stable, it must have a positive future outlook. Even though a company has a good ranking, financial predictions can affect whether or not it is considered to be “stable.” It’s a good decision to steer clear of companies with negative outlooks.
Which car insurance companies have the best ratings in Georgia?
In 2019, J.D. Power released an auto insurance study of U.S. regions. The results are based on customer satisfaction.
|Car Insurance Company||Rating (out of 1,000)||Power Circles|
|Farm Bureau - Tennessee||888||ooooo|
|KY Farm Bureau||830||ooo|
|NC Farm Bureau||855||oooo|
It’s no surprise that companies like Erie, State Farm, and USAA occupy top spots on the list. USAA is not available to all citizens, only those active in the military and their family members. The ratings out of 1,000 are also a good tool for choosing the right company for you.
Five power circles are ideal, but only two companies (Farm Bureau Tennessee and USAA) meet this criterion.
Companies in the four power circle brackets are ranked as “better than most,” and those with three circles as “about average.”
Which car insurance companies have the most complaints in Georgia?
Do you ever wonder if you’re the only one who phones a company to complain? You aren’t the only one with these concerns. Knowing how many complaints insurance companies receive can help you narrow down your list of potential providers.
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Complaint Ratio||Loss Ratio||Market Share|
|Georgia Farm Bureau||$261,432||0||64.70%||3.03%|
The NAIC data above allows customers to assess the real state insurers. The companies with the highest complaint ratios are Liberty Mutual (5.95), Allstate (0.62), and Auto-Owners (0.53). It is important to remember that complaint ratios start at a baseline of 1.0. A complaint ratio over 1.0 indicates that a company has had many complaints. The lower the ratio, the better.
Let’s break down each of the terms included in the table.
- Direct premiums written – These represent the total amount of an insurer’s written premiums.
- Market Share – The portion of car insurance market controlled by a certain company.
- Loss Ratio – This number represents the ratio of losses to premiums earned. The formula is insurance claims paid plus adjustment expenses divided by total earned premiums.
- Complaint Ratio – How well a company is performing in terms of customer satisfaction. All complaint ratios start at 1.0 as the baseline. The fewer complaints, the lower the ratio.
Remember that these terms are not only for insiders. They are helpful for consumers, too.
What are the cheapest car insurance companies in Georgia?
Now that we’ve touched upon which companies receive the most complaints, let’s explore which Georgia companies match up in affordability. The average annual premiums listed below can assist you in your decision-making process.
|Company||Average||Compared to State Average ($)||Compared to State Average (%)|
In the table above, we can see that the cheapest provider is Geico. Since USAA is only available to military service members and their families, it’s important to look at the second-cheapest option, State Farm. Opting for either of these companies could save you $6,669.
The most expensive rates can be seen with Safeco, whose rates are 50 percent higher than the state average.
Have you ever wondered how insurance companies come up with these rates? The formula doesn’t have to be a mystery. Keep reading to learn more about major factors that may influence your rates.
Does my commute affect my car insurance rate in Georgia?
If you are a commuter in the state of Georgia, it’s likely you’ve watched your vehicle’s odometer rack up the miles. In this section, we will provide data on how your daily (or yearly) commuting styles can influence your car insurance rates.
6,000 Annual Mileage
12,000 Annual Mileage
According to the above data, Allstate, Geico, and USAA all increase their rates for customers with annual commutes of 12,000 miles. When considering a company that will meet your budget, consider that Allstate increases its rates by 4.64 percent for those with long commutes.
The good news is Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, State Farm, and Progressive do not increase their rates based on miles.
Understandably, the more time you spend on the road, the more likely you are to have an accident. While many factors can influence your rates, the likelihood of you filing a claim is what insurance companies consider most.
Can coverage level change my car insurance rate with companies in Georgia?
Did you know that different levels of coverage can provide you with varying levels of protection? While some drivers opt to save money with lower levels of coverage, others swear by insuring themselves to the highest degree. In either scenario, it’s important to see comparison data.
The table below gives a good indication of insurers’ rates based on your desired coverage level.
|Company||Low Coverage||Medium Coverage||High Coverage|
If you’re opting for high coverage, the most affordable company is Geico. Competitive rates are also offered by USAA and State Farm. Low coverage options range from $2,763–$9,636, depending on which company you go with. Jumping from low to high coverage with Progressive can prompt a rate increase of 20 percent.
How does my credit history affect my car insurance rate with companies in Georgia?
Most aspects of your life won’t face the scrutiny of car insurance adjusters, but credit history is one factor that could affect your rates.
According to Experian’s Consumer Credit Review, Georgia has an average credit score of 682. This is considered in the “good” range.
|Company||Poor Credit||Fair Credit||Good Credit|
The table above displays average rates, by company, for different companies in Georgia. If you have a wonderful credit score, the good news is that you will have lower rates in general.
For those of us with poor credit histories, there are certainly options.
Geico provides the cheapest option overall, which costs $3,780.93. Other competitive rates include those from State Farm and USAA — the latter does not provide coverage for non-military members.
The best option for those of us with good credit is State Farm, which costs $2,368.08. Going from good credit to poor credit with State Farm can result in a 103 percent increase. Most companies display a similar trend.
The Millennial Report and the guest discussed students’ and millennials’ lack of access to credit cards.
As a general trend, when credit score goes up, rates go down. What exactly qualifies as poor credit?
- Good credit – $3,191.27
- Fair credit – $3,772.60
- Poor credit – $5,239.38
The millennial generation is facing a particular crisis, with more of the population opting to rent homes and traveling while young. However, online resources can assist in learning more about how to manage one’s line of credit.
How does my driving record change my rates with car insurance companies in Georgia?
Have you recently been involved in a fender-bender? The good news is, some companies are more forgiving when it comes to your accident history. Speeding tickets, collisions, and DUIs are all factors to consider.
Check out the table below to see how your accident history could be affecting your rates.
|Company||Clean Record||One Speeding Violation||One accident||One DUI|
It’s interesting to note that Allstate increases its rates by only 25 percent for first DUI, but 54 percent for a first accident.
If you’ve recently had a DUI, State Farm is the most affordable option. Their coverage will cost you $3,384 on average, which is only $300 more than if you were coming to the table with a spotless record. Geico’s original rates nearly double after one DUI.
Which car insurance companies are the largest in Georgia?
Do bigger companies provide better customer service? This may be one of your many questions, along with which companies dominate. We’ve got you covered, providing in-the-know information about car insurance companies and their market shares.
Knowing the size of the company and the percentage of the market that they have cornered, combined with the loss and complaint ratio data we discussed earlier, can provide you with a more complete picture of the company’s financial health.
The largest companies in Georgia and the market share of each are listed in the table below.
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Market Share|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$820,479.00||9.52%|
|Georgia Farm Bureau Group||$261,432.00||3.03%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$335,540.00||3.89%|
|Nationwide Corp Group||$267,971.00||3.11%|
|State Farm Group||$1,937,806.00||22.49%|
Three companies occupy the top 45 percent of market share in Georgia, State Farm, Geico, and Progressive.
How many car insurance companies are available in Georgia?
There are a total of 1,011 insurers in the state of Georgia. Of these, 23 are domestic (meaning that they exist within the state) and 988 are out-of-state or foreign insurers, meaning that they are licensed to do business in the state but exist outside of the state.
Both domestic and foreign insurers can provide you with the appropriate coverage. It’s up to these companies to comply with state laws, which we will touch on in the following sections.
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Did you know that in Georgia, it is legal to drive without shoes on but illegal to drive with headphones?
In this section, we’ll talk about the interactions between state laws and your rates and coverage. Other important topics we will cover are vehicle licensing procedures, driving laws, and specific vehicle registration processes to prepare you for getting behind the wheel.
If you’re someone who already spends a lot of time on the road in Georgia, you may be familiar with some of these laws already.
What are the car insurance laws in Georgia?
Car insurance laws in Georgia are not very different from laws in other states. We want to keep you informed about proper vehicle registration, speed limits, and laws unique to the Peach State. One unique aspect of car insurance laws, however, is that there are different ways states allow insurers to set their rates. We will explain this process below.
How State Laws for Insurance Are Determined
State legislatures influence insurance companies by deciding how they adjust their rates.
Certain legislative procedures are set in place that solidify insurance laws across the board. It’s important to understand how and why these laws are enacted.
Most states place some governance on insurance companies in order for them to function effectively within the domestic market. While you are not required to have more coverage than the minimum required, premiums are regulated by the Georgia Office of Insurance.
Georgia insurance code outlines a few of their requirements in Title 33 of the Office of Insurance and Regulations page. For information regarding uninsured motorists, turn to OCGA 33-7-11 for complete wording.
Whether you’re looking to find out if your windshield meets the current state requirements, when to repair your windshield, or what kind of tint is allowed, we have the most up-to-date information on windshield coverage below.
According to Your Mechanic, Georgia has a few specific requirements for windshields.
- Windshields can’t have any areas of cracks or damage in a starburst pattern that is larger than three inches by three inches.
- Georgia law permits windshields to have non-reflective tint applied only to the top six inches.
- A sticker showing that the tint on the windows is in compliance with Georgia laws is required
When it comes to replacing parts, insurers may use aftermarket parts so long as the cost is listed on the estimate. Similarly, insurers may use Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, but the difference in cost must be paid by the customer.
Window tint laws are specific in Georgia. The video below describes the specific percentages (and windshield measurements) that are permissible if you choose to tint your windows in the state.
Thinking of tinting your windshield? Be sure that it is less than 32 percent tint, and does not cover the lower six inches of your windows.
Currently, only three states in the U.S. — California, Hawaii, and New Jersey — offer their residents some kind of low-income car insurance program. Unfortunately, Georgia does not have a state-sponsored program of assistance to low-income drivers.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Georgia
According to FindLaw.com, the most common types of insurance fraud In Georgia include the following list.
- Auto repair/body shop
- Staged accidents
- Arson for profit
- Workers’ compensation fraud
Fraud is common, so be mindful.
Insurance fraud typically occurs when someone tries to make money from an insurance transaction through lies or deception, such as inflated medical expenses.
What is prohibited?
Under the Georgia Insurance Code Title 33, any consumer, provider, or insurance company that knowingly lies, conceals an important fact, or perpetrates false events for profit or gain is up against fraud law. You could face a felony and two to 10 years in prison for the offense.
If you feel that you may have been subject to fraud by an insurer or individual, contact the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. There, you can report fraud and have your case addressed by authorities.
Along with the Online Fraud Reporting System, consumers can contact the Office of Commissioner of Insurance at 1-800-656-2298.
Statute of Limitations
How long do you have to file a car accident lawsuit in Georgia?
The state-specific statute of limitations requires you to settle your claim or file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the car accident for personal injury and four years for property damage claims.
In certain unique instances, different time limits may apply. Regardless, it’s important to be aware of the importance time restraints have in relation to your claim. The goal is to have ample time to prepare to file a lawsuit.
Wondering if you have a viable case? If your car accident case involves an injury or disputed matters, you should consider contacting an experienced car accident attorney in Georgia. Talking to an attorney can help you take action before it’s too late to file a claim.
If you’ve been subject to certain violations in the past, then you are likely to be familiar with certain state-specific laws. Familiarizing yourself with these laws can prevent you from getting ticketed in the future.
According to Northwest Georgia News, there are several driving laws that you may not know. Did you know that it is legal to drive barefoot in Georgia, but illegal to drive with headphones on?
What are the vehicle licensing laws in Georgia?
Wondering if your license is up-to-snuff with current laws? To avoid fees and potential suspension, you should be aware of the laws in Georgia associated with registering your vehicle and obtaining and maintaining your driver’s license.
In this section, we’ll cover the requirements for registering a new/used vehicle or registering your vehicle in the state as a new resident.
If you haven’t already heard, you will likely need a REAL ID to fly on any flight, foreign or domestic, by October 2020.
According to Georgia’s Department of Driver Services, all licenses issued after 2012 are REAL ID compliant. This means that federal agencies can accept Georgia driver’s licenses as a secure form of identification at federal facilities like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Social Security Administration, or nuclear power plants should you need access.
The next step is to contact the Customer Service Center at the local DMV. There are specific documents needed to process your REAL ID.
- An identity document such as a Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport or Certificate of Naturalization.
- Social Security card
- Two documents showing your residency (e.g. a utility bill, signed lease, or bank statement)
The printable REAL ID checklist may be accessed through the Georgia Department of Driver Services page above.
Below, Government Affairs and Communications Director Shevondah Leslie discusses the efficacy of the REAL ID, as well as implementation procedures in the state of Georgia, keeping residents informed.
Please remember that your REAL ID will serve the same purpose as a passport. If you’re a U.S. citizen and have a REAL ID card, you will not need to bring your documents in unless you are performing a name change or other service that requires verification.
If you have additional questions about the REAL ID, please consult the Georgia Department of Driver Services website.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Law enforcement authorities in Georgia take insurance seriously. Not to mention choosing not to insure yourself can make you vulnerable in the event that you need to file a claim.
Georgia law requires that all drivers and vehicle owners have some type of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage. This means a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that meets the minimum liability insurance requirements.
So what happens if you’re stopped by law enforcement and can’t provide valid proof of insurance? According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, failure to provide proof of insurance can result in:
- A $25 lapse fee
- License suspension
- Suspended registration with $60 reinstatement fee
Although these penalties are not as severe as other states, they are for first offenses only. Accumulated offenses can result in more penalties. To avoid penalties, you must keep some proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times, whether electronic or paper.
Teen Driver Laws
Teen drivers are a unique subset of the population. With little experience on the road, they are required to pass basic skill tests to ensure their safety, driving knowledge, and competence on the road.
Georgia has an intense three-step program called Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA). It is a graduated driver’s license program for young drivers ages 15 to 18.
The first step in this process is to acquire an Instructional Permit (CP). This privilege is granted to drivers at age 15.
You will need the following documents and payment.
- Your identity, residential address, full Social Security number, and U.S. citizenship or proof of lawful status in the United States
- Documents from a responsible adult
- Georgia DDS Certificate of School Enrollment (DS-1) must be signed and notarized from the applicant’s school
- $10 fee
According to IIHS, drivers with their CP must hold this license for 12 months, and accrue 40 hours of driving (six must be at night).
The next step in the TADRA is the Provisional Drivers’ License. This license is granted to drivers 16 and 17 years of age who have held an Instructional Permit for one year and one day and passed a driving test.
Certain restrictions apply for drivers in this phase:
- No passengers are allowed (excluding family members) for the first six months.
- One passenger (younger than 21) allowed after the first six months.
- Nighttime restrictions until age 18
The final stage is the Full (Class C) License. This is available to drivers aged 18 and up. This privilege is granted only after passing a knowledge exam, road skills test, and a vision exam. There are no nighttime or passenger restrictions with this license, and the road awaits.
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
Renewal procedures vary from state to state, and Georgia has its own laws regarding older drivers. For the most part, Georgia laws work so seniors are renewing only after passing safety checks, thus ensuring that they are competent drivers.
According to IIHS, Georgia’s renewal period for older drivers is eight years, the same as the general population. So, if you are a senior citizen, it’s important to renew your license (vision check is required at every renewal).
Driver’s license renewals can be tricky for older drivers, as renewal must take place in person if you’re over age 64. Luckily, mail-in and online renewal options are available to the general population.
New to the area? If you have moved or are considering it, licensing and registration procedures in Georgia are fairly simple.
Within 30 days of moving to Georgia, you are required to visit the nearest Department of Driver Services (DDS).
If your driver’s license has expired, you’re required to pass all examinations, including vision and written tests, road skills, and alcohol awareness. A new resident who does not have an out-of-state license, or has an expired license, must obtain a certified driving record from the state in which they were previously licensed, less than 30 days old.
New Georgia residents with an out-of-state driver’s license must have the following documents for processing.
- Your current license
- Proof of your Social Security number
- Two proofs of Georgia residency (such as a bank statement, utility bill, or rental contract)
- Proof of identity (such as a birth certificate, passport, or immigration card)
You can find answers to a wide breadth of new resident questions on Georgia.gov.
License Renewal Procedures
License renewal for the general population in Georgia is similar for all demographics. You should look to renew your license 150 days prior to its expiration, which is when they become eligible for renewal. People aged 65 and older must pass an eye examination to renew.
If you are an active-duty military member or a full-time student living out-of-state, Georgia law permits you to renew your license by mail and acquire a non-photo Georgia license.
Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
Every state has its own penalties surrounding traffic laws, designed to keep drivers aware of the implications of careless driving. If you’re accused of certain violations, you can expect points to be added to your record.
What does this look like in Georgia?
According to the state’s Department of Drivers’ Services site, the points system ranges from two to six points. That is to say, traffic violations each have a specific point value if you commit them.
The table below shows some specific traffic violations and their points value:
|Unlawfully Passing a School Bus||6|
|Improper Passing on a Hill or Curve||4|
|Speeding 34 mph Over||6|
|Speeding 24–33 mph Over||4|
|Speeding 19–23 mph Over||3|
|Speeding 15–18 mph Over||2|
|Violation of Child Safety Restraint||1|
As you can see in the table, certain violations result in more points than others. All violations, however, are serious. If you acquire 15 points or more within a 24 month period, your license will be suspended.
What are the rules of the road in Georgia?
Before getting behind the wheel in Georgia, there are some important terms to familiarize yourself with.
In the next section, we will cover the logic behind who pays for the damages if an accident occurs — referred to as fault or no-fault.
Fault Versus No-Fault
Like most other states in the U.S., Georgia is an at-fault state. In other words, the driver found responsible for an accident will pay for the damages for both parties with their insurance policy.
Financial responsibility should cover injuries, damages, and other harms that occurred in the accident. It’s important to know about the ways you might be held financially responsible and the coverage that offers you the necessary protection.
According to the Georgia Office of Insurance Commissioners, state law requires that all owners and motor vehicle drivers have some type of liability car insurance coverage. These liability minimums are $25,000 per person, $50,000 per occurrence, and Property Damage liability of $25,000 per incident.
Not all states are at-fault states. However, there are other laws that are mostly standardized throughout the nation, like those related to seat belts and car seats.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws are applicable to children and adults, but specific car seat laws can vary from state-to-state.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) notes that seat belts are required for ages eight through 17 years in all seats and 18+ years in the front seat. In short, everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.
According to IIHS, seat belts or child passenger safety devices are required for all vehicle occupants under age 18. The state’s car seat and child-seating laws are as follows:
- Children seven years old or younger and less than 57 inches require a child safety seat
- Children 57 inches (no age restriction) may use an adult belt
- Children seven years old and younger must be in the rear seat if available
There will be a $15 base fee for failing to buckle-up, but if there are children who are not in a proper child safety seat, the fee is $50.
Georgia currently prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to ride in the bed of a pickup truck on an interstate highway in the state.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
Georgia has state-specific laws surrounding “keeping right and moving over.” We will dig into the reasoning behind these laws in this section.
Found on Northwest Georgian Reviews, it is absolutely required to move over for emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the highway. This has been coined the “move-over” law. This law protects highway workers, police vehicles, and garbage trucks.
Georgia law also acts to keep traffic moving on highways. House Bill 459 takes the traditional “move over if you’re slower” to another level. The “Slowpoke Law” states drivers moving slower than traffic in the left lane should speed up to meet the pace of approaching vehicles.
Another great resource for move-over laws is the AAA website, which provides in-depth laws for each state.
When running late to work after sitting in heavy traffic, you may be tempted to speed. The state regulates speed limits and has set them with your safety in mind.
If you’re caught driving over the speed limit, you can be ticketed, fined, or receive a point against your license (along with a potential rate increase from your insurance company).
The maximum speed in the state is 70 mph when driving on rural and urban interstates. Other highways and access roads have maximum speed limits of 65 mph.
Georgia speeding law requires drivers to be mindful of the traffic, pedestrians, and road conditions around them. Especially during rainy weather conditions, drivers should remain vigilant and follow speed limits.
Even if you do not drive your vehicle and utilize ridesharing companies, you should still follow the rules of the road and insurance requirements to ensure you are covered.
Drivers who switch to a clean commute option such as carpooling, riding public transit, or bicycling can earn $5 a day. According to GA Highway Safety, current regulations and ridesharing services qualify as the following:
- Any person that uses a digital network or internet network to connect passengers to rideshare drivers.
- Anyone who uses their personal car to give rides for profit.
- A company or entity that provides a ridesharing service to consumers (Lyft or Uber).
- It does not include corporate carpools that are not for profit.
The current Georgia insurers that protect ridesharers include Allstate, Farmers, Geico, State Farm, USAA.
Automation on the Road
In 2017, Georgia joined the group of states that permit autonomous vehicles on the road. This is a new development in many states and is quickly gaining traction as an alternative (especially regarding Uber and Lyft).
AJC News of Atlanta reported that Governor Nathan Deal has passed a bill that allows self-driving cars to operate on public roads in Georgia.
Another key law (for those planning to register or operate autonomous vehicles) is that they must register their vehicle with the state and adhere to certain insurance requirements.
The video below describes how lawmakers are preparing for the influx of self-driving cars.
Self-driving cars are inevitable, especially in large cities. While state lawmakers pull forward in terms of rules and regulations, residents may need to prepare in other ways.
What are the safety laws in Georgia?
Safety laws in the Peach State are designed to make the back roads and highways a safer place for everyone.
Your risk of having an accident goes up even after one drink. In Georgia, the BAC limit is 0.08, while 0.15 is considered to be a high BAC.
According to Responsibility.org, Georgia DUI deaths were 2.73 percent of the total national deaths of the same cause in 2017. Similarly, 23.8 percent of the total driving fatalities in Georgia were caused by drunk driving. The number of alcohol-impaired fatalities is 3.5 people per 100 thousand people, which is 0.1 percent higher than the average population.
This table outlines the penalties for DUIs in Georgia:
|Penalty||First DUI||Second DUI||Third DUI|
|Jail Time||10 days to 12 months (depending on HBAC)||90 days to 12 months, but 72 hours if second offense in 10 years||120 days to 12 months|
|License Revoked||120 days to one year||Three years||Five years|
|Other||20–40 hours community service||30 days community service minimum, six days IID minimum||Same as second DUI|
In Georgia, DUI offenders may also have to attend DUI school, and their photo could be published in the local newspaper. It is important to understand the penalties associated with not only alcohol-impaired driving, but all forms of intoxication.
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
Marijuana-specific impaired driving laws in Georgia prohibit any level of THC and metabolites, or those traces of THC secreted in urine. If THC is detected in a driver’s blood, they may face charges of driving under the influence. The DSI’s website reminds us that marijuana has a mixed legal status but CBD oil has been approved for medical use.
Marijuana has not been decriminalized in the state of Georgia. Low-THC products such as CBD oil, however, are legal through Georgia’s Hope Act.
Distracted Driving Laws
Nobody thinks they’re a distracted driver. Could your habits be putting yourself and others at risk?
Distracted driving can include anything from turning the radio dial, eating food, or texting while moving in your vehicle. In Georgia, it is now illegal to hold your phone in your hands while making a call and driving. The video below gives a lawyer’s perspective on handheld laws.
Text messaging and the use of handheld wireless communication devices are prohibited for all drivers. This rule also extends to school bus drivers, who are prohibited from using cellular phones.
Driving in Georgia
Now that we’ve learned about state-specific driving laws, it’s time to dig into other factors that may influence your driving in Georgia.
Where do Georgia’s crime and fatality statistics rank among national averages? These figures are important to know because they affect your safety, and can also factor into your premiums.
This section is here to provide you with crime data and up-to-date information regarding fatality stats in your state.
How many vehicle thefts occur in Georgia?
Did you know that vehicle crime is a felony in most states? Grand theft auto, which happens for a variety of reasons, has its place in Georgia.
The table below shows the most popular makes/models stolen in Georgia.
|Rank||Make/Model||Year of Vehicle||Thefts|
|2||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006||954|
|3||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||1999||948|
|8||Dodge Pickup (Full Size)||2003||452|
|9||Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||2001||449|
As you can see, the most popular stolen vehicle was the 1997 Honda Accord truck. The second most popular was the Ford Pickup. Newer vehicles like the 2014 Toyota Camry and Nissan Ultima were lower on the list.
Vehicle theft by city and state is tracked and reported by the FBI. Data for 2017 included in the table below, which shows how many vehicles were stolen in cities throughout Georgia.
|City||Population||Motor Vehicle Theft|
Nearly 30 percent of vehicle thefts (3,297) occurred in Atlanta. This makes sense, as Atlanta is the largest city in Georgia. The second-largest city for theft was the Savannah-Chathan Metropolitan area, with 940 thefts in 2017.
How many road fatalities occur in Georgia?
When getting behind the wheel, the last thing on your mind is probably that driving is dangerous and even fatal. Fatalities happen most frequently due to negligent or reckless driving, driving while impaired, or by other factors such as wet or icy roadways.
Defensive driving can keep you safer while you’re enjoying the scenic roads of Georgia.
Most Fatal Highway in Georgia
According to the driving data website Geotabs, I-11 is the highway that sees the greatest number of fatal accidents in Georgia.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition
Changes in weather and light can severely affect your ability to drive. The conditions in which we drive can significantly affect our safety. This table provides data on the number of fatalities in 2017 due to light and weather conditions.
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other / Unknown||Total|
Crashes can happen at any time. According to the data, however, most crashes occurred during daylight hours, in normal roadway conditions. The second-worst time for crashes was during dark hours with normal roadway conditions.
To stay safe, stay focused and drive defensively whenever you’re on the road. If you’re experiencing difficulty with visibility, it is always better to slow to a safe speed or pull over.
Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
The NHSTA Crash Report provides data on the largest causes of fatalities in each state. For the state of Georgia, we have compiled this data so you can see the total number of crashes by county from 2014–2018.
The top counties for fatalities in 2018 were Fulton (130 crashes), DeKalb (108), and Cobb (57). While Fulton’s number of fatalities has peaked at 130, DeKalb’s has steadily increased over the years, as well.
Examining the traffic fatalities that may occur in rural or urban areas is a good indicator of what to look out for. This table shows the number of urban and rural traffic fatalities in Georgia from 2014–2018.
In 2018, a peak number of fatalities occurred in Georgia’s urban areas. This could be an indication of growing cities, with more vehicles and more reckless driving. Rural fatalities remained consistently lower than urban, at an average of 546 deaths per year.
Fatalities by Person Type
The 2018 NHTSA Crash Report has a section dedicated to fatalities by person type. The table below shows the breakdown of these stats.
|Light Truck – Pickup||174||213||212||234||215|
|Light Truck – Utility||144||184||210||217||193|
|Light Truck – Van||31||50||39||46||44|
|Light Truck – Other||1||0||2||2||1|
|Bicyclist and Other Cyclist||19||23||29||15||30|
According to the table, the greatest person-type fatalities in 2018 were passenger car occupants, with 541 deaths. This number peaked in 2016, with 584 deaths. The second-greatest group affected were pedestrians, with 261 deaths in 2018.
Fatalities by Crash Type
Crash type explains the way a vehicle derails in a crash. Examples of crash types are intersections, roadway departures, or single-vehicle accidents. The 2018 NHTSA Crash report provides data below in the fatalities by crash type table.
|Involving a Large Truck||155||182||203||228||187|
|Involving a Rollover||313||336||402||361||319|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||282||370||363||402||334|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||624||761||849||770||765|
|Total Fatalities (All Crashes)*||1,164||1,432||1,556||1,540||1,504|
An overwhelming majority of crashes involve a single vehicle, with 836 crashes in 2018. The second-highest rate of fatalities was for accidents involving a roadway departure, with 765 deaths in 2018.
Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties
Looking at crash data over a five-year period in different parts of the state is another useful tool to understand your state’s roadways.
We don’t always know why crashes happen. But in the table below, we can see the five-year trend for the top 10 counties in Georgia.
Fulton County had both the highest number of crashes, which has shown a sharp increase in crash deaths since 2014. That number went up from 77 to 130 in four years, a nearly 100 percent increase. All of the top 10 counties have displayed increases since 2014.
Fatalities Involving Speeding by County
Which areas of Georgia are most susceptible to speeding fatalities? The Georgia NHTSA Traffic Report provides data on fatalities involving speeding for all counties from 2014–2018 so you can be more aware.
Fulton County consistently holds the highest spot for speed-related traffic fatalities in Georgia, with 26 fatalities in 2018. Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Cobb Counties each had 17–18 deaths in that documented year.
Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County
Alcohol-related fatalities are also prevalent in most states. The data from 2014–2018, provided by NHTSA Crash Report, is seen below.
The greatest fatalities occurred in Fulton County, with 36 deaths in the 2018 year. The second-leading county for alcohol-related deaths was DeKalb, with 33 deaths. These statistics have increased by almost 90 percent in the last four year period, namely for the leading counties.
Teen Drinking and Driving
Georgia ranks 41st out of the 50 states for underage drinking arrests. This is good news, along with the fact that only 8.23 percent of arrests are for DUI-related charges.
Although the number of teen arrests for drunk driving is lower than in other states, it is still important to be aware of drunk driving’s dangers.
With only 1.0 deaths per 100,000 population, Georgia is slightly below the national average of 1.2 percent. Responsibility.org also provides info on which states have the highest prevalence of teen drinking and driving arrests.
EMS Response Time
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides current data on Emergency Medical Services in all states, including Georgia.
|Region Type||Time of Crash to EMS Notification||Average EMS Notification to EMS Arrival||Average EMS Arrival at Scene to Arrival at Hospital||Time of Crash to Hospital Arrival||Total Fatal Crashes|
According to the table, 69 percent more crashes requiring medical attention occurred in urban areas than in their rural counterpart. In general, it took EMS about 16 minutes longer to take victims of rural crashes scenes to the hospital. Similarly, urban areas saw EMS arrive 2.7 minutes sooner than crash scenes in rural areas.
What is transportation like in Georgia?
How do people get around in Georgia? How long does it take residents to get to work? It’s worth looking at this data, as drive times and congestion can factor into your car insurance rates.
DataUSA provides state info on the number of vehicles owned by Georgia households. In line with the national average, most Georgia residents own 2 cars.
DataUSA also tells us that the average time Georgia residents spent commuting to work was 27.3 minutes, which is slightly higher than the national average of 25.5 minutes. This fact may be due to the urban sprawl surrounding the Atlanta metropolitan area.
DataUSA provides data from 2017 on the percentage of Georgia residents who drive alone, carpool, telecommute, etc. compared to U.S. averages of the same.
|Worked at Home||5.91%|
The table above shows that most Georgia drivers chose to drive alone, but that 9.42 percent carpooled. Nice work, Georgia!
Traffic Congestion in Georgia
TomTom provides data for the Atlanta metro area.
|TomTom Traffic Index||Details|
|Time Lost in Rush Hour (Annual)||5 days, 4 hours|
|Time Lost in Rush Hour (Morning)||14 minutes|
|Time Lost in Rush Hour (Evening)||18 minutes|
|Overall Congestion Level||26%|
The overall traffic congestion in Georgia is 26 percent, which is a high level of congestion. The city also experiences the most congestion in non-highway areas (27 percent), signifying that the urban sprawl has begun impacting suburban areas.
Now that we’ve covered topics like factors that influence car insurance rates, Georgia driving laws, counties with high incidents of crashes, and other valuable info, it is time to conclude the article.
Which topic was most helpful to you?
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