Imagine the following scenario. You are driving down the road when you come to a stop at a red light. The car behind you fails to stop in time, hitting the rear of your car. You do all the things you’re supposed to do. You exchange information with the other driver. You contact the police, who cites the other driver for following too closely. However, your car is damaged and you are injured. You are afraid to contact your own insurance company out of fear they will cancel your account or raise your rates. Don’t be. Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy or raise your rates because of an accident for which you are not responsible. While you may assume the other driver’s insurance will pay for your damages, they may have minimal amounts that won’t cover everything, or if the other driver refuses to cooperate with their insurance company, their insurance company may deny coverage, and you will have to turn to you own insurance company or be completely out of luck.
Georgia law states “No insurer shall surcharge the premium or rate charged on a policy of motor vehicle insurance or cancel such policy as a result of the insured person’s involvement in a multivehicle accident when such person was not at fault in such accident”. O.C.G.A 33-9-40. What this means is that it is illegal for an insurance company to raise your rates or cancel your policy merely because you were involved in a car accident which was not your fault.
The courts, however, have stated that an insurance company can choose not to renew your policy when it expires. The Georgia courts have ruled that cancelling and nonrenewal are not the same thing.
If you are in an accident that is not your fault, you should absolutely notify your insurance company, or have your attorney notify them. Additionally, your policy will probably have a time limit condition in it to make such a claim (usually 30 days after the accident), so time is of the essence. It could be the difference between being compensated for your medical bills and lost wages, or paying for them out of your own pocket. If you are in an accident, call Marietta Accident Attorney Norman Miller at 770-284-3727. He can help.