Living in the Peach State means there’s beautiful farmland, gorgeous beaches, mountain views, and plenty of opportunities for white water rafting. Hikers can find the start (or is it the end?) of the Appalachian Trail. Atlanta offers plenty of big-city experiences and historical sites to explore. With so much to take in, you’re going to need proper car insurance before you hit the road.

The average cost of car insurance in Georgia is below the national average. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find the best deal. Comparing multiple car insurance quotes is an effective way to locate the cheapest policies available. OnlineAutoInsurance.com helps motorists compare rates from multiple car insurance companies with one simple process. If you want to find cheap car insurance quickly and easily, you can compare your rates online without any personal information.

The state of Georgia makes it mandatory for drivers to buy car insurance and to maintain at least a liability policy on all owned vehicles. The required insurance coverage pays for injuries to other people and damages to vehicles or property as a result of an accident.

Minimum liability car insurance in Georgia

Georgia law sets the minimum limits as follows:

$25,000 Bodily Injury per person: Your bodily injury coverage will pay the medical cost of someone injured in a car accident you’re at fault for, up to the stated minimum coverage on the liability policy.

$50,000 Bodily Injury per car accident: This defines the maximum amount your bodily injury liability policy will cover per accident. Anything beyond the specified maximum will be paid out of pocket. This coverage does not pay for injuries you sustain in a car accident you are at fault for, nor does it cover any passengers in your motor vehicle.

$25,000 Property Damage Liability: This will cover the cost of damage you do to another motor vehicle or any structures you damage in a collision, up to the stated maximum.

Serious accidents can get very expensive. If you only carry the minimum coverage, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to financial catastrophe. Sometimes for as little as a few dollars a month, you can double your insurance coverage. But you want to keep an eye on the deductible.

As mentioned above, liability insurance won’t cover you, your passengers, or your car. If you can’t afford sudden expenses, you need to opt for more than minimum coverage.

Additional Coverage to Consider

Before you buy a car insurance policy, you need to decide how much insurance coverage to get. The whole purpose of car insurance is to give you security in the worst-case scenario. There are plenty of situations that can empty your bank account if you’re driving without enough coverage.

Comprehensive and Collision: Provides coverage for the insured vehicle when damage is caused by something other than another driver. Comprehensive policies can cover your car against theft, vandalism, or damage your car suffers if you hit a deer. Collision coverage will cover damages to your vehicle in an accident you are at fault for. If you lease your car, or you are still paying it off, your lienholder will require you to keep these policies on your vehicle until you’ve reached the payoff amount.

Personal Injury Protection: If you or your passengers are injured in an accident that you are at fault for, then a personal injury policy will help cover the costs of medical bills. Beyond that, it can also help you with the cost of lost wages.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Provides limited protection against an uninsured or underinsured motorist that damages your vehicle. Whatever they are unable to pay, your insurance company should cover the rest, up to the maximum on your policy. This coverage can be combined with collision or personal injury protection coverage if they aren’t enough to cover the medical costs of property damage with an uninsured motorist.

Proof of Insurance

Georgia has technology giving the state the ability to verify the status of any vehicle's policy. Insurance companies are required to electronically notify the state's Department of Revenue of residents' policy status, which gives authorities the ability to verify whether coverage is active or canceled. This system was designed to reduce the number of uninsured drivers in the state of GA.

If an automobile is not insured for ten days in a row, its registration could be suspended, and a reinstatement fee will be charged to insure it again. Not having a vehicle covered could lead to other expensive fines, including a citation, and even worse, an uncovered accident.

There are a few exceptions to this registration aspect of Georgia car insurance requirements, including when an automobile is sold, turned in at the end of a lease, or when the owner moves to another state. Some vehicles used seasonally may also qualify for an exception, such as those used primarily for agricultural purposes. If you are in the military and not using the automobile, you may qualify for an exception.

If you are not able to buy car insurance on the voluntary market, either because you have DUIs, poor credit, or a bad driving record, you can find coverage through the Georgia Automobile Insurance Plan.

Georgia’s At-Fault Accident Laws

Like most states, Georgia uses a tort system to determine fault and assign responsibility for an accident. The officer on the scene will determine who is at fault, and each individual will report the accident to their insurance company.

Be wary of talking to the other driver’s insurance company. They may be trying to find ways to shift fault to you. Be honest with the police and with your insurance company, and they will help you deal with the rest, often including legal support.

In 2010, Georgia’s ruled it was unconstitutional to put a cap on damages from a car accident, other than punitive ones. If you wind up in court, you’ll have to pay the full costs of damages as decided by the judge and jury. An accident that results in $500,000 dollars in medical expenses, property damage, and funeral costs is no exception, no matter how much money you make in a year.

It’s possible the jury will find comparative negligence in cases like these, which will assign a certain percentage of the blame to the other driver. That means they will be responsible for that portion of the damages. Collision policies usually cover the costs of legal representation, and that can go a long way toward protecting you financially.

How to save money on Georgia Car Insurance

An agent will determine your insurance premiums with a combination of personal factors and the vehicle you’re insuring. Your age, address, driving history, and credit score all have a part to play in determining your car insurance rates. The year, make, and model of your vehicle and the amount you drive will factor in as well.

Typically, having an incident-free history is the easiest way to find cheap car insurance. A speeding ticket or traffic accident can hike your insurance premiums as much as 30 percent. Defensive driving courses can help offset this rate hike, and can even get you a discount if you have a clean driving record. Before you choose a policy, find out if your insurance policy will have accident forgiveness. Knowing your rates won’t be affected by your first accident can add a lot of peace of mind.

There are other discounts available as well, depending on the company. New cars with advanced safety features don’t cost as much for coverage. Anti-theft devices can decrease the cost of comprehensive policies. And, if you need another insurance policy like homeowners or life insurance, you can usually get a discount for bundling. Adding a telematics device to your vehicle will let you prove you have safe driving habits and get you even deeper discounts.

If you have a teen driver on your policy, you can expect a significant increase in your car insurance rates by adding them. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. As soon as your teen has their learner’s permit, you’ll want to add them to your policy so you can ensure coverage. If they have a good GPA, they can often get a student discount.

The bottom line

Different insurance companies will be cheaper for different people, and no one company will offer everyone the best rate. The only way to be sure you’ve got the best deal is to decide what coverage you need and compare car insurance quotes that fit your needs.

If you already have coverage, there’s no reason to stick with insurers out of loyalty—changes in your personal life might mean you can get better deals. If your credit score has improved and it’s been more than three years since you’ve had an incident, it’s worth shopping around to save.