We are frequently asked by people involved car wreckes whether car insurance premiums go up after a car accident that is not their fault. Georgia insurance law clearly forbids an insurer from imposing a surcharge or cancelling an auto liability policy based upon a car wreck that is not the fault of the insured:
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 multi-vehicle accident when such person was not at fault in such accident.
O.C.G.A. § 33-9-40.
This statute and Georgia law seems to provide a great deal of people that have purchased a car insurance policy from a sudden increase in premiums based upon a car wreck that is not the fault of the insured. However, and despite this statute, insurers have found a “work around” and they may simply refuse to renew the policy (which typically is issued for 12 months):
The fact that, as described by the code section, the generic phrase “termination of insurance coverage” encompasses both cancellation or nonrenewal does not mean that cancellation or nonrenewal equate with one another. If OCGA § 33-9-40 forbade “termination” where a policy holder was not at fault Banks might be right. However, that code section employs instead the more restrictive term “cancel,” which does not include “nonrenewal.” While the insurance carrier could not cancel the policy for accidents not the fault of its insured, it was not prohibited from declining to renew the policy for that reason. OCGA § 33-24-45 makes a clear distinction between the requirements regarding the right to cancel and the right not to renew.
Banks v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 189 Ga. App. 758, 758, 377 S.E.2d 685, 686 (1989).
The Sessions Law Firm can help you understand these difficult and complex insurance issues.
The Sessions Law Firm
544 Mulberry St., Ste. 319
Macon, Georgia 31201
Telephone: (478) 254-2665