Calls come to my office just about every week when the caller says, "Is this Georgia Insurance?"
I explain that the Georgia Insurance Information Service is an association of property and casualty insurance companies, but we are not an insurer. Then I ask, "How may I help you?
Oddly enough, these calls come both from individuals who have been involved in a traffic crash and from insurance companies trying to follow up on a claim.
So what's the confusion all about? If you have a Georgia Auto Insurance Information Card handy, please take a close look at it. The top of the card reads GEORGIA INSURANCE POLICY INFORMATION CARD.
Below in smaller type is the name of the auto insurance company above the policy number.
Often, drivers involved in a crash conclude that the name of the insurer is Georgia Insurance. But it's the company name that must be obtained when information is exchanged, not the words "Georgia Insurance."
The insurance company's logo usually appears on the upper left of the ID card in the area at the top.
If police investigate a crash, they may include the correct insurer information on the official accident report, but it make take days for a copy of the report to be available for purchase from the law enforcement agency. The problem with capturing the correct insurer information seems to arise when drivers simply swap information.
Even if one or more of the drivers involved have what is known as "minimum limits" coverage, their insurer's name will be on the card.
It's very important to obtain the correct information, but drivers are often shaken up or even injured, and they may not notice the insurer's name on the card. So take time now to review the information on your card and urge your family members who may share a vehicle to do the same.
Additionally, it's recommended to have your auto insurance ID card in your vehicle at all times, because Georgia is a mandatory insurance state. Even though Georgia has a computerized auto insurance verification system, it may not be on-line when your mishap occurs so you can still provide proof of insurance. Also, if you drive out of state it is important to have proof of insurance.
Also, use caution when sharing your information with another driver. It's probably not a good idea to hand either your driver's license or your insurance card to another driver. Give the other driver or drivers the information, but do not hand your personal information to another.
If your vehicle is not drivable after a traffic mishap, don't forget to take all your important personal items as well as electronics out of the vehicle such as portable GPS displays, cell phones, CDs and the like.
David Colmans is the executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information Service. Contact him at 770-565-3806 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.