Senate Bill Could Increase Auto Liability Minimum $10,000 Or More

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 5:05am

State lawmakers are rallying behind a bill that would bump the required minimum liability for car insurance.

Transportation Committee members voted 6-1 one in favor of increasing the minimum for auto insurance coverage.

The bill's author Sen. Kate Brophy McGee said she is worried minimums have not kept up with inflation over four decades.

Currently, the law allows liability coverage caps as low as $15,000 for a single person injured in a wreck, $30,000 if there are more people hurt in the same vehicle, and $10,000 for property damages.

McGee wants those numbers bumped up by $10,000 to $20,000 to adequately cover the cost of a serious collision, especially for those who are financially vulnerable.

"Individuals who live from paycheck to paycheck and, when involved in an accident by a person with the minimum, limits are not made whole," McGee explained to her colleagues.

But Republican Sen. David Farnsworth warned raising the legal minimum could increase insurance payments and some drivers to forgo buying coverage at all.

"There are a lot of folks live paycheck to paycheck,'' he said."There are people out there right now that are faced with either a permanent or probably temporary situation where they have to choose between paying the electric bill or paying their mandatory insurance.''

But an attorney who testified before the committee reminded the group when everyone buys higher insurance, premiums should theoretically drop for underinsured motorists.

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