State Capitol News
9:16 am
Thu January 16, 2014

State Auto Insurance Coverage Increase in the Works

Motorists may soon have to obtain — and pay for — more auto insurance. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Credit insurancejournal.com

Current law requires all drivers to have insurance. But the minimum is so-called 15-30-10: $15,000 for injury to any one person, $30,000 for multiple injuries at the same accident, and $10,000 for property damage, whether to someone else’s vehicle or even, for example, to just a city-owned traffic pole. The measure crafted by Rep. Ethan Orr would boost that minimum to 25-50-20. Orr said the last time the figure was hiked was in 1972 when medical costs were lower, and cars cost a lot less.

“Right now I don’t believe the 15-30 is adequate insurance,” Orr said. “But we’re telling people it is adequate insurance. So by raising it, I think we give them the true level of security and safety they deserve.”

But, David Childers, who represents several insurance companies, said the change would result in higher premiums for the perhaps one in five motorists who buys only minimum coverage.

“These are probably the most economically challenged of our citizens,” Childers said. “They’re probably not buying 15-30 if they have a million-dollar house. They’re probably buying 15-30 because that’s all they can afford to buy.”

And, Childers said, even an increase of just $80 a year might be enough to result in some of these drivers deciding not to buy insurance at all — a move he said would force up the rates that other motorists pay to protect themselves against uninsured motorists.