Lawmakers may reconsider auto insurance minimums – New Jersey Monitor

New Jersey lawmakers may reconsider raising minimum auto insurance coverage after most of the bills in a reform package backed by Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari failed to advance this summer. I have.

Senator Joe Lagana (D-Bergen) was introduced Monday invoice This will require auto insurance to include at least $50,000 in personal injury protection, up from the $15,000 required under current law.

Lagana said its aim is to protect people injured in car accidents who can’t afford medical bills. The plaintiff said he needed help with the victim’s unpaid medical bills.

“I’ve seen people who spent two months at a chiropractor, had an MRI, and probably had an epidural for a herniated disc, and spent $15,000. People who can’t get out of the hospital without spending $15,000.” I’ve seen it,” lawyer Lagana said in an interview. “The amount of premiums people are paying is not low, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for really substandard medical insurance.

Implementation of the bill will come after Congress approves it and Gov. Phil Murphy signs it in August. Extra chargesponsored by Scutari, sets new floors for bodily injury liability and uninsured/underinsured auto insurance.

With these changes, auto insurance will, by 2023, pay at least $25,000, 2026, intended to pay for injuries suffered by others as a result of an accident caused by the policyholder. $35,000 liability insurance by 2020. Adds approximately $125 to New Jersey residents’ car insurance premiums.

Personal injury insurance pays for injuries sustained by the policyholder. His one of his Scutari package bills that failed to get congressional approval would have raised the minimum to his $250,000.

Insurance trade groups criticized the bills, saying they would drive up costs for policyholders.

“All of these changes we’re seeing at the legislative level will impact earnings for young drivers and all new drivers,” New Jersey Insurance Council Chairman Christine O’Brien said.

She said states should delay further regulatory changes until after 2026, when it becomes clear how the legislation Murphy signed into law in August has affected premiums. She said the new changes should be held until the end of the session.

Lagana said he expected the bill to have a modest impact on insurance premiums, but conceded that ongoing affordability issues in the state might make a delay prudent.

“I’ll sit down with them and see what timing we can do this. Maybe in a year or two we’ll see an effect,” he said. “I look forward to working with them while they address other changes that have been implemented.”

It is not yet clear how changes to insurance coverage minimums will affect premiums, but regulation will force a significant number of policyholders to move to plans that offer greater coverage. is likely to cause at least a slight increase.

New Jersey drivers must have basic or standard auto insurance. About 2.1 million policyholders had a standard auto insurance plan that included $15,000 in personal injury coverage at the end of last year, according to a semi-annual report issued by the Ministry of Banking and Insurance. rice field. That’s about 36% of all standard car plans in the state.

All other drivers on the Standard plan had at least $50,000 in personal injury protection.

The Basic plan is intended for new drivers and those who cannot afford or desire the greater coverage offered by the Standard plan. According to the report, 43,584 New Jersey policyholders have basic auto insurance, which provides up to $15,000 in personal injury protection under current law.

Lagana concedes that what could drive up the cost of the basic plan could be a speed bump for the bill.

“People opting for the basic policy just assume there’s an affordability issue, so we’re aware of that,” Lagana said. , people may not have an affordability issue, they may just not realize they’re making a bad decision with $15,000.”

O’Brien said the basic plan could become more popular after New Jersey introduced driver licenses for residents with separate taxpayer identification numbers. We started accepting applications for such licenses last May.

“We welcome a whole new driving population, a legal driving population. What can they buy?” said O’Brien. So I think the legislature needs to be cautious about what the driving public can keep.”

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