SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today to improve liability coverage for California motorists, protecting people injured in crashes as well those who might be exposed to paying higher medical and vehicle repair bills.
“Californians have been underinsured for too long and it is costing them dearly,” Sen. Dodd said. “My bill ensures crash victims get the financial support they need while covering those who might be liable for soaring medical and property damage costs. It modernizes our insurance laws, bringing our state in line with what the rest of the country deems the right amount of coverage.”
Fifty-five years ago, California set the current mandatory insurance minimums, requiring drivers to carry $15,000 in coverage for a single injury or death, up to $30,000 per accident and only $5,000 for property damage. Only four states have the same or lower limits. Many drivers are under the false impression that carrying the current minimum would make them whole after a crash. The standard is especially hard on low-income or fixed-income residents who lack a safety net to cover damages.
Sen. Dodd’s legislation, Senate Bill 1107, would update the minimum to $30,000/$60,000/$25,000, bringing it in line with increased costs over the past half-century on everything including vehicle repairs, medical care and emergency services.
The bill is supported by groups representing California consumers and seniors.
“California’s outdated and woefully inadequate mandatory auto insurance liability minimums leave low-income and even middle-class families – including many retirees and other aging adults – at risk of falling deep into financial debt following a serious vehicular accident,” said Michael Nye, California Alliance for Retired Americans’ legislative committee co-chair. “Victims should not be forced to take out thousands of dollars in loans, which often take years to pay off, just to cover damages caused by a negligent driver.”
“Over the last half-century, the cost of medical care and vehicular repairs has skyrocketed, leaving too many motorists underinsured and unprepared to cover the cost of being a victim of a negligent driver,” said Craig Peters, president of Consumer Attorneys of California. “Auto insurers cannot continue to offer products that cover this century’s drivers based on last century’s standards. CAOC is proud to support Sen. Dodd’s bill to modernize mandatory liability minimums, and ensure drivers are fully protected by underinsured motorist coverage.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.