As some of you may already know, Arizona’s minimum limits for auto insurance are set to increase in July 2020. But do you really know what it means for you as a driver? Today we are going to learn more about this change in law and how it could possibly affect you. We will take a deeper look at the numbers and see who is affected by this new law and who might be exempt.
We already know that the new changes will come in July 2020. However, many may be confused as to when it actually takes effect. The new law was passed on May 27, 2019, and then signed into law by Governor Ducey on June the 7th of the same year. Unlike some laws that take effect at the start of a new year, SB 1087 will be effective as of July 1st, 2020.
Right now, the state of Arizona has a minimum auto insurance limits of $15,000/$30,000/$10,000. Compared to other states in the nation these minimums are some of the lowest in the country. These current limits have not been changed since the year 1972. Many in the industry felt that the limit needed to be changed because of the growing costs of medical care and the rise in prices of vehicles. Things have changed since 1972 when a McDonald’s hamburger was only 70 cent! The cost of living has sharply increased over the years and even a short ambulance ride could cost as much as $1,000.
At the time of this article, the state-required minimum is $15,000/$30,000/$10,000. That number will jump to $25,000/$50,000/$15,000. As you can see, that is a rather sharp increase that some fear will cause insurance premiums to spike. There are many people opposed to this increase but also many who support Governor Ducey. Both democrats and republicans have spoken out for and against this new bill.
Now that you know when and how much these requirements are increasing, let’s learn what they mean. The first number that increases from $15,000 to $25,000 covers bodily injury or death of one person who is involved in one auto accident. The second number that increases from $30,000 to $50,000 covers bodily injury or death of two or more people who are involved in one auto accident. The third number than increases from $10,000 to $15,000 covers property damaged of others involved in one auto accident. This final number is the amount of money your insurance company will pay for property damages caused by you to the other driver involved in the accident. Many people get confused by these numbers and often wonder how the changes are going to affect their monthly premiums. This is a real concern that even some lawmakers have brought up.
You might be worried that your insurance premiums will go up. The fact is, the likelihood of them going up is likely if you currently only carry the minimum limits required by law in Arizona. But most people’s premiums will only go up a few dollars a month. Sen. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale believes that most people’s insurance premiums will go up around $3 to $8 a month. This is good news for those on a tight budget. Those who feared skyrocketing premiums can now have peace of mind knowing they won’t have to shell out very much for better coverage. Raising the minimum limits for auto insurance may be a good thing, especially if you find yourself injured due to a negligent driver. This means that the driver who is responsible for the accident will be able to afford greater payouts in the unfortunate event of an accident. Now that the minimums have gone up, you may receive more compensation for your injuries because drivers will have to carry more insurance. This is welcomed news for anyone hurt due to someone else’s negligence. The insurance companies by law will have to pay out more money to cover accidents caused by their negligent drivers. This might not be good news for the insurance companies, but it is good news for those who have to drive the roads in the great state of Arizona. This ultimately means that drivers in Arizona will be better protected from someone else’s bad driving.
As we have already mentioned, the insurance companies will be forced to pay out more. This means that if you are a responsible and safe driver, you will be better protected against the carelessness of others. For years the residents of Arizona have had to deal with these unchanged minimum limits, leaving many without adequate compensation for their injuries. With this new law, they will finally be able to feel a little safer when driving down the road. While this change took more than four decades to happen, it shows that Arizona is moving in the right direction to protect against negligent drivers.
This new bill was meant to do two very important things: 1) Shift the cost of back to those who cause accidents and 2) protect safe and careful drivers. By holding those who cause accidents accountable, the state of Arizona is hoping to make the roadways safer, and reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries. Hopefully, all drivers will take notice and drive more carefully which will reduce deadly accidents.
Depending on the type of insurance you carry, this new law might not affect you at all. Many people currently carry more than the state-required minimum. You should speak to your insurance carrier to see where you stand. Some insurance policies have $250,000/$500,000/$100,000 coverage. This well exceeds the new state minimum and is recommended by most insurance companies. At Hastings and Hastings, we recommend that everyone also carries under insured and uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) protection in the case that the negligent driver doesn’t follow the law or doesn’t carry adequate insurance. Keep in mind the more coverage you have, the less you will have to pay out of pocket for your injuries.
Now that you know how these minimums work, you may want to speak with your insurance company and increase your coverage. Having a higher level of coverage will protect you and your family during a serious automobile accident. When deciding if you should add more coverage, think about what could happen if you are hit by a negligent driver, you could be out of work for several days or weeks. This gap in income would seriously hurt most people. Also, think about your injuries. Just a few trips to the doctor will set you back tons of money.
When the new law comes into effect on July 1, 2020 you should keep in mind that it will not affect everyone. For those who hold a valid certificate of self-insurance or even partial self-insurance will see little effect in what they pay each month for insurance. As we already learned those who have higher levels of coverage will probably not see any changes at all.
While these new state-enforced minimums will help cover small accidents with small injuries, they won’t protect those who are in serious accidents. As medical costs have risen to extreme levels over the years, a serious accident could cost you more than $100,000. Spending just one night in the hospital could really have a negative impact on your bank account, costing thousands or tens of thousands. Factor in lost wages and other medical bills and things can start to pile up. As you can now see, accidents get complicated.
That is why you should hire an experienced Arizona accident law firm who knows how to get you every dollar you deserve. At Hastings and Hastings, we have been serving Arizona for over 40 years, representing injured victims and battling the insurance companies to make sure you get all the compensation you deserve. At the end of your case, our discount fee puts more money in YOUR pocket, allowing you to take care of what matters most: your health and your loved ones. If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t wait, call today at 480-706-1100.
Remember, at Hastings and Hastings you will ALWAYS meet with a licensed Arizona injury attorney for your FREE initial consultation. Only a licensed car accident attorney can give you legal advice to help you navigate your case! This is one way other firms cut corners to increase THEIR bottom line. At Hastings and Hastings, for over 40 years we have been doing things the right way, not the easy way, all at a DISCOUNT FEE! Don’t settle for anything less. Call Hastings and Hastings today.