Arizona passes new Insurance law that will increase minimum liability amounts will take place July 2020. At the moment, Arizona has some of the lowest Insurance requirements in the United States. As of now, the minimum insurance amounts that a car or motorcycle owner is required to carry is $15,000.00 for a single person’s injury or death and $30,000.00 for a group that is injured or has passed. The current minimum property damage amount is $10,000.00.
The new bill, signed by Governor Ducey on June 7, 2019, will increase the coverage by nearly double. Beginning July of 2020, Arizona’s new state bill will require anyone that owns and operates a motor vehicle to carry liability insurance whose policy contains $25,000.00 / $50,00.00 respectively. The bill also increases the property damage claim to $15,000.00.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NEXT TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
This is important to know for a few reasons. This should remind people to contact their insurance agency if they carry the minimum amount and find out what their new monthly payments will be. Dove Law Firm’s accident injury attorneys suggest that you inquire what is contained within your current policy. Surprisingly, many people do not know what amount of liability insurance they carry or whether they have uninsured, underinsured and/or medical payments. The amount that you carry can be extremely important if you are involved in an accident.
NOT AT FAULT
If you are not at fault in regard to the accident, you will first want to know how much insurance the other driver possesses. If they do not have insurance and you have liability only insurance, you will not receive anything without filing a lawsuit. And even then, it will be very difficult to collect from that individual and they are usually permitted to declare bankruptcy to void the judgment anyway. Additionally, you will not receive anything for the value of your vehicle. You will be forced to pay for the repairs/replacement yourself. If they do not have insurance, but you do carry uninsured insurance, then you will be limited to amount that you carry but will at least receive some compensation.
If the at-fault driver carries insurance and you do also, you have more options available to you. Some of the time, the amount of liability insurance that the adverse driver carries will be enough to pay for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Depending on your injuries and the amount of liability insurance the at-fault driver carries will determine if you need to ask your own insurance company to open an underinsured policy. Your underinsured should pick up the slack that was caused by the adverse insurance company policy limits.
If you are at fault, the only parts of the policy that will affect you are the uninsured/under insured and medical payments. Although these are not required by the State of Arizona to carry under your policy, they are highly recommended. If you have not purchased uninsured /under insured, you are at risk of receiving nothing if you are involved in a wreck. Your exposure to a lawsuit is increased due to the lack of funds available to the victim. Without Medical Payments, you will be fully responsible for your medical bills. Medical payments insurance will make those payments to a medical provider, relieving you of the amount that you will owe. (See Medical Payments blog) The lack of these types of insurance can be devastating to a family. The medical bills, vehicle payments and stress mount quickly after an accident and without full coverage insurance, they can be very difficult to navigate.
Recently I had a client who was involved in a horrific motorcycle accident. He suffered many injuries and had to receive numerous operations. The total bill from the hospital was over half of a million dollars and his full body motion was limited. Unfortunately, his insurance had lapsed a few months before the accident, and he put off renewing it. The at-fault party only had the bare minimum insurance policy. We were able to reduce the medical bills for him, but we were very limited in the insurance monies that we collected. This case had a potential of large settlement and for our client to receive millions of dollars, but unfortunately the insurance involved was minimal.
Although some premiums may increase from the passing of this new law, it is our hope that the higher value cases will be able to compensate those that are victims in car or motorcycle accidents. We believe this will enable those that were wrongly injured to more adequately recover their medical bills and payments for pain and suffering.