On June 7, 2019, Governor Ducey signed Senate Bill 1087, which increases the minimum financial responsibility or limits of liability insurance required to operate a motor vehicle in Arizona from 15/30/10 to 25/50/15, meaning that an at-fault insured motorist will now have the following minimum liability coverage, on a “per accident” basis:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any individual person;
- $50,000 total for all individuals, subject to the per person limit;
- $15,000 for all property damage
These new limits become effective for policies issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2020.
The existing limits had not been changed since June, 1972. Forty-seven years without a change is a long time. Many argued that the current 15/30/10 limits were grossly inadequate to cover the high cost for medical services for those injured and expenses to replace or repair today’s automobiles.
But is it enough? Medical costs have skyrocketed since 1972. A single overnight stay in the hospital often results in a bill for $25,000 or more. And while the new law will provide additional minimum liability insurance coverage for those injured by the negligence of others, one unintended consequence may be more motorists foregoing the increased cost for auto insurance and operating as an uninsured motorist.
Fortunately, we can all protect ourselves by purchasing greater limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which will provide compensation to us for our damages (medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings) caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. These coverages are affordable (typically just a fraction of the cost of liability insurance). Insurance companies are required to make available uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages up to the limits of one’s liability insurance. If you’ve purchased liability insurance to protect yourself from financial harm in the event your negligence harms someone else, doesn’t it make sense to carry the same limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to protect you (and your family) if you’re injured because of the negligence of others?