SACRAMENTO — Legislation by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to improve liability coverage for California motorists, protecting those injured in crashes as well as those who may face higher medical and vehicle repair bills , authorized its first political committee.
“We need to make sure California accident victims get the financial support they need while covering those who may be responsible for soaring medical costs and property damage,” said Senator Dodd. “Because drivers have been underinsured for too long and it’s costing them money. Thank you, committee members, for recognizing the value of my bill, which modernizes our insurance laws, bringing our state in line with what the rest of the country considers the right amount of coverage.
Fifty-five years ago, California established today’s mandatory insurance minimums, requiring drivers to have coverage of $15,000 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 have the false impression that wearing the current minimum will make them whole after an accident. The standard is particularly severe for low-income or fixed-income residents who do not have a safety net to cover damages.
Senator Dodd’s legislation, Senate Bill 1107, would update the minimum to $30,000/$60,000/$15,000, bringing it in line with rising 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. It was passed by the Senate Insurance Committee with overwhelming support.
“It is not fair that automobile and motorcycle accidents often leave the victim burdened with a mountain of debt, simply because a 55-year-old California law allows insurers to offer inadequate products that are not not even close to covering the victim’s medical bills, loss of income, or vehicle repairs,” said Michael Nye, co-chair of the California Alliance for Retired Americans Legislative Committee. “It’s time to finally modernize this outdated law and ensure that California drivers – especially retirees and other aging adults – are protected from harm.”
“It’s been more than half a century since California grappled with whether or not its insurance laws adequately protected drivers,” said Craig Peters, president of Consumer Attorneys of California. “As a result, low-income and even middle-income accident victims risk incurring crippling debt when the cost of recovery is so much more than what negligent driver insurance will cover. The support of the Senate Committee on insurance brings California one step closer to ensuring that accident victims won’t have to pay the price for someone else’s negligence on the worst day of their lives.
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or parts 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.
Source: Senator Bill Dodd