FAIRFIELD — California drivers will soon have to carry twice — and in one case triple — the insurance coverage they are currently required to have based on a bill the governor signed into law Wednesday.
Senator Bill Dodd’s Senate Bill 1107 increases the minimum liability coverage requirement for California motorists, “protecting those injured in accidents as well as those exposed to paying medical and vehicle repair bills more high,” Dodd’s office said in a press release Thursday.
“California drivers have been underinsured for far too long — and it’s costing them dearly,” Dodd said in the press release. “With the signing of this bill, we can ensure accident victims get the financial support they need while covering those who may be responsible for soaring medical costs and property damage. It modernizes our insurance laws, bringing our state in line with what the rest of the country considers the right amount of coverage.
California established the current mandatory insurance minimums 50 years ago, requiring drivers to have coverage of $15,000 for a single injury or death, up to $30,000 per accident and $5,000 for damages materials. Only four states have the same or lower limits.
Many drivers are under the false impression that carrying the current minimum would shield them from financial liability and make victims whole after an accident, Dodd’s office said in the press release. The standard is particularly severe for residents on low or fixed incomes who do not have a safety net to cover damages.
SB 1107 increases minimum coverage 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 and emergency services,” Dodd’s office said in a news release.
The bill was backed by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. It has also been supported by consumer and seniors groups.
“Consumers expect to be repaired by their insurance after a traffic accident, but current minimum coverage levels often leave California drivers at risk of being one crash away from financial ruin, especially those in our most vulnerable communities,” Lara told reporters. Release.