New laws increase required liability insurance for car owners and landlords

Insurance costs will likely rise for car owners, homeowners and business owners under several bills Governor Phil Murphy signed into law on Friday.

The sponsors of the bills say they are intended to protect motorists, renters and others from the potentially catastrophic costs of accidents.

But critics — Republicans as well as those in the insurance industry — have raised concerns about how the measures could impact affordability at a time when inflation has soared and lawmakers in the States have been considering ways to offset rising costs for consumers.

The three insurance bills Murphy enacted:

  • Increase the minimum liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage amounts auto insurance policies must have from $15,000 to between $25,000 and $70,000, depending on when a motorist renews their policy. This law takes effect immediately.
  • Require business owners and landlords to carry liability insurance for $500,000 (or $300,000, for small owner-occupied multi-family rental properties) in the event of death or personal injury occurring in a rental property. This law is to come into force in 90 days.
  • Requiring certain insurers to disclose policy limits upon request by a lawyer in certain circumstances. This law is to come into force in 60 days.

Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) was a lead sponsor for all three bills, while Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-Union) was a lead sponsor for two. Both work as personal injury lawyers, raising concerns from critics who have suggested the bills constitute a conflict of interest. Both senators denied the allegations.

Get morning headlines delivered to your inbox