Sen. Dodd: Governor Signs Auto Liability Insurance Reform Bill
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced today that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed his legislation to improve liability coverage for California motorists, protecting people injured in crashes as well those who are exposed to paying higher medical and vehicle repair bills.
“California drivers have been underinsured for too long – and it has been costing them dearly,” Sen Dodd said. “With the signing of this bill we can ensure crash victims get the financial support they need while covering those who might be liable for soaring medical and property damage costs. This modernizes our insurance laws, bringing our state in line with what the rest of the country deems the right amount of coverage.”
Fifty-five years ago, California set the current mandatory insurance minimums, requiring drivers to carry $15,000 in coverage 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 are under the false impression that carrying the current minimum would protect them from financial liability and make victims whole after a crash. The standard is especially hard on low-income or fixed-income residents who lack a safety net to cover damages.
Sen. Dodd’s legislation, Senate Bill 1107, would update the minimum to $30,000/$60,000/$15,000, bringing it in line with increased costs over the past half-century on everything including vehicle repairs, medical care and emergency services.
SB 1107 was supported by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. It also was backed by consumer and senior groups. SB 1107 passed the Legislature with overwhelming support before it was signed Wednesday by Gov. Newsom.
“Consumers expect to be made whole by their insurance after a traffic accident, but the current minimum coverage levels often leave California’s drivers at risk of being one accident away from financial ruin, especially those from our most vulnerable communities,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “I am proud to have supported this long overdue legislation and I want to thank Gov. Newsom for signing SB 1107 and Sen. Dodd for his leadership in helping ensure automobile insurance keeps up with the change in times and protects California’s drivers more adequately.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions 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.