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Potential New Insurance Changes Coming

Well, it is not exactly the auto insurance minimum coverage amounts we hoped for in a similar bill moving through our NJ Legislature, but at least this bill will provide some long needed increase. Yesterday, both houses of the Legislature passed bill A-4291/S-481 to increase the minimum coverage to $25,000 for bodily injury for one person in an accident and $50,000 for more than one person. If signed by Governor Murphy, it would go into effect on January 1, 2023 and then increase those minimum coverage amounts in the year 2026 to $35,000/$70,000.

While it may not be the steep increase we hoped for, at least someone understands that the current minimum coverage of $15,000 is no longer helping anyone. We now wait to see if Governor Murphy signs the new bill.

The other bill making its way to Governor Murphy’s desk from yesterday is A-4293/S2843 which would expand the policy disclosure law in New Jersey. Last year a bill was enacted that finally required insurance companies to disclose how much insurance coverage the person that hit you had. However, it only applied in certain situations. Prior to last year’s bill, one would have to file a lawsuit in order to figure out that answer. However, what frequently happened is that you filed the lawsuit, was finally told the answer and then realized the person had a minimum $15,000 policy that would not cover very much, especially the cost of experts during the course of litigation. If you knew it was a minimum policy prior to filing suit, you could use that information to push the insurance carrier to resolve it since everyone would be on the same page and the insurance carrier wouldn’t be able to keep that information secret. This new bill would expand the fact scenario of when the insurance carrier must tell you the limits before litigation.